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A Closer Look

Twentieth Century theologian John Courtney Murray, S.J., remains the most important interpreter of the American Catholic experience of citizenship and religious liberty. Featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1960, Father Murray was a chief architect of Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Liberty. In his seminal book, We Hold

Because of well-publicized, persistent instances of racial discrimination, the summer of 2020 has seen a rise in race-consciousness across the political, ideological and religious spectrum. And it is correct to note that racism in American society is, in some sense, systemic. Despite authentic legal, political and social progress, racism can

Social distancing in my family, with six children at home, has been less about loneliness and more about trying to find a place in the house to be alone. While, of course, there are challenges, my days of “isolation” have been filled with all sorts of interactions (and distractions) with

For many Catholics, the most difficult and distressing effect of social distancing has been the suspension of Masses and other public liturgies. Prior to March 2020, many of us cannot remember the last time we missed Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation. The Church’s liturgies are where

It is impossible to divorce religious faith (or lack thereof) from political commitments. While legislators and judges might try to keep religious and political institutions distinct from one another—to build Thomas Jefferson’s famous “wall of separation between Church and State”—belief (or unbelief) is a necessary factor in the way all

As most Catholics are well aware, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. And, of course, almost everyone associates Lent with giving something up, even if they do not understand the penitential importance of the season. “I gave that up for Lent” is a common refrain,

Your students give me great hope for the future of the Church within our archdiocese,” a friend recently texted me, referring to the seminarians I teach at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. She said this in the context of a recent public liturgy that had no official affiliation with the seminary,

Among the decisions that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) made at its annual meeting last November, two stand out as especially important. First, the bishops elected Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez – an immigrant to the U.S. – as the USCCB’s first Hispanic president. Second, the bishops

Often, when theologians engage in their craft, they will deliberately adopt a general interpretive lens through which to examine specific topics. This lens is called a “hermeneutic” and the resolution of certain questions might vary according to the hermeneutic chosen. For example, for questions of moral theology a “hermeneutic of

Each October, beginning on the first Sunday, the Church in the U.S. observes Respect Life Month. While, of course, we should embrace and applaud this celebration, I wonder how helpful abstract concepts like “respecting life” are in helping us to stand as witnesses against an encroaching culture of death. In