We want to say that love is unconditional. It seems right. It is equal parts comforting and challenging. It is comforting because if I am loved, then there is nothing I can do to lose that. It is challenging because in order to love, I have to will to be untroubled by obstacles. We do not want to say love is conditional because we fear submitting love to the twisted logic of relationship terrorism: if you do not meet my demands, I deprive you of what is good for you, or vice versa. We think of conditions as qualifications and we do not want to attach qualifications to love. So we say love is unconditional. But that is wrong. Love is always conditional.
I read something about St. Catherine of Siena last night that has completely torn apart my existence and forced a sharp examine of conscience. Why? Because the saints--when we really, really dare to see them--are not there first of all to comfort us. They should first disturb us. They work in Christ, who wounds us in order to heal us.
Retelling the story of the American People as a story that began in the pursuit of liberty, that progresses in seeking this liberty for all, and that shall always be an ongoing project to secure liberty so that dialogue and peace may become its fruits, makes the story of the United States a story of religious liberty.
…I’m still not completely happy with how I’m saying what I’m saying here, but at least I’ve taken some more time to think about than I did in my initial, somewhat impulsive, totally Twitterish intervention. If Fr. Martin reads this or any others who responded critically to my initial intervention, I really do hope he and you will receive a sense of my respect along with my words, because I definitely do intend that.
…This is of course part of the culture at Notre Dame—the cost for all the extraordinary benefits that the football program affords the university and its community (and they are extraordinary, not only in financial terms but in communal terms also). But the sequence of three straight weekends at the very start of the semester has been, in my view and the view of the students I talked to yesterday, unfair and actually rather cruel to our students. We have not put them in a position to start strong this year and to set a foundation for success. Instead, they’re already behind and playing catch-up. …
“Keeping your faith” is a losing proposition. “Prioritizing your faith” is the key.
We need better images. It has become increasingly obvious that we are starved for trustworthy and reliable images of manhood in our present age. The unreliability of the current popular images of “man” are likely related to the deteriorating image of “fatherhood” in the modern world.
The men felled by sexual misconduct allegations over the last nine months have offered an image of manhood that consists of using others to satiate their own appetites. Perhaps these prominent men show the inevitable outcome of unchecked power, of misdirected authority, of self-indulgent customs that fuel the cults of personality. But this behavior exists in private places, too, and indeed a widespread remediation is necessary to cure our young men of the tendencies that might lead to such actions.
Using others makes everyone a slave of their own appetites. What is missing is the power to fulfill responsibilities, to create life and secure wellbeing for others, and to trade away selfish desires for another’s good.
Read more at Our Sunday Visitor.
As part of an article written for Our Sunday Visitor (to post soon), I interviewed current college students and recent college grads, as well as college-bound high school grads about faith in college. Some of their thoughts and reflections are included with the article, but there were too many to get everything in. Here are the full responses from each of the teens and young adults…
Last Friday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg vetoed Bill 05-18, which would have amended a residential zoning ordinance for the construction of a new Women’s Care Center facility at 3527 Lincoln Way W. Known for his thoughtful and impartial consideration of local issues, Buttigieg had the opportunity to overcome the polarization that affects so much of our national, state, and now, we regret to say, local politics.
He had the opportunity to usher in the peaceful coexistence of two organizations that have fundamentally different views about the nature of women’s health care. He had the opportunity to give women in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city a choice in approaches to care. He had the opportunity to serve our community rather than kowtowing to the national interests of his political party. He failed.
Read more at the South Bend Tribune.
(Co-authored with Jessica Keating)
This is the last fish Jesus saw before he ascended to heaven, and he ate it. I wonder how many fish he saw during his 33 years. A lot, for sure, but still there is some kind of definite number that we simply cannot know. What we do know, however, is that this was the last fish in that number, and it was broiled. Jesus eats a lot throughout Luke's Gospel, but this is the only time Luke tells us of him eating after the Resurrection. And this fish, which once swam around in a school and was caught and then broiled, was consumed by the glorified body of the Savior. No other fish in his school or in the all the seas of the world could claim that. Blessed are you among fish.
Antagonisms are what we most frequently and efficiently pass on to young people. We teach them to do what we do and to become what we model. Ideals and hopes are diverted this way or that, to this side or that side, so it seems as if the only imperative is to establish oneself, one’s faction, in opposition to others. We are so deft at these maneuvers that we almost cannot help ourselves; we do it instinctively, somewhat naturally. Surprisingly yet predictably, this same old formational screenplay is playing itself out during the preparation for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on “young people, the faith and vocational discernment.”
Ironically, antagonism and its animating spirit, the hermeneutics of suspicion, are what young people tend to despise most of all. Yet, these things are precisely what we in the Church are preparing them to assume through what we do and what we model. When the final document from the Vatican’s pre-synod meeting of 300 young people was released at the end of March, the accusatory tweets and disparaging commentaries followed in breathless pursuit.