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  • Archbishop calls for end to violence, return to effort for justice
    As the national spotlight landed on his city and its ongoing protests, Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample on July 24 made a plea for citizens to leave violence behind and return to a campaign for racial justice.
  • Through Christ, repairing our relationship with creation

    I love the outdoors, and the pristine and clean environment of much of Oregon, both east and west of the Cascades. The times that I can mountain bike in Forest Park, muddy or dry, are moments to cherish. I have hiked in the Columbia River Gorge and fished for salmon in the Multnomah Channel. (Yes, I caught a big one.) I have even floated the wild and scenic Rogue River.

  • A Christmas story (well, sort of)
    I hope you will indulge me this Christmas by allowing me to speak very personally. This will be the second Christmas without my dear mother, Joyce, and I must confess that I have really been missing her lately. I know that many of you find the holiday season difficult because of the loss of a loved one during this time of year, or simply because Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s evoke so many memories of happy times with them.
  • What is ‘evangelization’?
    We hear a lot these days in the Church about evangelization. Pope St. John Paul II first introduced us to the idea that we need a “new evangelization” in our time, but many don’t know that Pope St. Paul VI had himself already spoken much about evangelization, especially in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Nuntiandi” (1975). And of course Pope Francis speaks forcefully about the need for evangelization, emphasizing the call for each of us to become “missionary disciples.”
  • From time to time the question arises in some people’s minds as to what it really means to be a Catholic. It seems there are various interpretations in answer to this question. The topic of this column is sparked to some extent by the subject of my last column on the Pew Research study of Catholic faith in the holy Eucharist.
  • A crisis of eucharistic faith
    Many of you by now have seen the results of a recent Pew Research Center survey of Catholics regarding their belief in the Holy Eucharist. The results are, in my mind, alarming and very disturbing.
  • The USCCB and the sex abuse crisis
    Perhaps some of you are getting tired of hearing about the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church, but my sense is that most of you want to be kept informed about how the leadership of the Church is addressing this current scandalous situation. As a follow-up to my last column, I want to explain to you the actions taken by the United States bishops at our June meeting.
  • Pope Francis’ new law concerning the sexual abuse crisis
    Most of you are aware by now that Pope Francis has recently issued an Apostolic Letter in the form of a motu proprio that addresses in a significant way the current sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church. Being issued in the form of a motu proprio means that the Holy Father is making these new directives universal law for the whole Church throughout the world. As I said in my initial statement upon the release of the pope’s letter, I am very encouraged by the Holy Father’s action.
  • Archbishop welcomes pope's plan of action
    Pope Francis wanted a worldwide response to the crisis on the part of the universal Church. This new document does just that.
  • Why we do what we do: An Easter reflection
    From time to time it is important to stop and ask ourselves why we do what we do as a Church. As I travel the archdiocese and visit with the faithful, I hear all sorts of comments and concerns.
  • Trying something new
    The steady stream of bad news over the last several months regarding the ongoing sexual abuse crisis in the Church, especially as it pertains to the failures of some bishops, has caused me to reflect on my own ministry as a bishop. Like many of you, I have been deeply shaken by these events and revelations, and I have taken this whole matter deeply into my prayer and reflection.
  • Let’s talk about something else
    I have been meaning to write about a very significant and exciting experience for the Church in the United States for some time. Unfortunately, recent events in the Church involving the abuse crisis took center stage. While those problems are still very important and in need of attention, let’s talk about something else for a moment, namely the V Encuentro.
  • So what happened?
    I have recently returned from the annual fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was at this meeting that the U.S. bishops were prepared to address in a strong manner the current crisis in the Church, a crisis that revolves around the bishops themselves and the negligent handling of cases of sexual abuse and misconduct in the past.
  • A chance to make a difference

    I can already hear the objections of some to this column and can anticipate letters I might receive taking issue with the call to action I wish to make at a critical time for the public moral life of our beloved State of Oregon.

    May this column serve as a response to the objections of some, and an explanation of why this is a time for faithful Catholics to let their voices be heard loud and clear.


  • No fear of the truth
    As the sad crisis in the Church over sexual abuse and misconduct and its cover-up continues to unfold, I have been thinking a lot about the truth. We need the truth, however painful it may be to hear it. We must, in a sense, answer Pilate’s question, “What is the truth?” Only the truth in this matter will make us free.
  • Archbishop Sample responds to abuse reports
    Like many of you, I was shocked, angered, and discouraged by the recent revelations concerning former Cardinal and retired Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick. Then, on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother, came the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, covering more than seven decades. These horrific revelations are particularly painful in light of what victims in our own Archdiocese have suffered and the impact that sexual abuse has had on the Church here in western Oregon. I am sorry beyond words for the harm that has been done.
  • The Church must be a counter witness

    Many people, including myself, have come to a point where we are seriously limiting our viewing of cable news television. The divisive rhetoric, the vitriol and the lack of respect and kindness people are showing to one another these days is sad and depressing. Where has civility gone?

  • Reverence for our Eucharistic Lord
    My sister who lives here in Portland watched on EWTN the Mass I celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on April 28. One of her comments (after she finished making fun of her younger brother!) was about how Holy Communion was received. She remembered with some real fondness how, when we were children, we always received Holy Communion at the Communion rail and on the tongue. No one dared touch the Holy Eucharist, except the priest.
  • A sure norm for teaching the faith
    Last October the Church celebrated the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, although the English-language edition did not become available until two years later in 1994. I remember like it was yesterday the joy that filled my heart when I first held it in my hand. It was the first universal catechism published for the whole Church since the Catechism of the Council of Trent, issued in 1566. That was a long wait!
  • Is the Resurrection of Jesus real?
    OK, now that I have your attention, the answer to my question is, of course, yes! But how do we know this to be true? As we celebrate Easter (for a full seven weeks), it would be fruitful for us to meditate on this central mystery of our faith. For St. Paul tells us, “If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (I Corinthians15:14)
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