Author: Jana Bennett

Moral Theology is all about the Name: January 1st, the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

NM 6:22-27 PS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8 GAL 4:4-7 LK 2:16-21 One of the themes emerging from this week’s readings is names, and the task of naming. In the gospel, Jesus is officially given his name at his circumcision. The first reading commands us to invoke God’s own name and receive God’s many blessings. The epistle reading names us as children and heirs of God rather than “slaves.” And we celebrate a particular name that Christians give to Mary – Mother of God. Of course, we know names matter a great deal. Parents agonize over what to name their...

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Post-Election Subsidiarity (Or, Please Stop Lecturing at Me, I’m From Ohio)

Dang, I’m tired of being from Ohio – not least of which is because despite Ohio’s apparent importance when it comes to national elections, no one’s willing to pay as close attention once the voting is done. That’s a problem for nation and church both. And it’s not just voices in Ohio I’m concerned about, but all the local places that once again getting largely ignored now that a national election is done with. One of the difficulties with the American presidential political structure – which has filled airways for both Left and Right – is its electoral college system. We have a representative democracy rather than a democracy in which the popular vote decides a national election for president. Despite knowing that we have an electoral college process, it is a national election – so national politics get treated in a big picture kind of way. Lots of people – especially from large news organizations in large urban global cities, have provided a steady stream of commentary. The result is that post-election, I’ve felt quite a bit lectured at, and not at all heard – especially in my context here in Dayton, Ohio. The frenzy of “listening” to people from a few select states prior to the election has ended. I don’t think that’s a good practice – but I DO think we ought to keep listening… and...

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First Sunday of Advent: New Visions for Ordinary Times

Isaiah 2:1-5 Psalm 122:1-2, 3-,4-5,6-7,8-9 Romans 13:11-14 Matthew 24:37-44 A lot of the scholarly scripture commentary on today’s reading from Isaiah focuses on a question Christians have been debating for a long while: is the life to which God calls us realistic? Or is it an idealistic picture that is meant to give us small comfort, but clearly not meant for us in any real kind of way today? I’ve written this week’s lectionary post for The Ekklesia Project’s bLOGOS site as well. You can see the rest of the post over there… (The Ekklesia Project is a gathering...

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Five Things Catholics Should Learn from This Presidential Election Season (2016 Version)

In 2012, I suggested a list of five things Catholics should learn from this election season (see it here) – given the weirdness and uniqueness of the current election season, I’m offering my new, revised list: 1.Don’t underestimate the power of evil. This was number five on my 2012 list. It probably should have been #1 then, too, but it’s gotten to a whole new level this year. I cannot quite grasp how people think it’s okay to be mean to each other (“deplorables” and “nasty woman” and pussies and all the rest of it). I want to know...

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