Author: Beth Haile

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Times

WIS 6:12-16 PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 1 THES 4:13-18 MT 25:1-13 It is hard to read the Gospel words, “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” without thinking of my own vigil as I prepare for Baby #4 to make his or her way into the world sometime this month. In fact, the midwife at my last appointment said as much. “It could be soon,” she said with a shrug, “or it could be weeks. Just be ready.” Our Gospel tells us to be ready for the second coming of Jesus through the parable...

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Challenging a Culture of Thinness

Wow! You look so skinny! Let’s be clear. I do not look skinny. I am in the third trimester of my fourth pregnancy (in five years, nonetheless). My body, which is healthy and strong, has shown the marks of pregnancy a little more markedly with each subsequent baby. I look pregnant. My friend was trying to tell me, I think, that I looked beautiful. But I bristled at how she chose to do this, by emphasizing my skinniness. In doing so, she was inadvertently buying into cultural assumptions that equate beauty with thinness. These are dangerous assumptions for women,...

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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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