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Voices

Guest Columnists



  • Keep peace during holiday gatherings

    The holiday season is a hectic time for many people, due to the preparations and festivities that typically take place. Staying sane, not to mention enjoying this time of the year, is even more of a challenge for those who don’t get along well with their extended family.
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  • Private conscience and the church

    The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen explained that there are two kinds of truths: “Outer truths, which we master, like the distance of the sun from the earth; and inner truths, which master us; for example: God is merciful to the penitent. Inner truths affect a person’s destiny, like a vocational calling; they are matters of conscience.”
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  • Where does the statue controversy end?

    The San Francisco Arts Commission voted unanimously Oct. 2 to consider the removal of the “Early Days” sculpture of the Pioneer Monument near Civic Center.
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  • Residents return home: There isn’t one

    The end is not the real end in the story of any tragedy when “good persons” are left behind.
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  • Seeing the presence of God with CRS in Tanzania

    I feel so blessed to have been part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation that visited Tanzania at the end of August this year. For the past four years I have been promoting CRS programs for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, from Rice Bowl to Fair Trade products, disaster relief and breaking the cycle of poverty overseas.
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  • La Madonna del Lume: Our Most Holy Mother of Light

    Since a very young age, I have been blessed to be a part of the beautiful tradition of celebrating La Madonna del Lume, Our Most Holy Mother of Light, each year in San Francisco.
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  • What’s next for US-Vatican relations in a post-American world?

    The ecclesial gap between the pope and the United States is going to be as persistent as the geopolitical one – perhaps even more. There is a clear and undeniable rift between the Vatican and the Trump administration on a long series of issues.
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  • Ending one’s life in New Zealand

    This is an excerpt from the New Zealand Catholic bishops’ submission to a government inquiry on public attitudes toward the introduction of legislation to permit medically assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or irreversible condition.
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  • California’s End of Life Option Act: ‘Ominous’ signs

    In the first seven months after California’s new physician-assisted suicide law went into effect, 111 Californians legally committed suicide with state approval.
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  • Coping with anxiety and depression

    Anxiety and depression are common problems today. A sense of isolation tends to heighten these problems, yet it seems the more advanced society becomes, the more it is a challenge for people to stay connected in meaningful ways.
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  • Let’s encourage the elders in our church

    I recently participated in the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of this large, unprecedented encounter between U.S. bishops and laity was to study what Pope Francis has termed the “new peripheries” and to form missionary disciples.
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  • Why pray the rosary?

    More than a century ago a proud university student boarded a train in France and sat next to an older man who seemed to be a peasant of comfortable means. The brash student noticed that the older gentleman was slipping beads through his fingers. He was praying the rosary.
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  • Civilta Cattolica essay: Overreaction to a questionable problem

    An overreaction to a questionable problem – that was my thought on reading a piece about American politics and the religious right by two men said to be close to Pope Francis.
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  • Civilta Cattolica misses richness of Catholic-evangelical relations

    In a recent editorial, “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism,” Civilta Cattolica identified cooperation between Protestant fundamentalists and conservative American Catholics as “a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.”
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  • Mary, consecration and Christian life

    A season of consecration is upon us, a season of joyful commitments gladly made. In May, 13 new permanent deacons and in June two new priests were ordained in our cathedral, consecrated to the service of the people of this archdiocese.
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  • California legislative dreaming

    California has had a full-time legislature since 1966, only one of three states that boasts a full-time, lucratively paid and nicely staffed governing body.
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  • Some fear is salutary

    A woman wrote to me recently: “Father I was wondering if you could offer me some suggestions? I am trying to trust in our Lord, but I tend to be anxious, sometimes to the point of having anxiety attacks. I want to trust God, but I get so frightened.”
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  • The greatest mission for parents

    Last month we watched Pope Francis travel to Fatima for the centenary of Our Lady’s apparitions to the three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Much has been said and written about Fatima this year.
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  • Self-help is a choice

    One of the most important things you can do to improve your mental health, and strengthen your spiritual life is to find a way to fill your mind with uplifting thoughts because the thoughts you wallow in today, will always filter down into your feelings tomorrow.
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  • Pentecost and you

    We celebrate the birthday of the church on Pentecost Sunday 50 days after Easter. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, and transformed them from the frightened men they had become after the crucifixion, into the courageous apostles of Jesus Christ, who fearlessly faced martyrdom.
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