Author Archive for Karee Santos

Married Love is Total Self-Giving, Says Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia
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Married Love is Total Self-Giving, Says Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia

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Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love) should be required reading in pre-Cana classes, say commentators, because the Pope explains Catholic teaching on marriage so wisely and elegantly to the current generation. Throughout the papal exhortation, you can find the themes of the four marks or “keys” of married love: faithfulness, freedom, fruitfulness, and a […]

Fruitful Love Symbolizes God's Inner Life, says Pope Francis' <em>Amoris Laetitia</em>
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Fruitful Love Symbolizes God’s Inner Life, says Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia

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The night before Pope Francis officially released Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), I was chatting about it with Fr. Dave Dwyer on the Busted Halo radio show. Revealing that he had been able to get his hands on an advance copy, Fr. Dave told me, “You’re going to love it. He says a lot […]

Pope Francis Praises Personal Freedom in Family Life
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Pope Francis Praises Personal Freedom in Family Life

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The four keys to a lasting marriage are faithful, free, fruitful, and total love, as we explain in our newly released book on Catholic marriage. Pope Francis stresses these same four themes in his recent exhortation Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love). Our last article looked at what the pope had to say about the first key, […]

Pope Francis' <em>Amoris Laetitia</em> Praises Faithful and Forgiving Love
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Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia Praises Faithful and Forgiving Love

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Reading the full text of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, I experienced the odd sensation that the Pope and I must have been poring over the same exact Church documents for the past two years. The themes of faithfulness, personal freedom, fruitfulness, and total gift of self are woven throughout the Pope’s exhortation, and of course […]

Sweet Spanish-Language Book Teaches Children Why We Pray
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Sweet Spanish-Language Book Teaches Children Why We Pray

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It was my pleasure to introduce my kids to Kimberly Cook’s delightful little book Mami, Mami, Cuando Rezas — the Spanish-language translation of her book Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray. It provided me with the perfect opportunity to make headway on my New Year’s resolution to teach our kids more Spanish! Mami, Mami, Cuando Rezas […]

All Love Bears Fruit
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All Love Bears Fruit

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Fruitfulness is one of the essential gifts of marriage. We’re all familiar with God’s words to Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gn 1:28). God’s directive to the mother and father of all humanity refers to physical fruitfulness. But Jesus in the Gospels speaks about […]

Why God Sends Us Imperfect Popes
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Why God Sends Us Imperfect Popes

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Pope Francis set tongues wagging again with his latest comments that contraception might be used to prevent birth defects caused by the Zika virus. The secular media seem delighted by the implication that the Catholic Church’s traditional opposition to artificial birth control might be eased. In response to reporters’ questions during his flight from Mexico […]

Mercy Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?
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Mercy Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry?

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“Why do they only have 45 minutes for confession?” asked my Protestant dad when I was home over the holidays. “Well,” I tried to explain, “Most church-goers don’t go to confession that often. They don’t really think they’re doing anything wrong.” A senior deacon from one of the first classes of people trained in the […]

Christ the King: From a Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Life
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Christ the King: From a Crown of Thorns to a Crown of Life

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As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this weekend, it’s worth asking ourselves what kind of kingdom Christ promised us. We know his kingdom is not of this world, and his crown is made of thorns. Will our sacrifices and suffering be worth it? What awaits us after death? The Book of Revelations […]

How to Discern Whether Adoption is Right for You
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How to Discern Whether Adoption is Right for You

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In honor of National Adoption Month, here’s my review of Jaymie Stuart Wolfe’s excellent discernment guide, Adoption: Room for One More?, from Pauline Books & Media. A few years ago, between babies #3 and #4 (or #4 and #5), my husband and I contemplated adopting a baby girl from China. We were moved by stories […]

The Meaning of Human Sexuality
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The Meaning of Human Sexuality

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As the concept of gender grows ever more fluid (you can pick any one of 58 gender options on Facebook), it’s worth asking why God created humans as male and female. Bacteria have no gender and reproduce mostly by dividing their cells. Some species of fish are sequentially hermaphroditic, changing genders throughout their lifetime. Angels, […]

Feathers in the Wind: Scandal and Sharing Online
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Feathers in the Wind: Scandal and Sharing Online

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St. Philip Neri once told a woman that as penance for her gossiping, she should scatter a pillowful of feathers into the wind and then walk about the town collecting every feather. The task was impossible, of course, and it emphasized that we can’t take back our words once they’ve been uttered. That’s especially true […]

St. Francis and the Synod on the Family
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St. Francis and the Synod on the Family

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The date that Pope Francis chose to begin the second phase of the Synod on the Family could hardly have been a coincidence. When the Synod opened on October 4, the Church celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. And even more dramatically, the readings for the day celebrated marriage — the marriage of […]

The Married Life of St. Gianna, Patron of the World Meeting of Families
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The Married Life of St. Gianna, Patron of the World Meeting of Families

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As The World Meeting of Families draws to a close, we can all take a moment to pray to one of the meeting’s patron saints, St. Gianna Molla. (The other patron saint, also dear to my heart, is Pope John Paul II.) St. Gianna is easier to relate to than many earlier female saints who […]

Empty School Hallway
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Parochial School Girl Meets Public School World

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When our oldest daughter graduated with her 40-person class from eighth grade in parochial school, all the girls hugged each other and cried. She’s entering public high school in a few days, and it’s totally uncharted territory. None of her parochial school friends will be with her, she won’t be wearing her trusty plaid uniform, […]

Are the Divorced and Remarried Excommunicated?  What Francis Meant
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Are the Divorced and Remarried Excommunicated? What Francis Meant

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Untangling one of Pope Francis’ public statements often resembles taking a final exam. “How many inaccurate implications can be drawn from Pope Francis’ statement? Explain why they are inaccurate, referencing canon law, Church history, and prevailing cultural trends.” For example, take his recent statement that divorced persons who remarry outside the Church are “by no […]

What I Told My Bishop About the Synod
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What I Told My Bishop About the Synod

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Last week was the final deadline to submit comments to our local bishop about the agenda for the upcoming Synod on the Family, to be reconvened this October at the Vatican. The Synod’s working document, or lineamenta, asked 46 questions about the pastoral care of the family, which the laypeople of our diocese were encouraged […]

Chastity and Love: Please Don't Let Them Be Misunderstood
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Chastity and Love: Please Don’t Let Them Be Misunderstood

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Chastity and love are two of the most misunderstood concepts in our culture today. In her new book Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, Arleen Spenceley does a masterful job clearing up the confusion. About chastity and how it differs from abstinence, she says: Chastity neither pretends sexuality doesn’t exist nor […]

The Grace of Admitting Our Brokenness
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The Grace of Admitting Our Brokenness

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Even healers need to be healed. Even teachers need to learn more. And even those who advise perfection aren’t perfect. If we’re willing to admit that, then we have the grace of integrity, explains Lisa Hendey in her fourth book The Grace of Yes, released yesterday by Ave Maria Press. Integrity gives people in authority (including […]

How Sinner-Turned-Saint Augustine Can Teach You Temperance
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How Sinner-Turned-Saint Augustine Can Teach You Temperance

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Prior to his conversion, St. Augustine led a pretty debauched life, shacking up with a mistress for 15 years and fathering an illegitimate child with her. As a result I was initially surprised when Jean Heimann’s new book Seven Saints for Seven Virtues chose St. Augustine as a role model for temperance, “the cardinal virtue that helps […]

Marriage and the Cult of Momentary Well Being
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Marriage and the Cult of Momentary Well Being

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The current crisis in marriage and family life arises from “a cult of momentary well-being,” stated Cardinal Peter Erdö, the relator general of the 2014 Synod of the Family. In his opening speech, one which traditionally sets the tone for the whole synod, the Cardinal emphasized that “many look upon their lives not as a […]

Despite Protests, Cardinal Dolan Hosts Political Rivals at Charity Dinner
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Despite Protests, Cardinal Dolan Hosts Political Rivals at Charity Dinner

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“It is time to cancel” the annual bi-partisan charity event known as “the Al Smith Dinner and all the other ‘Catholic’ traditions that have been hijacked by the world,” recently asserted Msgr. Charles Pope in a column that was quickly removed from the official website of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. “In the old days […]

Why the Pope of the Poor Thinks Marriage Matters
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Why the Pope of the Poor Thinks Marriage Matters

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While Pope St. John Paul II was called the Pope of the Family, Pope Francis is called the Pope of the Poor. So why did the Pope of the Poor choose marriage and family as the focus of his papacy’s first synod of bishops, scheduled to start this Sunday, October 5, in Rome? Because stronger marriages […]

Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love
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Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love

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Just as the movie Brokeback Mountain paved the way for widespread acceptance of homosexual love affairs, the novel The Lion’s Heart is poised to do the same for the Catholic view of homosexuality. Almost certainly the first of its kind, this gay Catholic romance novel was written by Dena Hunt (also author of Treason) and published by Full […]

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