Essays in Theology

Church crisis reflects lack of pastoral leadership


Charles E. Curran, Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University, addressed the closing gathering of some 600 moral theologians from all over the world in Trent, Italy, July 27.

What follows in this week’s column is taken largely from an important Sept. 7 article in the National Catholic Reporter by Fr. Curran: “We cannot put our heads in the sand.”

Curran pointed out that a previous meeting in Padua four years earlier had effectively initiated the global processes of dialogue and interchange among Catholic moral theologians.

Saints we know little about, a saint we should know better


Those of us in the Roman Catholic tradition tend to be parochial in our appreciation of non-Roman liturgical and spiritual traditions.

For example, on Sept. 25 major portions of the body of Christ (but not the Roman Catholic church) celebrated the feast of St. Sergius of Radonezh, regarded as the greatest of the Russian saints and the patron of Russia itself. In fact, he has been referred to as the Russian Orthodox Francis of Assisi.

For Labor Day, church should embody social teachings


I keep hoping that one of these years the U.S. Catholic Bishops will issue a Labor Day statement that focuses on the church’s responsibility to practice what it preaches and teaches about social justice and human rights.
Such a statement would ground its message in the theology of sacramentality, that is, in the church’s call to be a credible sign and instrument of God’s presence and saving activity on behalf of the whole world.

Popes of the 20th Century: Paul VI


Pope Paul VI is a mixed figure in modern papal history. Conservative Catholics, who would ordinarily be favorable to just about every pope because of the central place the papacy occupies in the life of the Church, have reviled his memory — comparing him in a highly unfavorable way with their favorite pope of all time, John Paul II, whom they now refer to as John Paul the Great.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017