Author: Jana Bennett

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Trouble with Generosity and Fairness

IS 55:6-9 PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18 PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A MT 20:1-16A My children and students are fond of telling me how life just isn’t fair.  If I inadvertently seem to give a larger scoop of ice cream to one, the others will wail. If my students perceive that one of their peers won an award or a scholarship that “I should have received (after all, I worked just as hard)” they might be envious or angry that they lost out. The question of fairness is a real sticking point for all of us, especially in a society where we’ve built laws and professional codes of conduct around the concept of fairness.  When we say fair, we often mean “equal.” “Equal pay for equal work” is a fair treatment of our work – especially when considering disparities in pay among genders. In a hospital, a checklist of standards ensures that patients have been treated equally – that is, fairly – by all. And if someone fell short in treatment of others, then the code of conduct enables fair retribution. When disasters happen, when someone treats another person wrongly and unjustly (as they do), fairness enters in as the concept that helps toward a good resolution of the problem, especially by paying careful attention to the rules and codes at hand. For the record, I am in favor of a good...

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Catholic and Single

Some of our readers know I’ve been working recently on the topic of singleness – yes, even as a married Catholic lay woman. My new book is Singleness and the Church: A New Theology of Single Life. Singleness, for me, doesn’t primarily mean religious vocations – though that’s usually what Catholic audiences hear when I tell them about my topic. Singleness is partly religious vocation (which I specifically discuss in terms of vowed religious life), but my book is mostly about all the other ways Catholics are single these days: divorced, widowed, cohabitating, engaged, single parent, and so forth....

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3 Moral Takeaways from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program

This week, I’m headed down the road to Columbus to begin formation for Level III (ages 9-12) of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). For those who don’t know, CGS is a Montessori-based catechetical model steeped in scripture and liturgy. One of its founders, Sophia Cavalletti was herself a scripture scholar in Rome when she began the program in 1953.  She joined with Montessori teacher Gianna Gobbi, among others, to observe children in their encounters with God. Together, they found just those essential things that spoke developmentally to children – things like God is light and how small mustard...

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Waiting in Urgent Times

IS 55:10-11 PS 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14 ROM 8:18-23 MT 13:1-23 So this week, the third largest iceberg broke off in Antarctica, our president’s son demonstrates the problems of nepotism in a spectacularly bad way, and both health insurers and patients worry about how to get good health care in today’s America. Among other things. There’s usually some crisis looming in every news cycle – these days, there’s no shortage of trouble. Paul’s words in this week’s Letter to the Romans might seem tailored made for us and our times: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are...

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Welcome to Corrymeela, Ireland: Reflections on American Catholicism and Reconciliation

For the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting Ireland – south and north – with some students from the University of Dayton. I’ve been learning a lot about Irish history and culture. One of the amazing places we visited is Corrymeela, an ecumenical space for peace and reconciliation.  While there, the students and faculty learned about specific ways Corrymeela brought together people across deep and violent divisions in the Troubles of the late 20th century. We learned about ways Corrymeela continues to advocate for peace in Ireland, as well as among American gang members, in other places in the...

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