Author: Jana Bennett

Truth in Resurrection

Sometimes I think Catholic moral theology doesn’t deal enough – or seriously enough – in doubts. Maybe that’s for systematic theologians – but our arguments in this field are supposed to be more certain. This isn’t just about what is lawful, which is part of our field’s history and discourse. It is also that we promote definite paths of action and specific ways of seeking or imagining justice. This reflection on the Easter readings – done in combination with our ecumenical friends at the Ekklesia Project – speaks both to doubt and to living as Christian witnesses in spite...

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The Wrong Sort of Charity?

Giving to the poor is a Christian standard – something most Christians wouldn’t dispute, though they might argue about who counts as “the real poor” and what the best way to give to the poor is. One of our Western standbys has been to send boxes of toys and food to places around the world – especially at Christmas time. The boxes and stocking stuffers we gave out might just now be making their way to communities. But those boxes don’t have the effect we might hope for. The food, toys and clothes end up being useless, or preventing...

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Third Sunday of Lent: Desert Transformations

EX 17:3-7 PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 ROM 5:1-2, 5-8 JN 4:5-42   Long-time readers know of my love of the desert and how much impact it’s had on my spiritual life. Yet deserts can also be places of intense illusions and lies – something worth thinking about as we walk through our own deserts this Lent. See my reflection this week at the Ekklesia Project...

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Giving up giving up? Lent, Our Contemporary Wastelands, and Truth

“I don’t think I’ll be doing anything for Lent this year,” a close friend of mine says. I know, all too well, the temptation. I am thinking this too –  that I will maybe not do anything this year. Lent, with its fasts and abstinence, its giving up good things (like chocolate and wine) and taking on more good things to do (like prayer and community service), seems too difficult this year. There are the personal reasons – the long-term illness that a family member has, which already requires a strict diet, the extra tasks that are taken on...

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What does “religious freedom” mean without also having freedom of speech, and freedom of the press?

Yesterday, bishops released a letter urging President Trump to “implement strong protections” for religious liberty. I share some of their concerns. I worry that in a country that has a tradition of valuing freedom of religion, that protection has been diminished by governmental definitions of “religion” that over-associate religion with houses of worship, and one-hour-on-Sunday kinds of moments. I don’t think religion can or should be constrained by what a secular government reflexively assumes religion is. (In a similar vein, I think that the practice of scientific research should not be overly constrained by what government officials reflexively but with...

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