Germain Grisez’s influence on Catholic moral thinking

“We are all students of Grisez now.” The man who said that several years ago was a Catholic theologian not generally seen as being a disciple of Germain Grisez. He was simply acknowledging the influence Grisez had already had on serious students of moral thought — an influence that, one might add following Grisez’s death, seems likely to continue growing for a long time to come.

Film sheds light on problem of guiltless suffering

As any apologist worth his or her salt will tell you, the great objection to the proposition that God exists is the fact of innocent suffering. If you want a particularly vivid presentation of this complaint, go on YouTube and look up Stephen Fry’s disquisition on why he doesn’t believe in God. (Then right afterward, please, do look at my answer to Fry.)

The disturbing fact of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the be-all and the end-all of the Christian faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, all bishops, priests and Christian ministers should go home and get honest jobs, and all the Christian faithful should leave their churches immediately. As Paul himself put it: “If Jesus is not raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men.”

Prayer that ‘rocks your world’

One of the most impressive literary figures of the 20th century was the Irish writer Iris Murdoch. You may have heard of her surprising and thoughtful novels such as A Severed Head and The Good Apprentice; or perhaps you are conversant with her more abstract philosophical texts such as The Sovereignty of Good and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals. She reached her greatest notoriety posthumously in the work of her husband John Bayley, who penned a moving memoir of his wife’s slow and emotionally wrenching descent into Alzheimer’s disease.

Confirmation and evangelization

I recently had the enormous privilege of performing my first confirmation as a bishop. It took place at Holy Cross Parish in Moor Park, California, a large, bustling and bilingual parish in my pastoral region. I told the confirmandi — and I meant it — that I would keep them in my heart for the rest of my life, for we were connected by an unbreakable bond. In preparation for this moment, I was, of course, obliged to craft a homily, and that exercise compelled me to do some serious studying and praying around the meaning of this great sacrament.

The need for silence

The Belgian spiritual writer Bieke Vandekerckhove comes by her wisdom honestly. She didn’t learn what she shares from a book or even primarily from the good example of others. She learned what she shares through the crucible of a unique suffering, being hit at the tender age of 19 with a terminal disease that promised not just an early death but also a complete breakdown and humiliation of her body en route to that death.

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