Since plague time began, I’ve found the following books reassuring, challenging, illuminating, and in some cases just plain fun: which is to say, apt reading in, and for, this troubled moment.
In 1918, Mayor James Preston presented a 264-piece silver service to Cardinal James Gibbons on behalf of Baltimore and its citizens — a municipal tribute to the city’s beloved archbishop on the 50th anniversary of his episcopal consecration.
A brief dip into Latin helps us understand how preconceptions can lead to biased judgments that falsify history — as they did when an Australian Royal Commission on sexual abuse recently impugned the integrity of Cardinal George Pell.
In his “Life of St. Augustine,” the 5th-century bishop Possidius tells us that the greatest of the Latin Doctors of the Church, knowing that his earthly end was near, had four penitential psalms copied and hung on the walls of his room.
In mid-May, Chinese leader Xi Jinping unveiled a plan to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and impose draconian new “national security” laws on the former British colony. Putatively intended to defend Hong Kong from “secessionists,” “terrorists,” and “foreign influence,” these new measures are in fact designed to curb the brave men and women of Hong Kong’s vibrant pro-democracy movement, who have been aggravating the Beijing totalitarians for a long time.
I’d heard about Father Alexander Sherbrooke long before we met in June 2011; Father Sherbrooke had been a mentor for young friends of mine who had worked at St. Patrick’s Church in London as pastoral assistants and catechists.
Shortly after President John F. Kennedy’s cabinet met for the first time, Vice President Lyndon Johnson waxed enthusiastic about the best and the brightest to his mentor, Speaker Sam Rayburn.
As the world and the Church mark the centenary of the birth of Pope St. John Paul II on May 18, a kaleidoscope of memories will shape my prayer and reflection that day.
As he turned 94 on April 16, Joseph Ratzinger remained one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented men of consequence in recent Catholic history.
Given that he was one of the principal planners and prominent leaders of last October’s special Synod on Amazonia, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM, is understandably enthusiastic about the results of that exercise. Cardinal Hummes recently claimed that “The Synod for the Amazon was historic; no previous synod was as synodal and reform-oriented as this one.”