With Good Reason
May 18, 2010
Illegal Immigration and Catholic Social Teaching
By Father Thomas Berg

Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed the Arizona Immigration Bill (SB 1070) on April 23. The Catholic bishops of Arizona and an interfaith network of Arizona religious leaders responded with an emotionally charged statement accusing the governor of sacrificing "political courage for political expediency" and suggesting the law is an affront to human dignity and runs afoul of the basic moral precept directing us to welcome the stranger.  

I must admit I have been taken aback at how many Catholic...

(Read more)

April 20, 2010
The Difference God Makes
By Father Thomas Berg

Last week I initiated some reflections on evangelization based on Francis Cardinal George's new book The Difference God Makes.

As I noted, the seminal point of the entire book is that all human persons - and in a particularly transcendent way, the baptized - are beings in relation. We simply cannot hope to invite others to the communion - communio - that is the Church if they are unable to grasp how, from the moment of their own conception, they exist in a radical relatedness to a world...

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April 13, 2010
How are Christians to Engage the Culture?
By Father Thomas Berg

Whether it is opposing Obamacare provisions for federally funded abortions, fighting to curb embryo-destructive research, protecting women from biomedical research that would exploit them for their eggs, or struggling to reawaken consciences to the evils of abortion, in vitro fertilization, and contraception: these are touchstone instances in which committed pro-life Catholics engage the "culture of death."

Perhaps we have not thought enough about how we are to engage that culture. A new book...

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The faceoff a couple of weeks ago between the Catholic Healthcare Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops over the senate healthcare bill underscored the reality of deep-seated disagreements and confusion over Catholic teaching on key moral issues.  Of the many we could list, perhaps no other has been so under-taught and consequently misunderstood than the Church's stance on in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The Catholic Church teaches that IVF is morally illicit...

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March 30, 2010
The Long Ascent to Calvary
By Father Thomas Berg

At Holy Week, the Church throughout the world, rosery through liturgy and personal meditation, accompanies Christ on the long, arduous road to Calvary. Last week, for all those whose lives have been scarred directly or indirectly by the crime of clergy sexual abuse, that road became even more onerous.

A front page story in the New York Times last Monday presented an account of a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in...

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March 23, 2010
Healthcare, Human Life and America
By Father Thomas Berg

Like millions of Americans, I watched the healthcare legislation drama unfold from last summer to its catastrophic climax Sunday night. The 219 to 212 House vote approving the Senate health bill was, for this country, a before-and-after moment of epic proportion and as such it will be remembered.

What—for the umpteenth time—was wrong with the Senate bill?

Where does one begin? Most Americans will see their insurance premiums rise dramatically; it will have a devastating effect on the...

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March 16, 2010
Why I Didn't Give Up Facebook for Lent
By Father Thomas Berg

I would like to dedicate this column to all my Facebook friends.

They are probably not aware that a year ago, I wrote a pretty nasty column about Facebook, explaining that I had not given it up for Lent (a trendy Lenten sacrifice at the time in certain Catholic circles) because I was not a Facebook user.

Well, allow me to come clean and announce to the world that today I am a user, and a happy one at that. Outside of one or two upleasant surprises (a 'friend' who became obnoxious, and a...

(Read more)

February 16, 2010
Our Sex-Crazed Culture
By Father Thomas Berg

Last week, I shared my dismay at how “unimportant” sex has become to young adults these days. By this I meant how our culture simultaneously places a tremendous premium on having sex, and in so doing, empties sex of its God-given meaning and value.

I think this is worth exploring a little further.

First there are a few statistics that can serve as a startling frame of reference. A fact sheet recently published by the Guttmacher Institute points out, for instance that:

    • Nearly half...

(Read more)

February 09, 2010
The Unimportance of Sex
By Father Thomas Berg

I don't often write about sex.

But as a priest who has prepared dozens of engaged couples for marriage, I have a unique perspective on the topic.

To begin with, what amazes me most these days is how unimportant sex has become for most couples.  Let me explain.

Of course, in one sense, intercourse is hugely important to young people; if it weren't, 7 out of 10 would not have "done it" by age 19.  Being sexually active exercises an obsessive kind of importance for many, if not most girls in...

(Read more)

February 02, 2010
Recovery in the Big Easy
By Father Thomas Berg

Just days before Super Sunday, I cannot resist writing about a team, and more importantly a city and a people I have come to love.

There was so much more behind the New Orleans Saints victory over the Minnesota Vikings -- clinching the NFC championship -- than the average sport fan might imagine.  Their victory was about the recovery, renewal, and indeed the emotional and psychological resurrection of a people and a city.

In late August of 2005, New Orleans was devastated by hurricane...

(Read more)

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