Category Archives: Commentary

Abortion & social justice:
“prolife progressive” is not an oxymoron

Commonweal 6 January 2017 It should be easy to be a prolife progressive. If we could somehow start from scratch and map out political alliances and coalitions according to the logic of people’s stated values, social-justice advocacy would coalesce with … Continue reading

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Pope Francis’s peacebuilding pedagogy:
A commentary on his 2017 World Day of Peace message

It is not too soon to anticipate the challenge of “reception.” All signs suggest that Pope Francis’s 2017 World Day of Peace (WDP) message represents only an initial response to the appeal for clearer teaching on gospel nonviolence issued at … Continue reading

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The virtue of staying put:
What the “Benedict option” forgets about Benedictines

Commonweal  16 September 2016 In recent years the term “Benedict Option” has been circulating in certain sectors of the U.S. Catholic Church. For a Benedictine oblate such as myself, this should be a welcome development. After all, the charism of … Continue reading

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Mennonite-Catholic relations — Joetta tells our story

My wife Joetta, pastor of Faith Mennonite Church, recently spoke at the Third Way congregation here in Saint Paul about Mennonite-Catholic relationships. She told our story in a way that speaks for both of us.  Click here or on screenshot below to … Continue reading

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What if we win? Nonviolence and the challenge of governance

Advance paper for Pax Christi International / Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace conference, Rome, April 2016: “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence” Gerald W. Schlabach And what if you win? As I … Continue reading

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Praying the Our Father – a Lenten self-examination

Lenten reflection 16 February 2016 Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15 A fine book on ethical teaching in the New Testament bears the title of The Great Reversal. While God’s saving work always fulfills the deepest longings that our Creator has written … Continue reading

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Though this page too will crumble (Valentine card no. 35)

Someday we will have made love for the last time. Will we know this at the time as one inept and final fling? Or will cooling embers simply have turned to wisp-whipped ash? Must I name a heart suddenly failing? … Continue reading

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The glamour of evil: look beyond surface to find authentic joy

America magazine 8 February 2016 In the Roman Catholic rite for the baptism of adults, as well as in the ritual for the renewal of baptismal promises, a striking question confronts us: “Do you reject the glamour of evil?” The … Continue reading

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Feast of the Holy Family (Advent/Christmas relection)

Lectionary readings: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14, Colossians 3:12-21, Luke 2:41-52 Set against the background of our preliminary readings from Sirach and Colossians, today’s gospel reading is almost playful. Pious interpretation may hesitate to suggest that the twelve-year-old Jesus, who had lingered … Continue reading

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Sed contra (a poem)

I suppose I will always be suspect to you, heir as I am to martyred dissent, beholden to untidy reality no catechism can tame, gripped by loyalty to bishops and creed through a second simplicity not simple at all, a … Continue reading

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