One of my very first blog posts was about today’s gospel, the Parable of the Good Samaritan

The homilist on EWTN said today that the man beset by thieves represents us, the men who passed him by represents many people, primarily those who follow their religion pharisaic-ally, and that the Samaritan represents, of course Christ, and His mercy.

I find it telling that, when Jesus asked the man he was talking to “Which of these acted as a good neighbor?” the man couldn’t even call him a Pharisee.


Relevant to the readings for today

The First Reading today is the story of Jonah.  I listened to it twice, and wish someone had called this person:

Today is St. Faustina’s Feast Day, even though it’s not on the calendar, and everyone remembers her on Divine Mercy Sunday.  Her diary is a long, but good read.

Is Pope Francis Anti-Business?

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio


Not everyone has been thrilled with Pope Francis.  Some say his letter on the Joy of the Gospel, Evangelii Gaudium, (EG) condemns capitalism.  Others believe “Laudato Sii,” (LS), on the environment, goes even further down this dangerous road.  And how about the time in Latin American where he apparently equates money and business with the “dung of the devil?”

Thus, Rush Limbaugh has labeled him a Marxist.  Others have called him the “Red Pope,” even “the most dangerous man on the planet.”


Nonsense.  If these critics actually read the full text of the Pope’s writings instead of media-manipulated sound bites, they would realize the groundlessness of such allegations.  The “outrageous” comments made by the Pope, nearly always misquoted and taken out of context, merely echo the teaching of Scripture and Tradition.  Many are borrowed from John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who are hardly friends of socialism.  Oh, and the line about “dung of the devil” happens to be a direct quote from St. John Chrysostom, a 4th century Church Father.


Money, by which we purchase things necessary to sustain life, is not the problem.  It is good.  It is when it is melted down to form the Golden Calf that it becomes bad.  The more valuable a thing is, the more dangerous it is when it is wrongly used.  And when the accumulation of personal wealth becomes the ultimate end, and everything else, including God, people and the earth, become merely expendable means, then things have gone horribly wrong.  It is this compulsive love of money to the neglect, even the scorn, of every other consideration that Pope Francis calls “the dung of the devil.”


The Pope does not want us all to stop earning money.  “We were created with a vocation to work,” he writes.   “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment” (LS 128).


Neither does the Pope criticize business owners who happen to earn money, even lots of money, by turning a profit.  “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world.  It can be a fruitful source of prosperity” (LS 129).  In fact, Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio launched the cause for canonization of an Argentinian businessman.  In a TV interview, he said, “Enrique Shaw was rich, yet saintly. A person can have money. God gives it to him so he can administer it well. And this man administered it well.”


Nowhere in his writings can you find a proposal to replace the free market with state socialism. Neither can you find praise for big government which thinks it can solve all problems though the multiplication of burdensome regulations.  But, he maintains, neither can the free market, with its drive to maximize short-term profits, ever be either a law or an end unto itself.  Both the state and the market must be ordered to the common good, namely, the dignity, development, and equality of all.


It is true that this Pope believes that something is wrong with the present political-economic world system.   Crony capitalism rears its head not only in the Pope’s native Latin America, but closer to home as well.  A thriving trade in fetal body parts supplied by a government-funded “non-profit” is just the latest and most lurid example of this.


But the Pope does not lay the blame for what’s wrong exclusively at the feet of business people.  There is a great temptation for everyone–government officials, business owners, and private citizens–to succumb to a consumerist vision of human beings” (LS 144) and a “self-centered culture of instant gratification.” (LS 162)  The media, driven as it is by advertising, tends to continually push everyone in this direction.


The Holy Father asks every single one of us to examine our consciences.  In our business, our public policy, and in our personal lives, have we become calloused?  Have we allowed the culture of prosperity to deaden us, so that we feel excitement about the release of the latest smartphone, but are not moved by the loneliness of the elderly, the pain of the homeless, or the degradation of God’s creation?


An exclusive focus on short-term gain is bad business.  Bringing products to the marketplace that harm the public and the environment—this too is bad business.  Failure to invest in the development of one’s employees is bad business.   This is the kind of business that Pope Francis condemns.

But Pope Francis praises creativity in the marketplace that serves the public, develops the work-force, and expands the pie for all.  This is why he may soon beatify Enrique Shaw.  He sees this kind of entrepreneurship not as part of the problem, but an essential part of the solution.  Let’s take the time to prayerfully ponder his teaching and show the world that socially responsible business is indeed, in the long run, the best business.


Marcellino D’Ambrosio earned a doctorate in theology under the renowned Jesuit Avery Cardinal Dulles. Connect with him at or on social media @DrItaly.  For full texts of Pope Francis’ writings and speeches, see and

From Pope Francis: Five Zingers for Left and Right Wingers

Source: From Pope Francis: Five Zingers for Left and Right Wingers\

haloWith Pope Francis coming to America I can’t believe how polarized Conservatives and Liberals are.

Why can’t people be smart enough to realize that both sides want the best and affirm some things that are good and true, and both sides have blind spots where they think they’re right, but they’re actually off beam.

The value of a papal visit is that a pope speaks for the Catholic Church and therefore brings an international, historical and spiritual viewpoint to the discussion. I’ve written here about why a pope is necessary for political discussion.

Here are five papal takeaways for right wingers and five for left wingers.

For Conservatives:

1. The Pope is Criticizing Greed – When the pope attacks unfettered capitalism he is simply stating part of historic Catholic social teaching. It’s okay to disagree with him about the details, but his underlying critique is on a system that encourages un limited greed. You don’t think greed is a good thing do you? Do you think the American system should be above criticism? Instead of muttering your disagreements with the Pope’s critique of capitalism why not see where you can agree?

2. The Pope is an Advocate for the Poor – That’s being like Jesus isn’t it? When is the last time you read the gospel? You’re also in favor of helping the poor aren’t you? Before you slam the Pope as a Socialist take time to inform yourself. Have you actually read his comments or just the headlines? If he challenges us to help immigrants and refugees we should listen. What country did your grandparents or great grandparents come from? Again, you may disagree about the detail, but do you not agree that the rich have a responsibility to the poor and that we are called to be our brother’s keeper? If not, which religion do you follow, because it ain’t Christianity.

3. The Pope is Against Pollution, Wanton  Consumerism and Waste  – Maybe you disagree with him about the alleged human causes of climate change. That’s okay. Those views are not church doctrine. But you’re not actually in favor of pollution and the destruction of the natural environment are you? Are you in favor of a total slash and burn, rape and pillage policy regarding the world’s resources? Probably not. Pope Francis is calling on humanity to use the world’s precious resources wisely and carefully. That’s a good thing isn’t it? Furthermore, his call for us not to waste and use wantonly connects with his pro life message. He constantly calls on us not to waste and wantonly consume one another too. You do think that’s a good thing don’t you?

4. The Pope is Against War and Killing – Popes are always against war. Aren’t you? If the pope criticizes nations that spend more money on weapons than on health care isn’t that a good thing? We should face it. America is a warrior country. We’re always fighting a war somewhere, and very few of those wars are just according to church teaching. It’s right to defend our country, but it’s also right to be against war and only use violence as a last resort.

5. The Pope Sets an Example of Simplicity – Pope Francis is strong on significant gestures. In everything he does he is setting an example of apostolic simplicity. This echoes into the reverent but simple way he celebrates Mass, his choice of cars, his choice of dwellings and his choice of friends. Do you disagree with his example of simplicity? Don’t you think it reflects well on the church? Isn’t it Christ-like? It goes with his whole anti-materialistic message. That’s something you as a Catholic would agree with isn’t it?

For Liberals

1. The Pope is Against Abortion – You love life don’t you? Why be opposed to Catholic teaching which condemns abortion? Do you really want to make it possible to kill yet more unborn babies? I know, I know, you think it is the woman’s right to choose. Don’t you think she ought to exercise that choice before she has sexual intercourse? Shouldn’t she–and the man she’s with–be more responsible? Instead of being pro-abortion, why don’t you listen to the Catholics and help us support the adoption option and all the work we do to help women in crisis pregnancies?

2. The Pope is Against Same Sex Marriage – Be honest. You think gay people have the right to be married, but do you really think gay marriage helps build up the family and strengthens human society? If so, in what way exactly? It is possible to be against same sex marriage without being bigots and haters. Do you really need to impose this redefinition of marriage on everyone? Even against their religious convictions? Is that how you envision freedom? Have you ever thought that the kind of marriage the pope supports (between one man and one woman for life) is what actually what defines marriage? Pope Francis is merely pointing out that gay “marriage” is a contradiction in terms. It’s like saying “car without wheels”.

3. The Pope is Against Sexual Immorality – Yes, freedom is a good thing, but do you honestly think pornography, prostitution, adultery, human trafficking, sado masochism and a total sexual free for all builds up the common good? Do you think quick no fault divorce, sexual promiscuity, teen and pre teen sex are all good? You don’t have to be a puritanical prude to see that these things are harmful to society, breed diseases of all sorts and damage vulnerable people. If the Pope is against all these things its because he’s for the cultivation of true love, true life and true human flourishing, and every civilization has always maintained that self discipline in the area of sexuality is necessary for the common good.

4. The Pope is Against Selfish Individualism Maybe the American national anthem ought to be Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Pope Francis calls for solidarity within communities, within nations and within the whole human family. Just doing what you want when you want where you want with whoever you want is a sign of selfish immaturity. Pope Francis calls all of us to be more grown up than that and to live for higher goals and a greater good. Your individual freedom has limits. Grown ups know that and accept it. Adolescents don’t.

5. Pope Francis is Against Atheistic Secularism Stop for a moment and think. The Pope is not just a “spiritual leader”. He’s not just an inspiring figure on the world stage who happens to stand for sweet ideas like being nice to poor people and getting rid of pollution. He’s not just a moral teacher who scolds nasty rich people and hugs poor little children. He is Catholic. He believes and teaches religious truths revealed by God to humanity through the God-Man Jesus Christ. This is his main mission: to save souls from hell and lead them to heaven. He is therefore the enemy of sentimental, shallow and selfish secularism. If you are a humanistic atheist and you feel all warm and cozy about the pope, don’t.

If you area a non believer –either conservative or liberal– you should not be misled by the pope’s media image.

Yes, he smiles and waves. He is polite and respectful. He is courteous and kind.

But if you think that is all he is and this leads you to either like or dislike him, don’t be deceived.

He is not what he seems.

He is not just a kindly old guy who believes out of date religious stuff.

He is the Vicar of Christ

And therefore he is to you the greatest stranger–and the greatest danger.

Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness: 15 Catholic Reflections on Inalienable Truths – Seton Magazine

Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness: 15 Catholic Reflections on Inalienable Truths – Seton Magazine.

Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness: 15 Catholic Reflections on Inalienable Truths

As we Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it’s a great time to look at some statements of Catholics over the years on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Turns out, we Catholics love all three.

This July 4th, let’s remember to pray for our nation and all of those in America. Let’s pray that God blesses us with the willingness to protect and promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because if we no longer protect innocent life, if we no longer recognize the nature of liberty, if we are no longer allowed the pursuit of happiness, then misery will pursue us.


“This century has shown that once the right to life of some category of people is denied, then all human rights are in jeopardy.” – Pope St. John Paul II

“The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself.” Pope Benedict XVI

“The right to life: This right is basic and inalienable. It is grievously violated in our day by contraception, sterilization, abortion and euthanasia, by widespread torture, by acts of violence against innocent parties, and by the scourge of war, genocide, mass campaigns against the right to life.” Pope John XXIII, 1974

“This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people…” Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995

“Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority… to defend the lives of the innocent… Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother’s womb.” Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, 1930

“All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” Pope Francis

“…We exhort all people and all classes of society to that peace which finds its basis and nurture in justice, liberty, and love.” Pope Pius XII, Datis Nupperime, 1956

“The end, or object, both of the rational will and of its liberty is that good only which is in conformity with reason… if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God…would have no liberty at all…” Pope Leo XIII, Libertas

“These dangers, that is, the confounding of license with liberty…have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church’s teaching office than ever before…”
Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae

“…efforts of all kinds are being made to supplant the kingdom of God by a reign of license under the lying name of liberty.” Pope Saint Pius X, Communium Rerum, 1909

The Pursuit Of Happiness

“Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence.” Saint Thomas Aquinas, S.T., I-II, Q. 3

“To understand things that are important and good, or even divine, is the happiest thing.” St. Augustine

“The wholehearted acceptance of the will of God is the sure way of finding joy and peace: happiness in the cross.” St. Josemaria Escriva

“And it is because you don’t know the end and purpose of things that you think the wicked and the criminal have power and happiness.” Boethius

…(M)an cannot find true happiness — towards which he aspires with all his being — other than in respect of the laws written by God in his very nature, laws which he must observe with intelligence and love. Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 1968



Applying what happened to Rachel Dolezal to other things…

First, I want it known that I don’t think you have to be black to head an NAACP chapter.  Some may, I don’t.

But this isn’t about that.  It’s about someone who’s one thing portraying themselves as another.  And I want to say up front that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, as have most people, whether we tell fish stories, or lie about being somewhere we weren’t, or the like.

Rachel Dolezal portrayed herself publicly as something she’s not, and tried to change her appearance to suit how she felt.  I’m not holding that against her, other than that she lied to people.  But my point to make, here, is this…Isn’t this the same thing that transgender people do?  They feel like they’re not whatever gender they are, and so they change their outward appearance to suit how they think they feel inside.  But they have not changed what they really are, and that’s my point.

People should embrace who they are, however they are.  Then they should seek God’s guidance into how they should live, and go forth and live that way.  If someone feels that they’re a woman in a man’s body, they can embrace that, but they need to also embrace that they are genetically male.  Seek from God what to do with your plight, and then go and do it.

Very short message, but I think it’s important.