God has a message, via miracle, for traditionalist (& all!) Catholics this weekend

pope, san gennaro 2So the blood of San Gennaro (or Saint Januarius, as he is often called in the English-speaking world) liquefied yesterday in the presence of Pope Francis, during his visit to Naples. I have to admit, I’m a bit of an enthusiast for the annual San Gennaro miracle. I check every September 19 for the news that the miracle has happened again, and then typically point it out to my family, our RCIA people, etc. (Though I guess if I were more of an enthusiast, I’d have been aware that it also happens on two other dates annually, as the article linked to above points out.)

Such a miracle is something that more traditionally-minded folks (rightly) dig. It’s all about saints and relics and miracles and yeah, surely a bit of Catholic triumphalism, the stuff that more progressive Catholics often turn up their noses at, right? And now, this time, throw in the very presence of the Holy Father as the instigating event of the miracle, and wow, what a Catholic package.

So my fun little theory this morning is this: By this remarkable miracle, the Lord is telling our traditionalist brothers and sisters to lay off His Pope and get with the (very orthodox, very Catholic, and very challenging) program that he is laying out for us these past two years. Enough, says the Lord, with the silly “Can a Pope Be a Heretic?” stuff, the stupid “dark and false church” stuff. The question is: is our Catholic faith strong enough, are we bold enough, to allow him to form us into a better, stronger, more truly Catholic Church?

Questioning the status quo on the economics of family life

Our Sunday Visitor has posted a new column I wrote for its Daily Take blog, on the economics of raising a family today. In the piece, I question the choice that most young families are forced to make in a society structured to accommodate a two-working-parent home: we must either choose to have both parents work — in which case the family suffers in a variety of ways associated with regular childcare outside the home — or one parent stays home, in which case the family suffers in a whole other set of ways. My main point is that lay Catholics — who belong to a Church whose social teaching insists on the centrality of family life, not only for the well-being of each family and the individuals who make it up, but for the good health of society — should push harder for a conversation about better solutions. I’m well aware, by the way, that my piece does not even mention single-parent families, which are of course quite common today. I had a hard time sticking to the word count I was given for this column even without getting into that aspect of the question. But the fact is, the fact of single-parent families only makes my point stronger and more urgent. Read the whole post here.

New in OSV: on Romero, Grande, the man behind the best Romero blog, and more

Just in time for yesterday’s announcement of a date — May 23, 2015 — having been set for the beatification of Oscar Romero, not to mention the upcoming — March 24 — 35th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom and today’s 38th anniversary of the martyrdom of his friend Fr. Rutilio Grande, OSV Newsweekly has published a series of articles I’ve written exploring the whole matter.

Right here you will find my lengthy article, “The Martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero,” that offers an overview of Romero’s life, conversion, ministry, and death. At the same link is a sidebar article, “Who was Rutilio Grande?”, offering a brief portrait of the man without whom there would likely be no Blessed Oscar. Also at that same link, toward the bottom of the page, are a couple of other shorter articles, one on the factors that have made the Romero beatification such a controversial question, the other on the disturbing but important social and political context in which Romero worked and was killed.

Finally, there’s still another new article here — an interview with Carlos Colorado, the man behind the previously obscure blog that has been getting a lot of attention lately: Super Martyrio, on all things Romero.

All together, perhaps a good way to prepare for the upcoming beatification. Check ’em out!