November 30, 2011
In the December 11th edition of OSV Newsweekly, I wrote an article on welcoming estranged Catholic back to the Church:
As Christmas approaches, there is one thing we can be as sure of seeing as Santa Claus and incessant ads for holiday deals: full Catholic churches. As predictable as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, Catholics of all stripes return to their parish every Christmas, many visiting for the first time since the previous Easter. The Catholics in attendance at a typical Christmas Mass run the gamut from daily Mass communicants to irregularly attending families to those who are estranged from the Church but come out of familial obligation.
As practicing Catholics, what can we and our parishes do to reach out to those who are estranged from or perhaps just uninterested in the Catholic Church? While this question has many possible answers, it will be helpful to review some basic principles that should form the foundation of any outreach to lapsed Catholics.
Also, be sure to read the sidebar for the article titled “The Mercy of God” – it is a great story of God’s great love for us!
November 23, 2011
In the latest issue of OSV Newsweekly, I examine the adulation given to Steve Jobs and compare his life to a true modern-day saint, St. Josemaría Escrivá:
If the secular world had a way to canonize someone, then surely the recent death of Apple founder Steve Jobs would have caused a hasty completion of that process. Jobs was one of the most revered businessmen of our time, and the ubiquity of Apple’s “i”-products — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad — made him a cultural phenomenon, too. After his death, there was such an outpouring of grief and adulation from all corners of the world that one could not help but recall the worldwide reaction to Pope John Paul II’s death six years ago.
In many ways, the cultural status Jobs attained was unrivaled. Even Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and his only true rival, does not stir up the passion and cult following that Jobs did. People joke about the “cult of Mac,” but in all seriousness the strong devotion that many people have to Apple’s products and even to Jobs personally is striking.
And, for better or worse, Jobs did change the world. Think about life just a dozen years ago: no iPods, touchscreen smartphones or tablet computers. In just a short time, Jobs was able to push his company to create multiple products that defined their categories and changed the way we interact with music and information. It is not surprising that the secular world recognized Jobs’ greatness.
November 4, 2011
The latest issue of OSV Newsweekly includes an article I wrote titled, “How to Handle Awkward Conversations with Family Members.” As the holidays approach, it might be good to prepare ourselves for those inevitable situations in which our way of life conflicts with the way of life of our loved ones:
As my wife and I prepared to leave a family gathering, saying our goodbyes to everyone, one of our young nephews asked, “Well, we’ll see you tomorrow, right?” An awkward pause worthy of the TV show “The Office” followed.
The next day one of our relatives was getting married outside the Church, and we were the only family members not attending. Our extended family had come to an unspoken agreement that there would be no public debates on this topic, deciding that no discussion was better than a heated argument, but, of course, our innocent young relative had no idea of the enactment of this familial policy. We quietly mumbled something to satisfy our nephew and then beat a hasty retreat to our car.
This scene is anything but atypical in Catholic families today. Not uncommon are brothers who proudly announce their vasectomies, cousins who are practicing homosexuals, and adult children who cohabitate before marriage; almost every Catholic has some family member openly defying Church teaching in some area of his life — with no trace of shame or guilt.