Author: Julie Rubio

Should Catholic Institutions Host Auctions?

It is that time of year.  My husband and I have been invited to attend the annual auction for our sons’ school.  Tickets to the gala evening, which includes dinner and dancing in addition to bidding, are $300 per couple. In advance of the auction, we are invited to contribute to baskets sponsored by each son’s class; one class’ theme is golf, the other is Mexican. For one son’s sports’ team, we have been invited to a gift gathering party. The invite reminds us that our team traditionally offers the auction’s largest gift. At the auction itself, we would have the opportunity to bid on a range of items, including weeks at vacation homes, restaurant dinners, antiques, tickets to sporting events, prime spots in the school parking lot, or perhaps the opportunity for our child to be principal for the day.  The auctioneer would encourage us to open our pockets for the kids, hoping that as the evening goes on attendees will, perhaps, give more than they intended to give when they arrived. My husband and I can’t afford the tickets to this event or the items offered for sale.  We could, however, volunteer to work at the auction, setting up, serving food, or cleaning up. But we choose to make a small contribution to the school and skip the the biggest social event of the year. Like so...

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Catechism Commentary: The Ninth Commandment

Catechism Commentary: The Ninth Commandment Julie Hanlon Rubio, St. Louis University The ninth commandment seems redundant, sexist, trivial, and maybe even impossible. Why, “Do not covet your neighbor’s wife,” when we already have the sixth commandment, “Do not commit adultery”? Why do women appear in the same list with animals and houses? What is so bad about desire? Can a person really control his or her thoughts? The Catechism interprets the ninth commandment as forbidding “concupiscence” and requiring the disciplining of sexual desires that can lead to sin (#2515).  It urges Christians to cultivate “purity of heart” (#2517).  To be pure of heart is to treat all others as neighbors with love and respect (#2519).  The quest for purity is described as a “battle” that can only be won with great effort. An emphasis on the heart is present both in the commandment and the Catechism.  The ninth commandment differs from the sixth because it treats desire as a part of the moral life, indicating that both emotion and action are important.  Interestingly, the Hebrew word translated as “covet” can mean greed (especially when used in relation to possessions) or craving (in relation to sex), but there is overlap between the two. The desire for more and better things is not unrelated to the desire for more and “better” partners.  A consumer society encourages both kinds of coveting and...

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Remembering Dean Brackley, S.J.

Dean Brackley, the Jesuit priest from New York who spent many of his later years at the UCA in El Salvador, died last week at the age of 65. When I heard the news,  I was traveling with Call to Discernment in Troubled Times in my bag, along with the text of my talk, which owed a great deal to Brackley.  I had begun my Christian Ethics class with his essay, “The Jesuit University in a Broken World.” Like so many others, I was saddened to learn that pancreatic cancer had caused the death of this modern prophet. In Call to Discernment, Brackley famously described the sickness those he called his “middle class tribe.”  With great love and perceptiveness, he acknowledged the achievements of middle class societies before cautioning us: “Yet we too pay a high price for our freedoms and economic security. While they allow us to pursue our personal life projects, they generate a spirit of go-it-alone individualism. They separate us from each other. More serious still, they distance us from the poor and their daily struggle for life. The vast majority of human beings who have ever lived had to battle every day to keep the household alive against the threats of hunger, disease, accidents, and violence.  By removing us from the daily threats of death, the benefits of modernity induce in us a chronic low-grade...

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