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Voices
  • Healthy and unhealthy fear of God

    As a theologian, priest and preacher, I often get asked: “Why isn’t the church preaching more fear of God anymore? Why aren’t we preaching more about the dangers of going to hell? Why aren’t we preaching more about God’s anger and hellfire?”
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  • Fencing with bigots

    … being an imaginary dialogue between a nominee to a federal appeals court and members of the Committee on the Judiciary of what once imagined itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body”…
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  • Renewing devotion to Mary

    I very much appreciated the Aug. 17 CSF article about Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Archbishop Jose Gomez’ comments that “At Guadalupe, the Mother of God came to be the Mother of the Americas.”
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  • Dolan’s blast misdirected

    Cardinal Dolan’s remarks in New Orleans to over 400 priests were a tragic revelation of an intellectual deflection and a spiritual vacuum. How could such an educated guy miss the boat so badly?
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  • Catholic identity and San Domenico School

    It is with great sadness but little surprise that I read about the removal of sacred statues from the San Domenico campus. Forces to shed the school’s Catholic identity were already encroaching more than two decades ago when our first-born started her 14-year stint as an SD student.
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  • George Weigel’s ‘Lessons in Hope’

    George Weigel’s latest book, “Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II,” is the third panel in a great triptych he has composed in honor of the most consequential Catholic figure of the second half of the 20th century.
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  • Just behind the veil

    At the conclusion of the novel “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (the fifth of the series), Harry is mourning the death of Sirius Black, his godfather and close friend. The manner of death was being blown through a mysterious stone arch, a thin veil covering the entrance, behind which could be heard faint, whispering voices.
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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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  • The transmigration of theological nonsense

    During the Long Lent of 2002, Sister Betsy Conway, who lived in the Bostonian epicenter of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, spoke for many self-identified progressive Catholics when she told syndicated columnist Michael Kelly, “This is our church, all of us, and we need to take it back.”
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  • Our struggle with riches

    A number of years ago I attended a funeral. The man to whom we were saying goodbye had enjoyed a full and rich life.
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  • Hate speech and the First Amendment

    I read the letter to the editor by P. Roscelli from Sept. 14 (“Hate speech and the First Amendment”) and was confused. What was the desired response by the Catholic Church that the writer wanted?
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  • Defending Sen. Feinstein

    The Sept. 14 article by Kurt Jensen (“Catholic judicial nominee grilled by senators on her religious views”) is a hatchet job against U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the best California senator ever – certainly the best representative in Washington that San Francisco ever had.
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  • Is the will of God a guessing game?

    How do we know what God’s will for us is? Do we have to guess what God wants – what we should do or choose? What if we guess badly?
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  • Be not afraid – we’re all in this together

    Each October we observe Respect Life Month in dioceses around the United States. This year’s theme is “Be Not Afraid,” but of what, or whom, are we supposed to not be afraid?
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  • Sex in accord with reason

    An article published in 2012 in The Atlantic described the sexual practices of the Aka and Ngandu people who live in the tropical forests of central Africa.
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  • Peter Claver vs. Immanuel Kant

    One of the greatest heroes of the social justice wing of the church is, quite rightly, the 17th-century “slave of the slaves,” St. Peter Claver. Born in Barcelona, Claver joined the Society of Jesus and was known, even as a young man, as a person of deep intelligence and piety.
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  • Hurricane Harvey and the kayaking priest

    Hurricane Harvey stranded Father David Bergeron in his pick-up the night it ripped through Houston. The 38-year-old priest had been visiting his brother and had to pull over on an overpass three miles from his home in the flood-ravaged southeast side.
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  • Achievement vs. fruitfulness

    There’s a real difference between our achievements and our fruitfulness, between our successes and the actual good that we bring into the world.
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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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  • Hate speech and the First Amendment

    During the aftermath of the Virginia tragedy my Catholic Church was quick to flood the airwaves with unequivocal condemnations of haters and hateful rhetoric.
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