With Good Reason

In this article I intend to address a series of problematic and closely related ideas bearing on perennial Catholic moral teaching and its underlying understanding of the human person. All of them, in one way or another, have already manifested themselves in the run-up to the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops—to be held in October on the theme of “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.”  

There has been much speculation that the...

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Catholics, as a segment of U.S. population, shrank by 3.1 percent from 2007 to 2014, and are now outnumbered as a portion of American population by the “nones”, the religiously unaffiliated. That was the headline-grabbing revelation two weeks ago from the Pew Research Center.  That trend fits within the overall decline in affiliation with Christian denominations, notwithstanding population growth in the U.S. in the same time period.

So there it was in black in white:  approximately...

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November 06, 2014
Vocation Awareness Week & Priestly Holiness
By Father Thomas Berg

With the nation going to the voting booths this week, and the news saturated with myriad international crises, it’s likely we missed the fact that this week the Church celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week.  As stated on the USCCB website, it is a week dedicated “to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.”

It’s no...

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September 23, 2014
Discerning a call to Priesthood?
By Father Thomas Berg

Here are some questions about sexuality and affective maturity you should be asking yourself.

As seminaries across the country commence a new academic year and re-engage in the crucial work of priestly formation,  so too a throng of young Catholic men throughout the U.S. will continue the task which might lead them one day to seminary, namely, the work of discernment.  And they will continue to be assisted in that effort by friends, family, spiritual directors and diocesan vocation...

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August 04, 2014
Unreason unleashes a world of hurt
By Father Thomas Berg

Peer deeply into any one of the many contemporary conflicts afflicting human beings on the world stage—the ISIS purge of Assyrian Christians and other minorities from the boundaries of their putative new Islamic state, the felling of Malaysia Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, the seething hell-hole that is Gaza—and you will eventually discover, if not the utter renunciation of human reason, at least catastrophic failures to approach conflicts reasonably. 

When I am assaulted by these...

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February 17, 2014
In what 'age' of the Church are we living?
By Father Thomas Berg

If true wisdom is anything, it is the ability to judge current situations within an historical context: “to know the age in which one lives.” Such historical contextualization is often crucial to the moral assessment of one’s “life and times.” For example, we would be at a loss to assess adequately the disordered state of contemporary sexual mores without discovering their roots in the cultural and sexual revolution of the late 1960s.

Consequently, it is always a valid...

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December 05, 2013
Evangelii Gaudium: exhorting a self-referential Church
By Father Thomas Berg

In his hand written notes that formed the basis of his presentation during the General Congregations prior to the Conclave, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio penned the following:

“When the Church does not go out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential; she grows ill (like the stooped woman in the Gospel). The evils which appear throughout history in Church institutions are rooted in this self-referentiality – a kind of theological narcissism.”

This theme – the...

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October 10, 2013
This book is rocking the Catholic world
By Father Thomas Berg

My friends know that I appreciate candor, and that I can be frank to a fault. I don’t tolerate it well when everyone in the room is desperately trying to ignore the proverbial eight-hundred pound gorilla sitting in the corner.

Author Sherry Weddell does not tolerate this well either.

And she would like us – “active” and presumably committed Catholics, lay, religious, consecrated and clergy – to focus on one rather large gorilla sitting in the corner of our contemporary Church:...

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Yesterday's publication of an exclusive interview with Pope Francis by Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal, is creating quite a buzz in the media.  I offer here three reflections on what I believe Pope Francis meant in the context of some key—and easily misinterpreted—responses to the questions posed to him.

1. The Primacy of Mercy in the Thought of Francis

When Spadaro asked the Holy Father what kind of church he dreams of,...

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September 10, 2013
Remembering the encyclical 'Fides et Ratio'
By Father Thomas Berg

As our attention seems to coalesce on next April 27, 2014—Divine Mercy Sunday—as the likely date Pope Francis has in mind for the canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II (and likely along with him, Blessed Pope John XXIII), it’s worth recalling that this September 14—feast of the Holy Cross—marks the 15th anniversary of the promulgation of John Paul’s wonderful encyclical Fides et Ratio (FR), on the relationship between faith and reason.

This encyclical reminds us...

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