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If that gives you offence, I'm sorry. You are probably not stupid, insane or wicked; and ignorance is no crime in a country with strong local traditions of interference in the freedom of biology educators to teach the central theorem of their subject. Yet scientists are required to back up their claims not with private feelings but with publicly checkable evidence.

Their experiments must have rigorous controls to eliminate spurious effects. And statistical analysis eliminates the suspicion or at least measures the likelihood that the apparent effect might have happened by chance alone. Paranormal phenomena have a habit of going away whenever they are tested under rigorous conditions. Why don't the television editors insist on some equivalently rigorous test? Could it be that they believe the alleged paranormal powers would evaporate and bang go the ratings? If a paranormalist could really give an unequivocal demonstration of telepathy precognition, psychokinesis, reincarnation, whatever it is , he would be the discoverer of a totally new principle unknown to physical science.

The discoverer of the new energy field that links mind to mind in telepathy, or of the new fundamental force that moves objects around a table top, deserves a Nobel prize and would probably get one. If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can't do it. You are a fake. Yet the final indictment against the television decision-makers is more profound and more serious. Their recent splurge of paranormalism debauches true science and undermines the efforts of their own excellent science departments.

The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudo-scientific charlatans. The public appetite for wonder can be fed, through the powerful medium of television, without compromising the principles of honesty and reason. They married in My family history dovetails with the current story of many unaccompanied minors fleeing Central American violence today.

The stories my grandparents told me are true treasures which are not only dear to my heart but have impacted my life as a daughter of St. Not unlike immigrants today, they told of the struggles they faced from the beginning. For example, they were unable to pursue formal education but immediately entered the work force. They suffered the discrimination experienced by Italian immigrants. My grandparents were blessed with 12 children. Two died when they were infants but the others lived and became wonderful parents and good citizens of the United States. Food, good wine, laughter and great conversations took place.

Love was in abundance and we all looked out for each other. I was moved by their compassion and love for those living in poverty and I desired to be part of the wonderful work they did. I always had a love for new immigrants as I remembered where I came from and what I needed to do for new comers in a strange land. It was a gift sent from heaven when I was asked by my religious community in to begin a mission on the lower east side of Manhattan among the immigrants, Cabrini Immigrant Services. My heart leapt with joy and I enthusiastically embraced the work that God asked of us among the Chinese and Latino immigrants.

These ten years of ministry were some of the happiest years of my life. The story of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, our congregation, and my family run parallel to Catholic Charities outreach to immigrants and refugees. Mother Cabrini, patroness of immigrants, smiles from heaven upon each and every client, staff, volunteer, and donor who contributes to the betterment of life for immigrants and refugees in the United States. Here is what Tony blogged www. This evening in Minneapolis was probably the best evening I have had so far on my tour.

So the church was overflowing, and the basement hall was also used to fit the crowd — with a speaker installed. So the crowd must have numbered at least four hundred, some having come long distances. For me it had the feel of a good novena back home, with the same atmosphere, sense of community and excitement. There is a real problem here with the Archbishop.

People feel angry and hurt with the way he is behaving, and that came through in the discussion. The question was being asked: They love the pastor, Mike Tegeder, and the warmth towards him from the people was palpable. After a while, off to the side, a door opened and although I could not see I could hear that a male voice was saying goodbye to someone and possibly slapping their back or hugging with mutual words of thanks. Then a burly man walked into view dressed in a flannel shirt not tucked into his jeans who marched confidently to the exit. Once there he opened the large double doors, stood on the chancery steps and pumped his arms over his head in the Rocky pose and made 3 or 4 loud whoops.

It was so remarkable that one of the female chancery staff came into the foyer from her inner office to see what the commotion was. She said she was concerned that the receptionist might be in trouble. It appears that the archbishop made someone's day A sexual abuse victim? I was then called in, with me thinking, go ahead, make my day too. As it turned out with Tony Flannery blessing Cabrini with his presence, the Archbishop made my year.

St. Frances Cabrini Church | pastor's comments

The story has gone out nationwide. Here is an email from an evangelical pastor: I have read about your recent fireworks I am also fighting for inclusion in my congregation from within an ecclesial tent that is having a fitful conversation It spoke volumes about people committed to make things better. But such was not the case for our country on Tuesday. The president, ever gracious, made a conciliatory outreach to his opponents after Tuesday's election noting that " So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you.

To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too. Two-thirds of those eligible to vote did not show up. What was Woody Allen's line? Tony sent a thank you email to the parish for the great hospitality. He added, "I got an email from someone who told me the traffic and parking was chaotic outside the church last night, and that a lot more people just could not get to the place!!!

It was a great night. I wish I had thought of valet parking. I invite you to the 7 pm gathering with Tony. You might want to google his name to read about his faith journey. Also, as we will have visitors, could Cabriniites please park in the overflow parking lot on Franklin. At the meeting the Archbishop requested that we change Tony's venue to a non-Catholic location. It was amazing that in the week when Minnesota Public Radio had two stories on the Archbishop's own doubtful statements in his deposition about sexual abuse, he is now trying to prevent adult Catholics from openly discussing the need for reform in our church.

The interesting thing was that with the marriage amendment two years ago he ordered me to stop publicly opposing it or he would take away my faculties to function as a priest and remove me from the parish, and in the past when I invited speakers co-sponsored by CTA-MN Call to Action Minnesota or CCCR Catholics Concerned for Church Reform , I was told not to have any association with them or, again, be removed from ministry.

But today he only asked that I change the venue of the talk. I guess it is kosher to associate with Flannery, just not on Archdiocesan property. He wanted the change of venue so as "not to cause scandal" but he was not able to explain the scandal of adult Catholics having a discussion about needed church reform. Indeed, I pointed out that the very issues Flannery raises are those discussed by the bishops and Cardinals at the Synod on the Family last week: He also said some things that revealed much confusion, such as saying Father Tony Flannery was not a Catholic. I pointed out that he is a Catholic in good standing; indeed he has been and remains a member of the Redemptorist religious order for over 40 years.

To say he is not Catholic is to suggest he has been excommunicated which is not the case and in fact is a defamatory statement. Such ignorance saddened me. I invited the Archbishop to attend the meeting next Wednesday at Cabrini and said that we would welcome his participation. We ended our meeting with the Archbishop asking me to pray about this, which I gladly agreed to do as I will also pray for the Archbishop.

Francis had the wonderful statement that he wanted a mess in our dioceses. Our ever out-front Archbishop apparently anticipated this desire. A week ago he spoke to about priests and deacons about his new position while on a panel with Archbishop Nienstedt. Speaking of divisions among our clergy regarding the sexual abuse crisis, Tim also quoted Pope Francis's speech at the closing of the Synod on the Family, pointedly noting that the context was the discussion of gays in the church: He is speaking with Catholic laity on topics of women in the Church, the future of ministry, the problem with infallibility, and the sexual teachings of the Catholic Church.

The title of his presentation is "The People of Conscience: Reforming the Catholic Church Today. Once Benedict became pope, Tony was ordered to remain silent and forbidden to minister as a priest because of his refusal to sign a document that violates his conscience: Amazingly, the very issues he was condemned for expressing a few years ago were those raised by prelates at the recent Synod of Bishops on the Family. That is some vindication. And it has to be noted that the code of conduct that Archbishop Nienstedt is promoting as his response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis which he has so mishandled gives him the same control to silence and fire Catholic school and church employees without any due process.

Tony will speak here at Cabrini at 7 pm, Wednesday, November 5, the day after the election. Cabrini is the only Catholic setting on his tour itinerary. Come and support Tony, come and support Cabrini, come and support Catholic lay employees, come and support conscience, come and support catholic conversation. A quote from Pope Francis: Celibacy is not a question of dogma, but rather a rule of life that I greatly appreciate, as I believe it is a gift for the Church.

But, since it is not a dogma of faith, the door is always open. Commonweal began 90 years ago and NCR began 50 years ago. I became familiar with them almost 50 years ago when I began St. John's University in and have religiously read them ever since. They are now firmly in the internet age with great online editions and archives.

I consider them to be engaged in real ministry and they keep the discussion going. Their progressive Catholicism is now receiving some well-deserved affirmation under Pope Francis and the new encouragement of open discussion in our church. They both had great reporting from the recent Synod in Rome. These are great publications to read and to support. Paul of Attorney Jeff Anderson and leaders of the Archdiocese in agreeing to a comprehensive settlement of past sexual abuse claims. But significantly missing from the meeting was our Archbishop.

He went on to say, "These are extraordinary times. These are trying times. As you consider the Archbishop's message, please keep in mind the magnitude of the overall progress being made in light of the challenges we are facing together. Right now, there are unprecedented opportunities for us and those we serve to move forward to much better days. O'Malley and his willingness to be part of the solution. I replied to him: He is personally responsible for much of the recent crisis. The 'unprecedented opportunity' we now have is for the Archbishop to graciously step down.

Then healing can begin. Professor Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College says that the Vatican is "creating a church that's much more focused on inclusion and healing than it is on judgment and exclusion. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. I think that the bishops' real concern is maintaining the credibility of their own authority. For years the American bishops, with a few exceptions, have followed a hard line in regards to divorced Catholics.

To change course now would show their own lack of pastoral concern and their blind obedience to the heavy- handed treatment of the divorced by the ante-Francis Vatican. It is now hard to say we were wrong. Pat had been out of the Archdiocese for some years and on his return this summer was surprised at the level of distrust and anger many Catholics had over the archbishop.

The letter was respectful but strong in stating that the archbishop needs to be reassigned. St Olaf is a downtown parish and has an active media ministry including Mass on local cable stations. And for years they have had a weekly Sunday Mass on the radio. In recent years it has been on a station run by the Relevant Radio network. Instead, the Mass will come from the Cathedral. The reason for the change was a desire to have their listeners "be more prayerfully united to the Ordinary the Archbishop of the Archdiocese. It morality all collapsed when Catholics started to use the pill. Most significant is the change of tone.

Seventy synod bishops spoke in the first 24 hours, raising many issues including the need for the church to change its language and to show greater respect for people than is presently the case. The English language spokesperson, Canadian Father Thomas Rosica, told reporters that a number called on the church to stop using such expressions as "living in sin" when referring to couples who are in what it considers 'irregular unions,' and to avoid the expression "intrinsically disordered" when referring to homosexuality, and not to say people have "a contraceptive mentality.

Needless to say, the main manifestation of this off-putting language is the "culture of death" phrase so beloved by JP II and which is routinely parroted by the so-called JP II bishops. She called the reduction 'the most important number' to measure the law's success. This can only be applauded. Hopefully the Catholic bishops will now get on board and stop their obstructiveness and show that they too care.

And let's not forget the dire warnings that, regarding health care itself, the bill would lead to rationing of services, socialized medicine and death panels. The widely predicted disaster simply did not happen. Francis of Assisi whose feast day is October 4.

He was a church reformer, beginning his ministry with the voice of Jesus telling him, "Francis, go rebuild my Church, which you see is falling into ruins. So far he has not disappointed. But another strong message from St. Francis was his love for all of God's creation. Our church needs this witness just as much. Indeed, just this past week a new study conducted by scientists of the World Wildlife Foundation, the Zoological Society of London and other organizations reported that the earth has lost half its wildlife in the past four decades.

This is a serious moral issue and, sadly, few church leaders address it. Here too Pope Francis has given hope with statements such as this: Now Adkins's latest foray is against transgender youth. At a public hearing of the Minnesota State High School League concerning guidelines for participation of transgender athletes, Adkins, representing the Minnesota Catholic bishops, was one of the main opponents against a proposed policy of eligibility for such athletes.

Adkins actually was pictured in both the Minneapolis and St. Paul papers holding up a petition with 3, signatures against the policy. The photos look rather ridiculous and Adkins is apparently the face of the state Catholic Church. How much better if Adkins and the bishops would actually talk to such youth and their families before publicly opposing them so crassly.

Francis is leading us into more pacific waters. Nothing illustrates this more than two recent papal appointments. Cardinal Ray Burke, in the words of a conservative Vatican reporter, has been "decapitated. There is a photo of Ray in all his cardinal finery with helpful price tags attached to each liturgical accoutrement. The sum total is amazing; no, scandalous. He was one of the most rabid culture warriors and appeared quite foolish during the elections when as the Archbishop of St. Louis he forbade presidential candidate John Kerry from receiving the Eucharist.

Pope Benedict, of happy memory, kicked him upstairs to be the chief judge of the Vatican's supreme court. He was also on the Vatican congregation which usually chooses bishops. Francis has removed him from both offices in what the reporter calls the early years of his ecclesiastical career; he is "only" 66 only in the church is 66 the new And if to make the point more clear, Francis has made him the cardinal patron of the Knights of Malta, placing him in his proper century. Cupich simply is the anti-Burke.

Interestingly, Francis apparently did not consult the Vatican's congregation on bishops in making this appointment. Even though it is being done to make the Archbishop look better, I am not opposed to this. Indeed, I joined hundreds of mainly lay Archdiocesan employees the other day for a workshop to go over our programs to ensure safe environments for children. Conspicuously missing was the bishop himself. Part of the presentation was on the new Code of Conduct for church personnel, The presentation focused on proper behavior with children and some financial aspects of the code.

Included in the code is much detail about reporting requirements and due process regarding accusations. Left unspoken in the presentation was a very significant part of the code which concerns "church teaching" which is not obviously connected to preventing sexual or financial abuse: Church Personnel will not publicly communicate messages contrary to Church teaching And sure enough, the following day after the workshop the headlines are about Nienstedt summarily firing a "beloved" church employee who had recently married his longtime same sex partner.

And the employee was a church musician with no responsibility for teaching Catholic doctrine. Nienstedt used the code to terminate the employee, saying, "I can share that all church employees are bound by the Code of Conduct which states 'The public and private conduct of church employees can inspire and motivate people, but it can also scandalize and undermine their faith. Church employees must, at all times, recognize and accept the responsibilities that accompany their ministry. One of the commentators spoke of the problem of not getting ahead of the scandal, "just like the Catholic Church.

I occasionally take some flak, not that this necessarily means I am doing something right, but sometimes, as Jesus said to the young man who responded from his heart, I may not be too far from the reign of God. This came to mind with the following letter that I received from our local Ordinary: Francis [sic] Cabrini on the Feast of the Assumption with his son. He made the following observations: At one point the woman preacher said something to the effect that: He added, "Sadly these deviations were extremely distracting. Normally the moment before communion is a very peaceful time.

However, I felt that my rights as a Catholic as well as those of my son, were being violated. Given my state of mind, I refrained from receiving Our Lord. I received a blessing from the presiding priest who gave the following blessing: With every good wish, I remain Here is my response: However, I take full responsibility for it, something all church leaders should consider doing.

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Regarding the actual communication I would have to say that things must be pretty good in Texas if this poor soul was "extremely distracted" by the things that he relates. I would have referred this troubled Texan to the wise advice of Pope Francis who calls the church to stop obsessing about "small minded rules. What did Jesus say about the splinter in your brother's eye? He and you seem so concerned about his so called rights as a Catholic being violated. I am more concerned about children being violated under your watch. You still owe us an explanation for your decisions involving Wehmeyer.

As it turns out, the Sunday after I received this letter, the gospel reading was about handling differences in the church. Jesus says first of all go to the person and work it out. He says nothing about first reporting back to the local ordinary. If the man wants to discuss his issues please give him my address. I do have a concern over his state of mind as I do for yours. Indeed, I do not see how you can continue in your position.

It cannot be good for you. Even Cardinal Burke has apparently seen the light and is moving on. I will continue to pray for you. OK, its not going to be in contention for an Oscar. It is the story of an Irish priest. The scenery is spectacular, filmed on the rugged west coast of Ireland. There are real characters portrayed and some humor. But it is a bleak film about the state of the contemporary church after the revelations of priestly sexual abuse and the maltreatment of teenage unwed mothers in church institutions. The title says it all. And right at the crosshairs is Father James, a vanishing breed of pastoral priests.

As it turns out, he is a married priest. Well, his wife died and then he entered the seminary. But his marriage seems to be a very active presence in his life if in the background. James's adult daughter comes back for a needed visit and notes the absence of a photo of her mother in her father's bedroom. He simply answers that he needs no photo for his daily awareness of her presence. The movie also involves a murder but I was more interested in the Irish context of a receding church.

I then read the following column, "Getting real about vocations," by Father Brendan Hoban, an Irish priest heavily involved in church reform. This September 13 students entered Maynooth to study for the diocesan priesthood. Last year there were And for more than a decade the figure has hovered within that radius. In my first year in Maynooth there were 84 of us; and the year before there were over And around that time the yearly figure hovered between those two extremes. We know now that there's a huge crisis in vocations.

We know now what things will be like in the future. And, for some parishes, that future has already arrived: And when priests go on holidays or become suddenly ill, the emerging limited schedule of services is immediately cut-back, yet again. There's now no denying the problem. It's just a question of doing the maths. Arguably the biggest difficulty we have is denying the reality of what's happening.

This particular emperor is fully clothed, thank you very much. I wonder who's bringing him the wrong news? And for what purpose? The second difficulty is deciding on what to do with this train careering [sic] down the track that's going to devastate the Irish Catholic Church within the next two decades, wiping out parishes that have sustained themselves for centuries.

Plan A is praying for vocations and encouraging men, young and sometimes not so young, into a celibate priesthood. Plan B is doing the same.

pastor's comments 2014

And that therefore Plan B would follow the same trajectory. Alternatively we suggested that married men of proven worth viri probati could be ordained; that priests who had left the ministry to marry could be invited back; and that women could be ordained deacons. The bishops told us that our proposals were 'not feasible'. Part of the problem is that a number of myths have emerged in recent years to muddy the waters and to undermine the need to re-image Catholic priesthood in our changing times.

One is that there are plenty of male, celibate vocations out there if we could only find them. All we have to do is appoint a full-time vocations director, use social media, pray and spread the net and we'll catch them. The evidence is not supportive of this position. We've been trying to attract male celibate vocations for years, using every possible strategy under the sun and throwing money and resources at the problem and the numbers keep going down. Our hearts may want us to try again but our minds give us a different message.

Another myth is that seminaries in America are full. If anything the vocations crisis is even more serious there. Yes, there are a few full seminaries but those in them are drawn from across the States and come from a very traditional, conservative constituency in the Church. The wisdom of pointing to one 'success story' is that the context tells a different story Some religious commentators have been repeating ad nauseam that the answer to the vocations' crisis is to re-invent traditional seminaries, to turn the clock back to the s, to sponsor a more traditional Catholicism.

This is not so much a solution as part of the problem. This circling of the wagons and insecurely reverting to an enclosed, persecuted Church is at odds with the faith of the people and is a recipe for disaster. It's defeatism at its very worst. It's a recipe for withdrawal from the world — the opposite of the very spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Another myth is that the reason for the vocations crisis is that priests do not exhibit 'joy in their vocation'.

Joy is a difficult sweet to suck on because fundamentally it's communicated not by organising large groups and singing happy songs but by living an authentic life. People see through the happy-clappy joy, that mixture of naivety and piosity that has a hollow centre and crumbles under pressure. After what the Irish priesthood has endured for the last few decades this kind of 'joy' is whistling past the graveyard because it does not incorporate the reality of a lived life.

Vocations, based on a false joy, will perish on the vine. As we already know. Having said all that, it does seem as if at last the debate on the future of the Irish Catholic priesthood is taking off. Hopefully the debate will deal with the issues rather than end up lobbing grenades over a high wall. St Thomas Aquinas, for example, in his famous Summa, always started by presenting fairly and honestly the arguments of those who opposed him before he attempted to refute them — a long-admired Dominican tradition.

He has recently written a very powerful book, "A Question of Conscience," recounting his mistreatment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when it was led by Josef Ratzinger. It should be for real. This is the fourth time we have so "concelebrated. There are other ways that the sharing continues. This year, for example, two young people from Kateri will be participating in the Cabrini confirmation program.

And thank you to all who make this weekend happen. In a recent editorial in the St Paul Pioneer Press August 24 on the desperate situation of the remaining , or so Christians in Iraq, she blames President Obama for their plight. She even oddly implies that Pope Francis is more bellicose than the President in this matter of saving the Christian community. Nowhere does she acknowledge that before George W.

Bush invaded Iraq in , against the strong warnings of Pope John Paul II, the Christians numbered between one and a half and two million. What happened to those missing one million-plus souls? It wasn't the rapture. Apparently the investigation he secretly conducted against his own policy of public disclosure of such investigations into claims he had abused a number of young men has concluded and the report has been sent to the Apostolic Nuncio. He has refused to release the results to the public, again against the policy he has imposed on all other clerics so accused of sexual abuse.

And he still has not explained to us his handling of Conlin, Wenthe, Keating and Wehmeyer or his freezing the lay pension plan. It seems he just changes the subject in a very cynical way. For him the real problem is not following his rigid brand of Catholicism. His task force on the mishandling of the clerical sexual abuse cases has submitted its findings and its proposed policy changes. The Archbishop has followed up on this by having all clergy, personnel and selected volunteers have periodic background checks every 3 years, attend safe environment training every 3 years and sign his code of conduct.


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The need to strengthen our protections against sexual abuse is understandable and very necessary to win back trust lost by the failures not of those to be vetted under these strict policies but of our recent archbishops and their lieutenants. But his code of conduct goes well beyond protecting against sexual abuse. Indeed, perversely, Nienstedt uses this code of conduct as a cover to continue his intolerant crusade for ultraorthodoxy. As part of the code of conduct all clergy and church employees must sign, he adds to this needed reform the following statements: Chruch Personnel will not publicly communicate messages contrary to Church teaching Nienstedt, judge, jury and chief executioner.

Nienstedt's orthodoxy focus in his addressing clerical sexual abuse is bizarre and over the top. This preoccupation of Nienstedt's is just like his trying to find me disabled and taken out of ministry because of my objections to his mean-spirited marriage amendment politics, and yet it appears he finds it just fine to have Wehmeyer fully function as a pastor. As an indication of the conduct code's stupidity, as it reads it prevents parents who work for the Archdiocese and its institutions from driving alone with minors — which does not distinguish if the children are their own.

Again, as it reads it prevents minors from taking from the Eucharistic cup. But these just reveal the lack of consultation and the shoddiness of the process. What is of utmost concern is the violation of the rights of conscience. That is spiritual abuse and it too is deadly. And he expects us to sign our rights away. In , the bishops of the United States agreed to form a National Catholic War Council to direct and encourage Catholic efforts in America's response to the war.

As the war wound down, the War Council sought to offer the nation a plan, a blueprint, a program for postwar "social reconstruction. Ryan became the author of that plan. He was a professor of sociology at Catholic University and was a priest of our Archdiocese. He came from South St. Paul and attended St. Thomas College and the St. That meant that he now had a national forum for his ideas and even a small staff and budget to promote them. Ryan was a reformer. It included the following: Being very ecumenical, Ryan went on to work with Frances Perkins, Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor and the first woman to be a cabinet officer, to help institute programs such as Social Security.

He was known as the "Right Reverend New Dealer," one of the great "labor priests. The bishops can be taken to task for many reasons, but in the area of labor justice they are in continuity with Msgr. Labor Day gives us the chance to see how work in America matches up to the lofty ideals of our Catholic tradition. This year, some Americans who have found stability and security are breathing a sigh of relief. Sporadic economic growth, a falling unemployment rate, and more consistent job creation suggest that the country may finally be healing economically after years of suffering and pain.

For those men and women, and their children, this is good news. Digging a little deeper, however, reveals enduring hardship for millions of workers and their families. The poverty rate remains high, as 46 million Americans struggle to make ends meet. The economy continues to fail in producing enough decent jobs for everyone who is able to work, despite the increasing numbers of retiring baby boomers.

There are twice as many unemployed job seekers as there are available jobs, and that does not include the seven million part-time workers who want to work full-time. Millions more, especially the long-term unemployed, are discouraged and dejected. More concerning is that our young adults have borne the brunt of this crisis of unemployment and underemployment. The unemployment rate for young adults in America, at over 13 percent, is more than double the national average 6. For those fortunate enough to have jobs, many pay poorly. Greater numbers of debt-strapped college graduates move back in with their parents, while high school graduates and others may have less debt but very few decent job opportunities.

Pope Francis has reserved some of his strongest language for speaking about young adult unemployment, calling it "evil," an "atrocity," and emblematic of the "throwaway culture. What would our communities, parishes, and country look like if we all recommitted to each other and the common good? At their best, labor unions and institutions like them embody solidarity and subsidiarity while advancing the common good As a nation of immigrants, we recognize that a vibrant and just economy requires the contributions of everyone.

Those who come seeking decent work to support their families by and large complement, rather than displace, American workers. But we need to fix our broken immigration system to stop the exploitation and marginalization of millions of people as well as address the development needs of other countries Supporting policies and institutions that create decent jobs, pay just wages, and support family formation and stability will also honor the dignity of workers.

Raising the minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start. In doing this we follow the lead of Pope Francis in rejecting an economy of exclusion and embracing an authentic culture of encounter. Our younger generations are counting on us to leave them a world better than the one we inherited. In addition to his interest in environmentally friendly farming, Father Jaeger was also interested in sustainable technology that had a communitarian bent.

Back in the twenties, having returned from his service in the Balkans as a Red Cross officer doing relief work, he was apparently the first person in Mound to get a radio that could receive wireless broadcasts. Being a generous soul, he wanted to share this with others in the community. He would call a parishioner who was the manual switchboard operator for the Mound telephone company. It was run out of her house. This was before dial phones, and she would simply ring the other people with phones and have them listen as Father Jaeger put the phone mouthpiece near the radio.

Not quite the internet of things, but still neat. In his first statement to the faithful of the world, Benedict called for an end to what he knew would be "horrible butchery. He contributed 82 million gold liras to support war-related relief programs. The Vatican refugee office continues in operation today.

Last week in this column I mentioned the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Mound, Francis Jaeger, and his connection to the beekeeping department at the University of Minnesota. He also had an interesting connection with World War I. Many criticisms of Tillich's methodology revolve around this issue of whether the integrity of the Christian message is really maintained when its form is conditioned by philosophy. The theological answer is also determined by the sources of theology, our experience, and the norm of theology.

Though the form of the theological answers are determined by the character of the question, these answers which "are contained in the revelatory events on which Christianity is based" are also "taken by systematic theology from the sources, through the medium, under the norm.

Experience is not a source but a medium through which the sources speak. And the norm of theology is that by which both sources and experience are judged with regard to the content of the Christian faith. As McKelway explains, the sources of theology contribute to the formation of the norm, which then becomes the criterion through which the sources and experience are judged. The norm is then subject to change, but Tillich insists that its basic content remains the same: But since Christianity answers the question of estrangement with "Jesus as the Christ", the norm tells us that we find the New Being in Jesus as the Christ.

There is also the question of the validity of the method of correlation. Certainly one could reject the method on the grounds that there is no a priori reason for its adoption. But Tillich claims that the method of any theology and its system are interdependent. That is, an absolute methodological approach cannot be adopted because the method is continually being determined by the system and the objects of theology. Tillich used the concept of "being" Sein in systematic theology.

Therefore, it can be described as the power of being which resists non-being. For this reason, the medieval philosophers called being the basic transcendentale , beyond the universal and the particular… The same word, the emptiest of all concepts when taken as an abstraction, becomes the most meaningful of all concepts when it is understood as the power of being in everything that has being. This is part four of Tillich's Systematic Theology. In this part, Tillich talks about life and the divine Spirit. Life remains ambiguous as long as there is life. The question implied in the ambiguities of life derives to a new question, namely, that of the direction in which life moves.

This is the question of history. Systematically speaking, history, characterized as it is by its direction toward the future, is the dynamic quality of life. Therefore, the "riddle of history" is a part of the problem of life. Tillich stated the courage to take meaninglessness into oneself presupposes a relation to the ground of being: If one says that in this experience vitality resists despair, one must add that vitality in man is proportional to intentionality.

The vitality that can stand the abyss of meaninglessness is aware of a hidden meaning within the destruction of meaning. The second element in absolute faith is the dependence of the experience of nonbeing on the experience of being and the dependence of the experience of meaninglessness on the experience of meaning. Even in the state of despair one has enough being to make despair possible.

There is a third element in absolute faith, the acceptance of being accepted. Of course, in the state of despair there is nobody and nothing that accepts. But there is the power of acceptance itself which is experienced. Meaninglessness, as long as it is experienced, includes an experience of the "power of acceptance". To accept this power of acceptance consciously is the religious answer of absolute faith, of a faith which has been deprived by doubt of any concrete content, which nevertheless is faith and the source of the most paradoxical manifestation of the courage to be.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Tillich believes the essence of religious attitudes is what he calls "ultimate concern". Separate from all profane and ordinary realities, the object of the concern is understood as sacred, numinous or holy. The perception of its reality is felt as so overwhelming and valuable that all else seems insignificant, and for this reason requires total surrender.

Man, like every living being, is concerned about many things, above all about those which condition his very existence If [a situation or concern] claims ultimacy it demands the total surrender of him who accepts this claim Tillich further refined his conception of faith by stating that, "Faith as ultimate concern is an act of the total personality. It is the most centered act of the human mind An arguably central component of Tillich's concept of faith is his notion that faith is "ecstatic".

That is to say:. It transcends both the drives of the nonrational unconsciousness and the structures of the rational conscious In short, for Tillich, faith does not stand opposed to rational or nonrational elements reason and emotion respectively , as some philosophers would maintain. Rather, it transcends them in an ecstatic passion for the ultimate.

It should also be noted that Tillich does not exclude atheists in his exposition of faith. Everyone has an ultimate concern, and this concern can be in an act of faith, "even if the act of faith includes the denial of God. Where there is ultimate concern, God can be denied only in the name of God" [43].

Throughout most of his works Paul Tillich provides an apologetic and alternative ontological view of God. Traditional medieval philosophical theology in the work of figures such as St. Anselm , Duns Scotus , and William of Ockham tended to understand God as the highest existing Being [ citation needed ] , to which predicates such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, goodness, righteousness, holiness, etc. Arguments for and against the existence of God presuppose such an understanding of God. Tillich is critical of this mode of discourse which he refers to as "theological theism," and argues that if God is Being [das Seiende], even if the highest Being, God cannot be properly called the source of all being, and the question can of course then be posed as to why God exists, who created God, when God's beginning is, and so on.

To put the issue in traditional language: Rather, God must be understood as the "ground of Being-Itself". The problem persists in the same way when attempting to determine whether God is an eternal essence, or an existing being, neither of which are adequate, as traditional theology was well aware. The question then becomes whether and in what way personal language about God and humanity's relationship to God is appropriate. In distinction to "theological theism", Tillich refers to another kind of theism as that of the "divine-human encounter".

Such is the theism of the encounter with the "Wholly Other" "Das ganz Andere" , as in the work of Karl Barth and Rudolf Otto , and implies a personalism with regard to God's self-revelation. Tillich is quite clear that this is both appropriate and necessary, as it is the basis of the personalism of Biblical Religion altogether and the concept of the "Word of God", [46] but can become falsified if the theologian tries to turn such encounters with God as the Wholly Other into an understanding of God as a being.

Tillich's ontological view of God has precedent in Christian theology. Many theologians, especially those in the Hellenistic or Patristic period of Christianity's history that corresponds with the Church Fathers, understood God as the "unoriginate source" agennetos of all being. Their views in turn had pre-Christian precedents in middle Platonism. Tillich further argues that theological theism is not only logically problematic, but is unable to speak into the situation of radical doubt and despair about meaning in life.

This issue, he said, was of primary concern in the modern age, as opposed to anxiety about fate, guilt, death and condemnation. If God is not the ground of being itself, then God cannot provide an answer to the question of finitude; God would also be finite in some sense. The term "God Above God," then, means to indicate the God who appears, who is the ground of being itself, when the "God" of theological theism has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt. The possibility thus exists, says Tillich, that religious symbols may be recovered which would otherwise have been rendered ineffective by contemporary society.

Tillich argues that the God of theological theism is at the root of much revolt against theism and religious faith in the modern period. Tillich states, sympathetically, that the God of theological theism. I revolt and make him into an object, but the revolt fails and becomes desperate. God appears as the invincible tyrant, the being in contrast with whom all other beings are without freedom and subjectivity. He is equated with the recent tyrants who with the help of terror try to transform everything into a mere object, a thing among things, a cog in a machine they control.

He becomes the model of everything against which Existentialism revolted. This is the God Nietzsche said had to be killed because nobody can tolerate being made into a mere object of absolute knowledge and absolute control. This is the deepest root of atheism. It is an atheism which is justified as the reaction against theological theism and its disturbing implications. Another reason Tillich criticized theological theism was because it placed God into the subject-object dichotomy.

This is the basic distinction made in Epistemology , that branch of Philosophy which deals with human knowledge, how it is possible, what it is, and its limits. Epistemologically , God cannot be made into an object, that is, an object of the knowing subject. Tillich deals with this question under the rubric of the relationality of God. The question is "whether there are external relations between God and the creature".

Tillich reminds us of the point, which can be found in Luther, that "there is no place to which man can withdraw from the divine thou, because it includes the ego and is nearer to the ego than the ego to itself". Tillich goes further to say that the desire to draw God into the subject—object dichotomy is an "insult" to the divine holiness.

It would deprive the person of his or her own subjectivity and creativity. According to Tillich, theological theism has provoked the rebellions found in atheism and Existentialism, although other social factors such as the industrial revolution have also contributed to the "reification" of the human being.