Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.

He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.


Fr. Rolheiser can be reached at his website, www.ronrolheiser.com

Many of us, I suspect, know about the work of the renowned anthropologist Rene Girard and the dissemination of his insights through the work of his student Gil Bailie. With gratitude to them, I pass along one of their insights, an invaluable look at how we try to handle resentment in our lives.

A word filled with reality and truth

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Faith is not something you achieve. If you try to nail it down, it gets up and walks away with the nail.

Strains in the academy and the pew

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There has always been an innate and healthy tension between theology and catechesis, between what’s happening in theology departments in universities and the church pew. Theologians and bishops are often not each other’s favourite people. And that’s understandable. Why?

Francis’ words speak for themselves

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Many of us, I suspect, have heard snippets of an interview that Pope Francis did for a series of Jesuit publications, including America, where, among other things, he suggested that we might be wise to not always emphasize the moral issues around abortion, gay marriage and contraception in our conversations. That’s, of course, the phrase that most caught the attention of the media, but the whole interview is remarkable for its candor and includes a whole range of thoughts that help give us a sense of how Francis intends to colour his papacy. Here are a few of his thoughts, in his own words:

Disappearing roots: it once was, but is no longer

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“Home is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot wrote that and it describes an experience that can be felt both as a freedom and a heartache. I cite my own case:

The difference between whining, weeping

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Karl Rogers once suggested that what’s most private within us is also most universal. His belief was that many of the private feelings that we would be ashamed to admit in public are, ironically, the very feelings which, if expressed, would resonate most deeply inside the experience of others.

The slow, imperceptible march of goodness

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God writes straight with crooked lines. That axiom sounds clever, but is there real truth or depth to it? Can good ever really arise out of evil? Do love, truth and justice ever work out through hatred, lies and injustice?

Our motivation should be for others

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The famed and feisty psychologist Fritz Pearls was once asked by a well-meaning Christian if he was saved. He responded by saying, I am still trying to figure out how to be spent!

Embittered moralizing, an occupational hazard

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In a masterful book on grace, Piet Fransen suggests that we can test how well we understand grace by gauging our reaction to this story:

Rationalizing anger and moral indignations

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“I have come to set the Earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing... Do you think that I have come to establish peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.”

Giving to the poor is good for our health

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We need to give to the poor, not because they need it, though they do, but because we need to do that in order to be healthy. That’s an axiom which is grounded in Scripture where, time and again, we are taught that giving to the poor is something that we need to do for our own health.