Making a Difference

“The God of peace is never glorified by human violence,” wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton.

Whether it’s on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots were no exception: people were injured, neighborhood stores were burned, and violence was further engrained into a city and world already steeped in violence.

But, and this is a big but: What are the reasons that led...

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May 05, 2015
The courageous witness of Blessed Oscar Romero
By Tony Magliano

Who would have predicted it?

Who would have imagined on Feb. 23, 1977, the day of his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador, that the highly conservative Oscar Romero – who was suspicious of the Catholic Church’s involvement in political activism – would die a martyr’s death for courageously defending his people against the murderous assaults of the Salvadoran government, military and right-wing death squads?

Romero’s appointment was welcomed by the government, but many...

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April 28, 2015
'Peace be with you'
By Tony Magliano

“On the evening of that first day of the week,” according to the Gospel of John, “when the doors were locked, where the disciples were … Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ ”
To his closest followers, who feared that they too would suffer crucifixion, Jesus stood in their midst on Easter Sunday, and shared with them his peace.  

But the peace Jesus offered them, and us, is greatly different from the “peace” offered by the world....

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According to the New York Times, during a White House luncheon in 1954 Winston Churchill said, “To jaw-jaw [talk-talk] always is better than to war-war.”

While clearly not a pacifist, the United Kingdom’s World War II prime minister had seen upfront the absolute horror of war, and became convinced that tirelessly striving to resolve disputes through respectful dialogue was always preferable to war.    

Yes indeed, “to jaw-jaw always is better than to war-war.” But then why is...

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March 31, 2015
Unholy political positions in the Holy Land
By Tony Magliano

As the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we naturally think of the Holy Land.

Throughout much of history, in the land where the world’s savior taught human beings to love one another as he loved us, instead of experiencing love, Palestinians have often experienced the great suffering of injustice, war and foreign occupation.

And today the story is sadly much the same.

In the Occupied Territories of the...

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March 17, 2015
The way of the cross
By Tony Magliano

Writing a column on social justice and peace offers me plenty of timely issues to choose from. And I always truly sense from God the exact issue he desires that I write on.

I’m not claiming here any special revelation. God’s active, guiding presence is available to everyone. All we need to do is deeply trust, quietly listen and patiently wait.

Now in my case, God knows I’m on a deadline. And almost always his Spirit graciously gives me plenty of lead time. But regarding this...

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March 09, 2015
Beating swords into plowshares
By Tony Magliano

“In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills,” writes the prophet Isaiah.

“Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain … that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths. …

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war...

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February 23, 2015
God is calling each person and every nation to repent
By Tony Magliano

“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” 

With these two compelling sentences – as recorded in the Gospel of Mark – Jesus inaugurates his ministry and sums up what his mission is about: to break the shackles of sin that enslave humanity, to put us on the path of liberation from all oppression, and to teach us how to unconditionally love one another.

But what does it mean to repent?

Striving to avoid sin and living virtuously is certainly part of what it...

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June 20, 2014
A fresh look at a valuable gift
By Tony Magliano

Catholic social teaching is unfortunately the church’s best kept secret.
But because it directly addresses the world’s most pressing social justice and peace issues, Catholic social teaching instead needs to come out of hiding and be discovered, read, preached, proclaimed and lived in our parishes, schools, universities, media, homes and society.

Five years ago, a very valuable contribution to Catholic social teaching was given to the church and world by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI....

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March 21, 2014
Thirsting for clean water
By Tony Magliano

We turn on our faucets and out comes water – clean, refreshing, plentiful, life-sustaining water. But we rarely give it a thought. We just tend to take for granted that it will always be there. We even forget to thank God – the well-spring of life.

But for 768 million fellow human beings, clean plentiful water is a distant dream, cites the United Nations. For them, the water they drink, cook with, and bath in, is polluted and often disease ridden, and must be carried long distances in...

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