Is the winter hiatus between Christmastide and Lent regarded by you men of the cloth as a sort of midterm break, a chance to loosen your clericals and put your feet up, so to speak? If so, I trust my letter finds you in robust health and with time to ponder some thoughts regarding our diocesan newspaper.
On the Wednesday before Advent, my weekly diocesan newspaper arrived, as usual, crisp and fresh in the mail. Although long experience has taught me to toss the paper in the trash without so much as a glance at its contents—my reasons for doing so, Your Excellency, will soon be clear—on this particular afternoon, I beat down my prejudices and opened the paper. With the approach of the Christmas season, I was looking for some juice to jump-start my sputtering spiritual engine. Surely, I reasoned, a Catholic newspaper would devote space to Advent, to special prayers, to Scripture readings, to family traditions.
Nothing. Nada. This issue of the Catholic Herald contained no Advent page, no review of Advent practices, no articles on the efficacy or practice of prayer, no reminder even of Advent itself. Instead, Church news and articles on good works (that word good being open to interpretation) so filled the columns of the Catholic Herald that some innocent readers might conclude that we Catholics really do believe in working our way into...