Author: Beth Haile

You Should Read This: This Is How It Always Is

I am a huge fan of reading fiction, not only for the pleasure factor, which is high for me, but also because of the way fiction has formed and continues to form my moral imagination. Through the encounter with characters and their stories, my heart is stretched and I feel I often walk away from a great book with a profound experiential knowledge—a connatural knowledge—of moral and theological truths, a knowledge that is emotional but something more significant than a mere feeling. I had this experience recently with Laurie Frankel’s This is How it Always Is. This is the...

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The Price of Mercy

Mark Singel, who served as lieutenant governor and, temporarily, acting governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995 has a deeply moving and deeply unsettling piece in America Magazine this month. He reflects on his recommendation to pardon Reginald McFadden, who was serving a life sentence for murder, and who then was re-arrested for rape of one woman and the murder of another. Singel writes I have had 25 years to reflect on my decision to recommend clemency for Reginald McFadden. Given the ease with which political opponents can twist compassion into weakness, providing second chances to known criminals is...

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Bishop Seitz calls for a Solidarity based on Encuentro

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso has a new pastoral letter, released Tuesday, encouraging the faithful to go beyond politics in the immigration debate, to actually encounter the immigrants around them, to hear their stories and to view them as humans and not as a mere political debate. The document, entitled Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away, ocuses in a large part on the “power of ‘encuentro’”. “While the teaching of the Church on migration is rich and persuasive, sometimes nothing can substitute for personal experience.” He goes on to describe his own encounters with migrants, arguing that for us,...

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Families, Ideal and Experienced

This is a guest post by Jacob M. Kohlhaas, Assistant Professor of Theology at Loras College in Dubuque Iowa. “Let us cross the threshold of this tranquil home, with its family sitting around the festive table. At the centre we see the father and mother, a couple with their personal story of love.” Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia While its opening lines invoke the image of a blissful traditional family, Amoris Laetitia is largely concerned with encouraging families who, for various reasons, fall short of this ideal. To address families in ‘irregular situations,’ as the document terms them, Pope Francis...

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Corpus Christi: Finding Unity in Division

Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. Catholics make a big deal about the Eucharist. We hold by faith that Christ is corporally present in some mysterious way, that what we eat is not substantially bread and what we drink is not substantially wine, but rather, the real and actual body and blood of Jesus. But we also believe that in doing so, we are incorporated corporally into intimate unity with that same Christ Jesus. And we also believe that in our incorporation into Christ’s...

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