In Good Company

June 23, 2014
21 ways to defend religious liberty
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

The 3rd annual Fortnight for Freedom – two weeks of prayer, fasting and demonstration in defense of the fullness of First Amendment freedoms—kicked off June 21st with an opening Mass celebrated in Baltimore by Archbishop Lori. It will close July 4th with a noon Mass celebrated in Washington, DC by Cardinal Wuerl.

In the intervening days, our bishops invite faithful Catholics and all people of good will to fast, pray, educate themselves and exercise their religious liberty as a way of...

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There’s a March for Marriage in Washington, DC today, and the chairman of the US Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, will be there as a featured speaker.

This in spite of the fact that a number of California politicians and other public figures wrote him an open letter asking him not to attend.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi wrote a similar private missive to the...

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March 24, 2014
The Departure Zone
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

My dad used to say that once you reach fifty years of age, you’ve gotta know you’re in “the departure zone.” I’m not there yet, but nonetheless one of my dearest friends from childhood has been fighting cancer. The turn of the year brought the sudden, fluke passing, within months of each other, of two friends who were among the most important of my college days. My health is good, but it feels like my youth decamped in the past few months.

Hopefully you won’t find it morbid in me...

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February 27, 2014
On the Liberalism of Pope Francis
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

The press never pays attention to any pope until we have a new one, and then is always shocked to discover the new pope is Catholic, just like the old one. With the election of Pope Francis, however, a number of devout Catholics seem seriously worried that media hopes for our new pope to overturn timeless teaching might be true.

Is the Pope a “liberal” in the sense of caring little for doctrine? He himself said so in a recent Q & A. A priest asked him what to do about people who come...

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February 06, 2014
Pope Francis and the Sensus Fidei
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

At the turn of the year Pope Francis gave a lovely homily on Mary as the mother of God. He explained the doctrine’s meaning and how it came to be solemnly proclaimed. Mary is not herself divine nor is she the author of Christ's divine nature, but she is mother of the whole person of Christ.

What caught my attention, however, was nothing dogmatic but rather this anecdote:

“It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting...

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December 05, 2013
Beyond 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel'
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

One of the nicest features of Advent and Christmas is that the unique carols of these seasons are a wonderful aid to meditation. You can be on your morning commute or out for a jog or pulling a pie out of the oven and, with music on in the background, you find yourself singing along and suddenly you’re swept into a moment of grace by the combination of profound lyric and gorgeous melody.

I’m not sure why it is, but there is something about folk melody – by which I mean the melodies...

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November 07, 2013
ENDA’s Game
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

Within the next few days, the U.S. Senate is expected to debate ENDA, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act.  The bill would prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and provides an exemption for religious employers.

Who could be against that, right? Decent people everywhere oppose workplace discrimination, and for Catholics, there are additional incentives: unjust discrimination is a sin, and Pope Francis has recently been speaking a great deal...

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October 31, 2013
Day of the Dead
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

My grandfather’s brother was an atheist. Not a smug, proselytizing sort – just an unbeliever.

When he was in the end stages of cancer, heavily medicated, he would spend his few lucid moments visiting with family and then be wheeled off to his room to rest.

In his drug-affected reverie, he often spoke aloud quite clearly, saying things like:

“Really, Lord? …Then it was all true? …I am sorry…. I never knew.”

This happened several times over the course of his last days and...

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October 10, 2013
Don’t assume people know God loves them
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

I have an interior decorator friend who manages to strike up fascinating conversations with her clients about God. I’ve no idea how one segues from fabric swatches to the meaning of life, but my friend does it with the unaffected grace that characterizes her room designs.

We jokingly call it “soul patrol” when this friend makes design appointments, but she doesn’t set out to make converts of her clients. There is just some quality she has – an inner light or peace –that...

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September 26, 2013
Is the Pope Catholic?
By Rebecca Ryskind Teti

I confess to being impatient with the impassioned reactions to Pope Francis’ recent interview with Jesuit journals. To my mind Pope Francis breaks no ground if you’ve been following his homilies since his election.

Moreover, as a Benedict XVI groupie, Francis’ insistence that the Church’s first job is to present the Gospel and not get stuck in either the “gotcha” questions the press likes to ask or the finer points of doctrine seems of a piece with Benedict, not a break....

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