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  • Let’s do better
    The Catholic Church, for all her beautiful witness to life, must do a better job ministering to families who’ve lost a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.
  • St. Oscar Romero: An example for bishops
    At a time when the bishops of the United States are faced with a crisis of credibility, it seems fitting that Pope Francis canonized a model bishop during the Vatican's Synod on Youth in Rome.
  • Keep your eye on the ball
    While we’ve tied ourselves into knots over the Supreme Court and become glued to intra-Vatican spats, the earth steadily has gotten sicker. We’ve taken our eye off the big blue ball. That’s a mistake, because if we get care for creation wrong, nothing else will matter.
  • The holiness of the church is a gift given by Christ
    This year, along with many of the faithful in this country, we can’t help but feel as though we are under a cloud.
  • How did I write a book?

    Late last month, on the eve of the Feast of the Archangels, a childhood dream became reality: in the suffocating humidity of a convention center in San Angelo, Texas, I held my book in my hands for the first time. Tears of joy and relief fell as I considered what a long, strange trip this process has been.

  • Circle of faith
    We were like Moses confronting Pharaoh and saying, “Let My People Go!” We would be strong, courageous and not be moved. We sang “No Nos Moveran,” “We shall not be moved.”
  • From the Archives
    He was an exemplary Catholic young man, the worth of whose character is given testimony to by a wide circle of friends.
  • The courageous witness of Saints Oscar Romero and Paul VI
    Two very different men, facing different sets of dire challenges with prophetic courage, faithfully journeyed along two different paths to the same destination: sainthood!
  • Stepping back from the partisan fray, the troubled confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh has exposed truths about our culture — or rather about humanity — on which most people of good will can agree, at least when politics aren’t involved.
  • Yes on 106
    Oregon voters in November have a chance to stand up for individual conscience and fight for the little guy — the littlest. These are Oregon values — and Catholic principles. 
  • Christian literature from the first three centuries affirms that the earliest followers of Jesus Christ completely rejected all forms of violence and bloodshed – no abortion, no euthanasia, no capital punishment, no war.

  • Church needs management reform
    The universal church and the U.S. church is lacking standardized management structures as well as clergy leadership development to prevent numerous and recurring scandals, exercise accountability and achieve the church’s mission.
  • Opioids, pain management, and addiction: Balancing ethical duties
    Almost two million Americans are now addicted to opioids. At a minimum, a three-pronged approach is required.
  • A both-and people
    No one can pigeonhole the Catholic Church. That’s a sign that divine genius is at work. We Catholics stand firm for principles taught by the Lord, but in practice that often means we are a both-and people.
  • The Holy Hour and the New Testament
    “By one offering He had perfected forever them that are sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies this to us.  For after that He said: this is the testament which I will make to them after those days…  I will give My laws in their hearts and on their minds will I will write them. Heb 10:15-16.  This quote is from Jeremiah 31:33. 
  • Hear our cries
    Every strongly worded homily and letter from church leadership on the evils of the crisis is encouraging. Every transparent step is appreciated. But healing a wound so deep does not come from simply being preached at — it comes from being heard.
  • With Mary’s intercession, we can persevere
    After all the wretched, evil things that happened under the banner of “church” — unspeakable abuses and shameful cover-ups and various other allegations — wouldn’t it be reasonable to just cut and run?
  • What kind of justice will he be? The answer is clear
    Federal appellate judge and lifelong Catholic Brett Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Based on a speech he gave last year and his 12-year record as a judge, we know what type of justice he will be.
  • The Most Holy Hour – The Mass
    “On this day, beloved sons, I am asking you to renew your pledge of love for Jesus present in the Eucharist.  Make Holy Mass the center of all your piety, the summit of your priestly day, the heart of your apostolic action.  Celebrate it with love, with the scrupulous observe to the liturgical laws; live it, participating personally in the Sacrifice which Jesus renews by means of you.”  MMP #421.
  • Remembering Sean Dooney and his impact on CYO/Camp Howard
    Over the past 10 years, I came to know Sean Dooney and his wife, Sheri, and their seven kids. In no time at all, I loved every one of them. Sean and Sheri made an extraordinary impact on CYO and Camp Howard through their own contributions and by enrolling their children in the various sports programs and Camp Howard over the years. Sean coached the teams while Sheri shuttled them around to practices and games. 
  • The desire of Our Blessed Mother, The Mother of the Church could not be more explicit.  Now Our Blessed Mother gives us Her precise role to make us very pleasing to God.
  • The ongoing discussion of clergy sex abuse has moved to proposals for church reform.
  • It’s that time of year again, when many children, teens and adults fortunate enough to have access to formal education head back to school to learn about such things as math, science, history and the arts.
  • From the Archives
    From 1983: Father Thomas Laughlin Tuesday will begin serving a one-year sentence in a Multnomah County jail after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges of sexual abuse of boys under the age of 18.
  •   Parish taking in homeless and refugee women
    Imagine living here in Oregon, and leaving to find a better life in another country only to be denied. Imagine having to then live for several years in a tent on an island (which is a detention center for immigrants) 30 miles from the equator. And imagine finally making it to a country that is half way around the world where strangers welcome you and provide for your needs. One more thing: Imagine having to leave your children behind in your homeland during all this.
  • Learning from the unchurched

    These pages often acknowledge that western Oregon, Portland in particular, is unchurched. God, however, is alive and well.

  • On clergy sex abuse, here are three thoughts from a Catholic dad. First, include parents on review boards.
  • New church on the border symbolizes God’s presence among migrants
    Everyone knows families that have been torn apart by violence and injustice. For them, the prayer is a common mission statement: a pledge to one another that this church, this new temple, will be a place where people will rejoice when people say “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
  • From the ethical point of view, our ultimate goal should be not so much to “incentivize donation,” as to “support or encourage personal generosity” on the part of those individuals who may desire to donate freely one of their kidneys.
  • In the last judgment scene of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus sends a severe warning that hell awaits those who ignore meeting the essential human needs of the poor and vulnerable – and thus likewise, ignore him.
  • From the Archives

    Both contribute to a misunderstanding of our na­tion’s purposes, confuse the young peo­ple who are in their spiritual charge and painfully arouse the emotions of par­ents whose sons may be called to honor­able service for their country and the cause of peace.

  • Dangerous lies

    In 2010, Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, who served in the White House under Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidents, wrote a book, “The City of Man,” about Christianity and politics. Christians, they wrote, best influence public policy by speaking and acting with grace and truth.

  • Every Monday morning for the past 30 years, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C. have been making their way across the Potomac River to pray and nonviolently witness for peace in front of the most symbolic war planning, war-making headquarters on earth: the Pentagon.

  • We were blessed to have him
    Cardinal George was a shining beacon in the church. His leadership, his intellectual integrity and rigor, his witness of resilience and steadfastness in the faith, are tremendous examples for the faithful to follow.
  • The souls we meet

    In upstate New York, a slim young nature lover who looked like St. Francis stopped on the roadside and handed us bananas and cupcakes just purchased from a meager budget. He cooked us a meal as we lounged in his tree house.

  • Thank God for ‘scary’ immigrants

    There is a lot of fear-mongering these days about immigrants. We’re told that we should fear them because they’re dangerous, untrustworthy criminals out to get us. I don’t really feel that way, but maybe it’s because I was born in an immigrant family.

  • From the Archives
    The frugal, thrifty, industrious Italian is to do for us even more than was done for us by the Irish.
  • Reflections from an ‘Officer of Faith’
    As he heads to Seattle University in the fall, La Salle Prep graduate Evans Brackenbrough has left behind a legacy as a young Catholic committed to his faith.
  • MEMO

    We Catholics of the Portland metro area have noticed both of you tearing your hair out. We are here to help.

  • Our minivan is one big silver stereotype.

    Granola bar wrappers on the floor. Cheerios stuck between seats. Baseball gear rolling around the back. I'll admit our car is overlooked; I'd never let the house get this dirty. It's also much-maligned, as I crack jokes regularly about minivan life.

  • Catholics are rightly horrified by the reported sexual exploitation of boys and men by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, now resigned from the College of Cardinals. Other church leaders knew of his misdeeds but remained silent and kept advancing him to leadership posts. We even hear of churchmen involved in grave offenses who protect and advance each other in a conspiracy of shame.

  • God’s plan
    I’ve made a habit in my life of controlling as much of it as possible. Well, trying to control it anyway. God often reminds me who really is in charge.
  • Things have come to a sorry pass in Canada. Trinity Western University, the country's largest privately funded Christian university, was established by the Evangelical Free Church of America in 1962. It aims to promote "total student development through ... deepened commitment to Jesus Christ and a Christian way of life."

  • He relied on God, not weapons of war
    Known as “Dutch” by his siblings and nieces and nephews, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen was a quintessential Northwest down-to-earth and soft-spoken lover of the great outdoors, a fine athlete, an inspiring coach, a gentle and kind character, and a person of prayer with a listening attitude and an empowering spirit in how he related to people.  He was grounded — in every sense of the word.
  • From the Archives
    What a poor, mean, dwarfed piece of matter is man’s manufacture, when compared to God’s creation such tremendous differences in size, in smoothness of operation, in permanency of life and delicacy of action.
  • With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, interest groups and politicians are insisting that any replacement must pledge to uphold the court's Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

  • On July 25, 1968 – in the midst of the “sexual revolution” which aggressively promoted premarital sex, pornography, homosexual activity and artificial contraception – Pope Paul VI with the courage of a prophet gave the Catholic Church and world an entirely different message.

  • To reject a resolution that could save lives and to abet dishonest claims by formula manufacturers are affronts to Catholic values.
  • Superheroes attract us. From Greek gods to Superman and Spiderman, our fascination with the awesome deeds of superheroes beckons us to become Masters of our own destiny.
  • During these slower summer months, I’m going to keep working on leaving the past behind me, not worrying about tomorrow, and putting my phone down (somewhere other than the freezer) so I’m free to love and be loved.
  • American society has suffered an exploration slump. The July 20 anniversary of the 1969 moon landing makes it painfully clear.
  • Maddie's cart
    We don’t know what kind of engine is in someone until we communicate. We don’t know what someone’s experience, pain, capacity for love or needs are until we have a friendly race.

  • The beginning and the end of a Monastery
    Situated deep in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, the Huntsville monastery was established in 1947. The monastery became a thriving community of 84 monks with a large farm supplying eggs, bread, grain and honey to neighbors, friends and visitors.  Then in September, after 70 years, that monastery closed.
  • Pope Francis has not only inherited, but continues to earn the title pontiff – “bridge-builder.
  • Yes, you, with 1,000 things to do and a racing mind that won't quit. Go to bed early. Sleep in a little later. Take a guilt-free nap. Summer is a season to slow down and let ourselves breathe again
  • This summer marks the 50th anniversary of "Humanae Vitae." The world has changed dramatically since Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical, mostly in ways he foretold.

  • In its June 26 decision on freedom of speech, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy aid centers to tell pregnant women how to get an abortion.

  • In the early months of his papacy, Pope Francis felt the urgent need to courageously preach on the actual existence of the devil, and the grave dangers of not taking his existence seriously (see: 1 Peter 5:8-9).

  • From the Archives

    Plans for a major international fund campaign to secure in excess of $1 million designed “to mount a determined effort to stem the world vocations crisis and the critical priest shortage” were announced this week by Serra International at the organiza­tion’s convention in Portland.

  • Discovering the soul of the delta
    This past February, I traveled to the spiritual and steady-paced American South for the first time. With eleven of my peers, I excitedly participated in St. Mary’s Academy’s Jonestown, Mississippi, Immersion Trip. During our time in Mississippi, my group engaged in the work of Jonestown community member, Holy Names Sister Kay Burton.
  • On Catholic citizenship
    While attending church and voting are great first steps, participation in the community, fueled by passion and interest, is what really makes us citizens.
  • Let’s focus on the fires
    The crisis on our borders — and European borders — isn’t going to end in the foreseeable future. It’s hard to imagine what draconian barrier could stop millions of people fleeing conditions so vile that they’re comparable to a house on fire.
  • Cherish monasteries
    At moments, I viewed the ruins as monastic murder victims. From York to Glastonbury, I asked myself, “What if these were still living, breathing monasteries?” How much prayer has gone unsaid? How much charity not rendered? How much hospitality not extended?
  • The bread becomes the body of Christ. The wine becomes the blood of Christ. To think and believe like a Catholic, one is called upon to make some extraordinary observations.

  • What are some leading causes of heartless conflicts in life?

  • The hope of immigrant Catholic families
    A most rewarding moment in my daily routine after a long workday or returning home from some travels is to sit with my wife for a while to watch our children play.
  • Evangelizing along the digital highways
    The power of digital networks cannot be underestimated in the lives of today's young people.
  • Being family is hard these days for many people. It isn't just the age-old tensions of kith and kin described in so many novels and plays. It is the modern pressures of distance, distraction and fragmentation.

  • Very reasonable people had rather intense disagreements about what they were hearing. (I heard "laurel" and my son heard "yanny." We simply had to agree to disagree.)

  • This summer marks the 50th anniversary of "Humanae Vitae." The world has changed dramatically since Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical, mostly in ways he foretold.
  • In some circles, however, this "comprehensive" effort to prevent suicide has a glaring loophole. People facing serious physical illness have been tagged by a well-funded advocacy campaign as needing suicide "assistance" rather than suicide prevention.

  • In his influential exposé Marijuana Debunked, Dr. Ed Gogek emphasizes how the idea of medical marijuana “didn’t come from doctors, or patient advocacy groups, or public health organizations, or the medical community. The ballot initiatives for medical marijuana laws were sponsored and promoted by pro-legalization groups.”
  •  Pope’s climate warning to oil-gas executives: ‘There is no time to lose’
    Challenging world oil executives to recognize the urgent environmental need to quickly transition from fossil fuel extraction and burning, to clean energy production, Pope Francis called them to take to heart that “Civilization requires energy, but energy must not destroy civilization.”

  • Pro-life at all times
    Many Catholics are brought up in pro-life homes, attending marches and rallies as children and teenagers. But we shouldn’t forget how dangerously simple it is to wander from a pro-life opinion to a pro-choice one
  • No more dividing
    Recent enforcement of federal immigration policy eviscerates Catholic values. On our borders, federal officers tear couples apart and, unimaginably, drag children from their parents.