From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

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The Dean Recommends: The Holy Spirit is “Most Exciting Reality,” Says Father Cantalamessa

By Anne Kurian
March 10, 2017

© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano

The Holy Spirit, who is “love in a pure state,” is the “most exciting reality that one can think of”: He is “the only one that can breathe a soul into our withered humanity,” said Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Papal Household Preacher, who on March 10, 2017 will open in the Vatican a series of homilies on Fridays of Lent on this theme.

In a conversation published on the eve in L’Osservatore Romano in Italian, the Capuchin Religious explained this year’s theme: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

As during Advent 2016, the homilies intend to “bring to light . . . the veritable novelty of the post-Council, that is, a clearer awareness of the place of the Spirit in life and in the theology of the Church.”

They are also intended to mark the 50th anniversary of Renewal in the Spirit in the Catholic Church, a “jubilee that Pope Francis wishes to have celebrated with particular solemnity and ecumenical opening to the forthcoming Pentecost,” continued Father Cantalamessa. Read the rest at ZENIT.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Thursday, March 23, 2017
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The Dean Recommends: Why We Miss Niebuhr Now

By Jason Byassee
March 14, 2017

Reinhold Niebuhr. Still from Martin Doblmeier’s documentary An American Conscience.

I once heard Stanley Hauerwas issuing one of his screeds against Reinhold Niebuhr when he was interrupted by a young theologian from England who asked, “So why do you care about Reinhold Niebuhr at all?”

The question was a sign of a theological sea change. For years Niebuhr was a dominant figure in Christian ethics and an unavoidable figure in theological education. It’s long been a theological parlor game to ask: Where have public theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr gone?

Martin Doblmeier’s terrific new documentary on Niebuhr, An American Con­science, reminds us just how essential Reinhold Niebuhr was. Among the luminaries who pay homage to Nie­buhr are former president Jimmy Carter, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and historian Andrew Bacevich, a critic of the re­cent American military adventures. Dobl­meier brings in footage showing President Lyndon Johnson awarding Niebuhr the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read the rest at The Christian Century.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Wednesday, March 22, 2017
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The Dean Recommends: Father Cantalamessa’s 2nd Lent Homily 2017

By Raniero Cantalamessa
March 17, 2017


Here is the second Lenten homily given this year by the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa

Lent 2017

Second Sermon


  1. The Faith of Nicea

In this meditation we continue our reflection on the role of the Holy Spirit in knowing Christ. In this regard one cannot fail to mention an unexpected confirmation of this happening in the world today. For some time there has been a movement called “the Messianic Judaism,” whose members are Hebrew Christians. (“Christ” and “Christian” are the Greek translations for the Hebrew “Messiah” and “messianic”!) A low estimate points to about 150,000 members, divided into different groups and associations. They are based primarily in the United States, Israel, and in various European nations.

They are Jews who believe that Jesus, Yeshua, is the promised Messiah, the Savior, and the Son of God, but they do not want to renounce their Jewish identity and tradition. They do not officially adhere to any of the traditional Christian Churches because their intention is to connect with and revive the early church of the Jewish Christians, whose experience was very early on interrupted by well-known traumatic events. Read the rest at ZENIT.

Posted by Hunter Upton at Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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