Saint Patrick preaching to King Laoghaire, Gasson Hall, Boston College

“My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers.” So begins the Confession, one of only two extant writings we have of the patron saint of Ireland. Unlike the well known Lorica, or “Deer’s Cry” (also known as the “Breastplate of Saint Patrick”), which was probably written by a follower of the saint after his death, the Confession comes from the hand of the saint himself.

Unlike his contemporary Saint Augustine, Patrick was unlearned; his writing is simple and filled with many quotes from the Bible almost verbatim. What we see…


Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Houston has provided a thorough, detailed video guide to the reopening of their church for public Mass in this early phase. I encourage Catholics to consider what it will be like to re-gather responsibly in this limited way. It will be rather like boarding an airplane.

I nearly came to tears at the scene of receiving the Eucharist. This Eucharistic fast has been difficult.

My concern on a broad scale, though, is something I had never conceived of before the pandemic: the phenomenon of coveting the Eucharist.

We have already seen examples of…


A couple of days ago, I started uploading brief YouTube videos inviting people to learn a practice that I’m calling “Ignatian mindfulness.” It’s my small contribution to people who are feeling stressed out these days: I’ve taught Ignatian spirituality for many years and know that the practices associated with this tradition can help people to refocus their attention in ways that can help lessen the unavoidable anxiety we are all facing in different ways.

And this morning, I came across this article about Christian mindfulness, published yesterday at Religion News Service, about the wave of interest in apps that deliver…


Above is the video of Easter Mass celebrated by Catholic Extension’s president, Father Jack Wall. Especially in this Octave of Easter, it is good to return to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and conquering of death.

But there is another reason why I recommend this particular celebration of Easter. It is a reminder that we are an ekklesia — the Greek word used by the New Testament authors translated as “church.” But the Greek word has a layer of meaning that we might miss using our Anglo-Saxon word. …


Saint Anselm of Canterbury (George Glover, mid 17th century, source)

The eleventh-century theologian St. Anselm of Canterbury offers us an answer. In his work Proslogion (“Discourse”), he describes himself as someone “who strives to lift his mind to the contemplation of God, and seeks to understand what he believes.” In other words, he begins with a kind of wonder rooted in desire, and he reflects upon that experience in order to find some measure of understanding. To desire God is to “lift the mind,” if we follow Anselm’s idea. There is a long genealogy of this idea, from Anselm to St. Augustine and back to the philosopher Plato. For them…


Listening to Pope Francis’ Easter vigil homily, I was struck at the end by his call to all Catholics to go out to the world to bring hope.

[T]he message of hope should not be confined to our sacred places, but should be brought to everyone. For everyone is in need of reassurance, and if we, who have touched “the Word of life” (1 Jn 1:1) do not give it, who will? How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death!


St. Michael the Archangel in Los Ebanos, Texas

Why should the government bail out churches, synagogues, temples, or other houses of worship? This NPR story observes that this new policy, part of the stimulus package, is a break from the past and would appear at first glance to violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

Simple: they are economic engines.

Researchers have for a number of years acknowledged the value that religious congregations add to communities. Consider this recent article by Penn researchers Ram Cnaan and Seongho An.

Congregations employ staff, contribute to local economies through purchases of food and other goods, provide many social services that keep marriages…


Pope Francis leaves the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican March 18, 2020, after a livestream of his weekly general audience. (CNS photo/Vatican Media, reprinted in Commonweal)

Today in Commonweal, journalist and scholar Austen Ivereigh published a remarkable interview with Pope Francis about the pope’s reflections on the role of the Catholic Church in this time of pandemic. Below are five key points which show the pope’s thinking on the situation which faces our human family.

  1. He wants pastors to be creative in the ways that they stay close to their people. …


Cover of The Discerning Parent, a book by Tim and Sue Muldoon
Cover of The Discerning Parent, a book by Tim and Sue Muldoon
Courtesy of Ave Maria Press

Teenage people are indeed poor, in both their understanding of themselves and the world. In some ways they are children in adult bodies, perceived by others as adults while they themselves often feel inadequate and self-conscious. Their internalized shame — born from the barrage of ads reminding them how unattractive they are; friends who slight them; pop culture which lures them through false desires; scowls of adults in authority when they do not perform well; and so many other daily reminders of what they are not — this shame can consume them unless it is balanced by unconditional love.

Parents…


quotefancy.com/

In this Holy Week lockdown, the closing lines (in the image above) from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ magnificent poem The Wreck of the Deutschland have been with me. We are all experiencing a Lent like no other, and we are experiencing some of the fear and anxiety that the disciples felt after Jesus’ crucifixion, wondering what sort of hope it is possible to grasp for.

Hopkins wrote of a horrible shipwreck off the coast of England in 1875 which claimed the lives of many, including five Franciscan nuns bound for the United States. …

Tim Muldoon

Pastoral theologian, professor, author/editor of 12 books.

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