Author: David Cloutier

Trinity Sunday: God is THIS love

Readings: Dt 4:32-34, 39-40; Ps 33; Rm 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20 Who is God? We think we know, but often enough we are stuck with images that fall short. The readings on Trinity Sunday help us understand the fundamental nature of Scripture itself – not simply wise words about how to live, but the self-disclosure of God seeking relationship with us. Who is this God? The first reading makes it clear that God is the God of Israel, the mighty Deliverer from bondage. It is this God Israel hears, and the psalmist then echoes this awe and wonder by shouting...

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Evasive news

A few weeks ago, the New York Times had a cover feature in its Sunday magazine, headlines, “Can Dirt Save the Earth?” The article examined agricultural practices that are less carbon-intensive, suggesting that “agriculture could pull carbon out of the air and into the soil.” I am a huge and vocal fan of alternative agriculture in all its forms. But the headline is misleading. The content of the article answers the question pretty decisively: the answer is, no, dirt cannot save the earth! In response to a breathless initiative by France to “completely halt the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide” in this way, the essay says: Few experts I spoke to think the impact would be quite that grand; Pete Smith, for example, estimates that soil could, at the most, store just 13 percent of annual carbon-dioxide emissions at current levels. “I appreciate that everyone wants to save the planet,” he told me, “but we shouldn’t fool ourselves that this is all we need to do.” Thus, even if (as the article indicates) we imagined a total and complete change in our agricultural system, one which has some unknown costs as well, we do not make much progress. So the question is why the New York Times decided nevertheless to provide an extensive article discussing this issue as so revolutionary. What makes this approach attractive? The answer has to...

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The Children of God: The Catholic Response to Gun Violence

The following is a guest post from Andrew Kuzma, who has his Ph.D. in moral theology from Marquette University, and currently teaches morality at a Catholic high school in Milwaukee. Why are we not doing more to reduce gun violence? It’s a question that I have been asking myself lately, as a Catholic and as a moral theologian, but especially as a Catholic high school teacher. In that realm, talking about gun violence is taboo because it commits the unpardonable offense of being “political.” My school, I would wager, is not unique in this regard. Nor is it all...

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Gaudete et exultate: A first (pre-emptive) take

Pope Francis today issued an apostolic exhortation on the universal call to holiness. While it reiterates certain themes that have been seen in prior documents, it is a powerful call. If we don’t distort it. First, the facts. The document has five chapters. The first reiterates and humanizing Vatican II’s insistence that all Christians are called to “something higher”  – to holiness. The second identifies “two subtle errors” in some detail: a contemporary Gnosticism and a contemporary Pelagianism. These two errors were first pointed out in Evangelii Gaudium, and were also the subject of a recent CDF document. The...

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A March for Peaceableness

I think, in my 13 years of primary and secondary education, I never once even imagined being threatened by a school shooter. It wasn’t that Chicago was some kind of nonviolent place during my childhood years of the 1980’s (quite the opposite), or even that my schools (or at least my K-8 school) were particularly sheltered. It just wasn’t something you imagined happening. Indeed, there WERE images of real violence in schools at the time – but these were associated with inner-city Chicago schools, and everyone acknowledged the same thing: what was happening there was not normal. A common...

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