The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience correlate with the fundamental human issues of money, sex, and power, and may be seen as the Christian “response” to these issues. While professed religious undertake a life vowed to the evangelical counsels, all Christians are called to follow these counsels.

Let us take poverty first. We are inclined to think that poverty is possible only for religious who live in community. The truth is that poverty is incumbent upon...

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May 14, 2015
On Ascension Day the Whole Church Ascends to Heaven
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Preface of each Mass begins with the exchanges:  “The Lord  be with you,” “And with your spirit”; “Lift up your hearts,”  "We lift them up to the Lord.” The words, “We lift them up to the Lord," are central to what we celebrate on the Solemnity of Ascension.

On the first Ascension day, Christ was lifted up from the earth.  In remembering and celebrating this event, the Church on earth today joins Christ even now in being raised to heaven.  Ascension day is not something...

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May 07, 2015
Baptism by immersion is an authentic post-Vatican II development
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City underwent a major renovation in the early 1990s. One of the more notable liturgical changes was the installation of an immersion baptismal font.

Since I was Cathedral rector during the renovation, I now give regular tours of the building. The thing that most puzzles visitors, especially Catholics, is the presence of the immersion font. What is the warrant for it? Why is it necessary? Does the Church approve of immersion fonts?

So, I find...

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April 30, 2015
Lectionary-based catechesis for converts is inadequate
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Recently, I received a letter from a woman in Portland, Oregon, with the question,

“What do you think of lectionary-based catechesis for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA]? I became a Catholic three years ago and I was amazed at how little I was taught using this approach. Surely there is a better way of preparing adults to become Catholics? What would you recommend that I might read to help deepen my knowledge of the faith?”

My answer to the woman’s letter was more...

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April 27, 2015
Papal Impressions
By Alan Sears

Last fall, while in Rome to take part in the extraordinary, multi-faith, Vatican-sponsored colloquium on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage”, my wife and I had the privilege and wonderful opportunity of meeting briefly with His Holiness, Pope Francis. Later that same day we were even blessed to glimpse a little bit of his personal residence, lunching with some other guests in his dining room, and seeing the small chapel where he offers his private prayers and begins each...

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April 23, 2015
What's broken in the Church's liturgy that needs fixing?
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

I think that by now readers know that I am an unambiguous supporter of the liturgical reforms brought about by the Second Vatican Council. These reforms were sorely needed, and there is no going back, as some “conservatives” would wish.

The reform in the liturgy, particularly of the Mass, was undoubtedly the centerpiece of post-Vatican II developments. The liturgical changes impinged immediately on the life of worshipers. Practicing Catholic experienced the liturgical reforms first...

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April 17, 2015
Raising perfect children by teaching authentic family values
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Judith Martin (a.k.a. Miss Manners), the widely syndicated columnist, has written a number of books on proper social behavior. One of them is entitled, Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children.

What Mrs. Martin is writing about in this elegantly over-the-top book is what we call today family values. Here is my personal (but partial) list of family values:

*Children are raised with a strong sense of responsibility to and for parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, uncles and...

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April 02, 2015
Sign of Peace at Mass needs to maintain a public character
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Catholic liturgical tradition regards the Sign of Peace at Mass as a disciplined and restrained public gesture, and not an affectionate gesture of intimacy and friendship. In fact, the peace sign is designed for people who, for the most part, do not even know each other’s names.

This derives from the fact that the liturgical assembly is not (and is not meant to be) a gathering of friends and intimates. In my view, it is a mistake to view those gathered in worship as friends and...

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March 26, 2015
The Eucharist is the ‘memory bank’ of the Church
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

When we celebrate the origin of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, we cast our minds back to the Last Supper which Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before he died. However, the sacrament of the Eucharist is related not only to the Last Supper, but to every Mass celebrated through the centuries.

The Eucharist is imprinted with the life of the Church from its beginning and is the “memory bank” of God’s people.

The great Anglican Benedictine Gregory Dix, at the end of his...

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March 19, 2015
Is human society a covenant community or a marketplace?
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The United States was founded as a covenant society – a society held together by a covenant with God and between citizens. This notion was uppermost in the minds of the Founding Fathers. Social institutions were to be inspired and directed by the concept of covenant.

Recent social commentators have lamented the break-down of this conception of society and the general social malaise it has wrought.
One of the most problematic trends that kills the notion of covenant is the...

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