Pope St. John Paul II made history in 1986 when he visited Rome’s synagogue. Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of Rome during the time, called the Holy Father’s visit a “gesture destined to go down in history” and a “true turning point in the policy of the church.”
This year will remembered as one of division. The nation was divided as a seemingly futile impeachment exercise paralyzed the country.
With each passing year, Advent seems to be getting shorter. And yet that is not the case — we have all four Sundays of the Advent season. Perhaps it is the busyness of our lives that seems to make these sacred days of joyful preparation go by faster.
This Advent, we are presented with the Gospel according to Matthew.
Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, and the violet color that priests wear at Mass during this liturgical season is a symbol of deep longing for the coming of Christ into our lives.
Thanksgiving Day is the closest we come to having a “religious” secular holiday. Although it is a government-proclaimed holiday, it is a time for prayer and for reflection on all the good things that we enjoy as Americans. It is a time when we can legitimately thank God for all the good that He has bestowed upon this nation.
During the last two decades, we have learned more about sexual abuse than we ever expected or wished to know. The suffering that victims and their families endured has been twofold — the abuse itself and the trauma of being silenced or ignored. Much has changed in the church since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Dallas Charter) in June 2002, but the pain continues.
This past week, when the U.S. bishops met in Baltimore for their fall general assembly, they were expected to discuss many topics. The specter of Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Michael Bransfield no doubt hung over the proceedings as did the very real problem of sexual abuse and the U.S. church’s proactive manner of dealing with it.
The 20th-century Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book “The Cost of Discipleship,” describes “cheap grace” as:
This coming week, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the Diocese of Brooklyn’s auxiliary bishops, along with the other bishops of New York state, will head to Rome to spend a week visiting with Pope Francis, and with other Vatican offices for an “ad limina” (“To the Threshold”) meeting, which happens about every seven years. This is the first time that the U.S. bishops have had such visits with Pope Francis during his pontificate. It’s a requirement for every country, and now it’s America’s turn.