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  • My name is Carmen
    My name is Carmen Gaston, and I am the director of Stewardship and Development for the Archdiocese of Portland. More specifically, I serve as the chief development officer in funding the mission of the local Catholic Church.
  • The Catholic Church has a very big secret. It is so powerful, challenging and relevant, that if every bishop, priest, religious and layperson was committed to communicating and implementing this secret, it would turn society upside-down and literally transform the world.
  • To assist with your understanding of the news, here is a glossary of reassignment terms:
  • Seal must be inviolable
    In recent months, there have been rumblings of a new challenge to the Catholic Church on the part of various government agencies, in different parts of the world.
  • Losing our humanity to robots?
    Nonetheless, I was surprised to find that this year’s assembly in February was on "Roboethics." How do issues arising from our use of robots link up with our concern about respect for human life? What I found was that, as Pope Francis has reminded us in "Laudato Si'": "Everything is connected."
  • From the Archives
    These have, through the ex­tent of whole tribes and bands, so deterio­rated their physical and mental staminas to leave but little hope for their duration and perpetual existence.
  • At Pentecost, where are you?
    The Easter Feast is a 50-day celebration, preparing the way for Christians to recount the birthday of the Church on Pentecost, June 9 this year. It is on this day we find the disciples and the Blessed Virgin Mary waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
  • Giving physical presence to faith
    In the end we know that the gathering of the people is what is most important. Yet the space that they use for worship can inhibit or foster that sense of community. All architecture should uplift our spirit through good design; a space devoted to worship must do it consistently.
  • Pope Francis has warned that "fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord.”
  • There is an inconsistency here. Oregonians pride themselves on standing up for the marginalized and questioning the entitlement of big business. But it’s almost a religion now that Oregon public officials side with a behemoth corporation — Planned Parenthood — against unborn babies, the most defenseless of all. 
  • Suppose we let the people decide
    Abortion would unquestionably remain legal in many states, and available to anyone with bus fare. But the reversal of Roe would at least make abortion part of our democratic debate for the first time in almost half a century.
  • Let your conscience be your guide
    Our political life has become such a war of words that many may not notice that the Trump administration has done something very good and long overdue -- and is being condemned for it.
  • Recent news stories have chronicled the troubling story of a funeral home in Colorado clandestinely taking body parts out of corpses and selling them to medical supply companies.
  • From the Archives
    The consci­entious guardians of the municipal domain, ac­cording to Mr. Grant, were so solicitous for the public welfare, security and safety that they could not do otherwise than eliminate the danger that would arise from the erection of a small Catholic school in the Laurelhurst dis­trict.
  • Instead of making it a day of intense nationalism which accepts ongoing war as “normal,” the healthiest, holiest way to honor combatants killed, is to stop sending new combatants to take their place – to kill and be killed – again and again.
  • Saints and shooters
    Rather than writing about killers, our mission is to tell the stories of the everyday saints among us and the church’s teachings that form their goodness. 
  • Conscience protected
    Kudos and thanks to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for recent work to protect the conscience rights of health care workers.
  • From the Archives
    Inch by inch, step by step, foot by foot, squarely and fairly did the fire-boys, assisted by our citizens, fight the conflagration, but aided by the fierce north wind, which seemed to have combined with the flames for the city’s ruin, the devouring element spread headlong onward.
  • Motherhood, milestones, and Mary all celebrated in May
    On May 12th we honor motherhood by celebrating Mother’s Day.  May is also a milestone for the family.  During May thousands of children will receive their first Communion.  In Catholic families it’s a time to celebrate your child receiving the Eucharist.  And of course, May is also the month we recognize Mary; the ultimate example of motherhood, the one who carried Jesus in her womb, thereby making it possible that we all can experience the joy of receiving the Eucharist.  I believe these events are connected. 
  • Whitewashing Planned Parenthood
    I hope "Unplanned" changes some hearts and minds on the subject of abortion -- and encourages greater scrutiny of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
  • PHILADELPHIA — A few years back, I gave a talk entitled “Thinking Through the Transgender Question” at a local parish. In the audience were several individuals supporting the transgender movement. During the question-and-answer session, one of them, a young woman, raised this difficulty:  “If someone wants to transition, how does that hurt anybody else? If my friend wants to be transgender, how would that harm any of us?”
  • “The persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history,” says Aid to the Church in Need – a papal charity – in its report on oppressed Christians titled “Persecuted and Forgotten?” (see: https://bit.ly/2DimV2a).
  • Why are people leaving?
    Satan hates the Mass. He hates the Catholic Church. Satan loves the sexual abuses. Satan goes throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
  • ‘He is risen!’
    What proof do we have that this story of the resurrection isn’t just another tale we believe simply because this is what we’ve been taught? I would like to take a shot answering this question by citing two facts. 
  • Light in the darkness

    It’s no secret that there’s darkness in the world. The Easter attacks in Sri Lanka are just the latest example of it. But in the darkness, we can find the light.

  • Another notre Dame
    While OKC’s star Russell Westbrook taunted, whimpered, thundered, boasted and gloated his way through the contests, with Lillard as the main target, Dame remained mostly dignified, letting his play do the talking. 
  • From the Archives
    The bronze statue of Joan of Arc, the gift of Dr. Henry Waldo Coe to Portland, was placed on its base in Laurelhurst, at East 39th and Glisan streets, on last Saturday.
  • “Unplanned” is an inspiringly powerful movie that will deeply touch your heart. It will move you to feel uncomfortable, angry, sad, enlightened, encouraged, vindicated and joyful. You’ll probably even shed some tears, as I did.
  • Once upon a time, each of our young children crafted ornate artworks proclaiming one glorious word: “Alleluia.” They beamed as they presented us with their crayon- and marker-infused creations. Some of the pieces dripped with healthy helpings of glitter paste and others were adorned with leftover Valentine’s Day stickers.
  • Inject joy into climate fix
    As winter ended and spring began, almost 5,000 volunteers cleared more than 21,000 pounds of debris that had washed onto the Oregon coast. For us, the annual beach cleanup increasingly enters a Catholic milieu. And importantly, the project could serve as a model for confronting the global environmental crisis. 
  • Study the saints
    Mark Twain helped me fall in love with Joan of Arc. The writer of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” penned a book about the illiterate, intelligent peasant girl from medieval France who would lead an army and burn at the stake at age 19.
  • My curiosity led to Catholicism
    Since my conversion, my whole paradigm has shifted. All of my relationships have been transformed. I see myself as part of an enormous spiritual family. I see sanctification and conversion as ongoing lifelong processes. I recognize the communion of saints and the daily battle for souls. 
  • In two corners of the world
    On Sunday, April 8, 1938, my Aunt Pleuna, then a day-dreamy, 18-year-old Dutch farm girl with her life ahead of her, posed for a photo in the family garden. She loved the beauty of things and above all, she loved her Queen Wilhelmina, and oftentimes dreamt of royalty.
  • From the Archives
    I am disappointed because I am not able to tell my Creator that I have been able to make a dent on this wild world for a better world. But I did try, so help me God.
  • As foreign ministers of the 29 member nations of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 3-4 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of this largest military alliance in the world, nonviolent peace activists across the U.S. and from around the world also gathered in Washington to proclaim: “No to NATO – Yes to Peace.”
  • Not so fast
    I probably shouldn’t admit this in front of my grandchildren, but I am a fan of McDonald’s fish sandwiches. When I was a young lawyer in San Francisco, my firm’s office was right across Market Street from a McDonald’s, and every day for a year, I had two fish sandwiches and a chocolate shake for lunch. I am ashamed. But I still like them.
  • 'We have one to spare'
    Traveling through Lent, we note that Jesus Christ asks us in the Gospels not to worship him, but to follow him, and that he set an example of sacrificial love and healing the sick. Heather Hannam and Euvira (Vi) Beaty of St. Philip Benizi Church in Redland, near Oregon City, found an opportunity to follow him.
  • Congress and infanticide
    Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft once found himself arguing with an abortion supporter, and said to her: "Give me one argument that defends abortion that doesn't also defend infanticide."
  •  I remember a conversation I had with a married Catholic couple a few years ago. They were feeling lost and desperate over their inability to conceive a child. They were casting about for options.
  • Critics can disagree with the media’s opinionating pundits, but when the goal is truth, it’s a self-defeating act to demonize reporters.
  • The response from Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, brought comfort even here in Oregon, on the other side of the planet, after a terrorist killed 50 at a mosque in that faraway land. Ardern showed us how to grieve and how to lead.
  • Thirty plus years ago, the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote a very challenging pastoral letter titled “Economic Justice for All.” In their opening statement they prophetically declared, “Every perspective on economic life that is human, moral and Christian must be shaped by three questions: What does the economy do for people? What does it do to people? And how do people participate in it?”
  • From the Archives
    "You will also have part in a sizable investment in War Bonds."
  • A Dutchman in New York

    As he disembarked, my dad could not believe how cordial New York was. The city actually threw a parade with marching bands, in honor of the newly arrived immigrants. In fact, even the archbishop and the mayor showed up. To top it off, all the beer in Times Square was free. My dad felt so honored, that he paraded down Broadway, right alongside the marching bands, waving at the crowds, waving to all his new countrymen.

     
  • We’ve barely scratched the surface of our Lenten journey, which means I’ve faltered at least 462 times in my observances so far, with approximately 2,954 failures to go until we finally reach Easter Sunday.
  • Becoming Peter's father
    Then I met a girl, and from April 1 to April 6, 2012, we I we had a baby. But we wanted him gone, and we had our way.
  • From the archives
    Funny creatures, we are, and never content.
  • How beautiful is it to remember that every life, even one seemingly insignificant is in fact incredibly significant?
  • The whole package
    The late Father Francis Kennard loved a reverent liturgy and was a giant in western Oregon’s social justice movement in the mid-20th century. He’s a patron we could use now.  
  • Imagine you’re sitting in front of your doctor, and he says that your health definitely needs to improve. He then looks you square in the eyes and says, “If you wish to live a healthy long life, you must stop eating junk food and living a sedentary lifestyle, and start eating plenty of healthy foods and exercise every day.”
  • Pray, even if poorly
    “I’ll pray for you.” In college, these words felt like nails on a chalkboard to me — pretentiously pious. Were they really going to pray for you? At my Catholic university the phrase was as common as Claddagh rings and miraculous medals. For some it was sincere, for many it seemed showy.
  • Trust, but verify
    With the conclusion of the Vatican’s summit on sexual abuse by clergy, what should we average Oregon Catholics in the pews do now? To quote Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”
  • Fast, but keep some calories for good works
    As adults we learn to give instead of giving up, or maybe we do both. We give our time, our efforts and our caring to volunteer in a classroom, or help a neighbor child with homework. Driving a carless person to get groceries is always appreciated, as is visiting a lonesome person of any age.
  • The New Evangelization
    With the advent of social media, when it is easier to reach masses at the push of a button, it is crucial that the church leap forward with these innovations to spread God’s word on a scale unseen before.
  • PHILADELPHIA — Whenever we make small exceptions to universal moral rules, we shouldn’t be surprised that the rules themselves can be quickly undermined. Establishing an “exception” in one case makes people think they’re due an exemption for their case as well. Certain norms of moral behavior, however, do not admit of any exceptions, and we risk undermining morality altogether if we don’t recognize them. Moral norms governing the protection of human life are one such example.
  • Drawing forth specific examples of racism, the bishops highlight the fact that often Hispanics and African Americans “face discrimination in hiring, housing, educational opportunities, and incarceration.
  • Amid scandals, a way forward
    We should be as well informed as necessary. But how much information do we need to act responsibly as Catholics? Do we need, for example, to read the sordid details of every instance of abuse?
  • The message of dishonorable leaders gets lost
    A leader must behave and operate above reproach. It is a leader’s striving for noble perfection that indicates commitment and dedication to the organization and its people. 
  • Healing the hurts of porn
    Betrayal trauma hurts like nothing else. This is what many wives feel when they found out about their husband’s secret porn use.
  • My fellow Americans and fellow citizens of the world, the greatness of a nation is not measured by its military or economic power, but to the degree it is willing to help the poor and vulnerable. 
  • Conscience and the measles
    Holy Cross Brother William Dygert, superintendent of schools in the Archdiocese of Portland, reminds Catholic parents that the church does not support claiming a religious or personal exclusion when it comes to vaccines.
  • Extend the invitation

    Pope Francis has made it clear that we are not to ignore these brothers and sisters in need. They are other Christs. At the same time, they are human beings, and common sense tells us that our cash gifts might be used for alcohol or drugs. It hurts to participate in someone’s self-destruction. Blanchet House, a Catholic ministry in operation since the 1950s, has given us a better option.

  • Surrounded by prayer
    There are no answers. There is no understanding. However, I believe that God is with us in the suffering, in the questioning, and that there is power in prayer. 
  • Love for the Lord
    Is there any more love one can feel for a spouse than in the moment they’re exchanging vows? Most people would probably say, “Yes, actually.” And I’d agree. Still, there’s a beautiful innocence in the feeling of love I had while exchanging vows with my husband. There was love. There was excitement and there was pure joy.
  • This happened to me
    I am a simple man, a farmer, a family man. What would you do if this happened to you?
  • During the course of pregnancy, receiving an adverse prenatal diagnosis can be a tremendously jolting experience for parents. In severe cases, physicians may tell them that their unborn child has a condition that is “incompatible with life.”
  •  One of their campaign slogans was, “Don’t let them shove their religion down your throats,” as if millennia of hard-earned wisdom about life and death were a threat rather than a help. 
  • Her death was not sud­den, for disease had for some time been mak­ing inroads on her constitution until it finally did its insidious work.
  • In the more than 30 annual Washington, D.C. Marches for Life I have participated in, I always think the current march is the largest ever. But since accurate figures are hard to come by, it usually comes down to taking a good guess. 
  • Unforeseen problems with death penalty stance
    The pope’s decision also means Catholics will automatically be removed from juries handling capital crimes. Instead of having more influence on how criminals should be treated, Catholics will have less. 
  • The benefits of Kavanaugh
    Now, three months after the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s clear he is good news for supporters of religious liberty, backers of the right to life and opponents of judicial activism.   
  • Honoring Mother Earth
    In Oregon, we can honor our Mother Earth by taking action and passing legislation that will protect our planet. The Clean Energy Jobs bill will help ensure a clean energy future for the state we love.
  • Hate on the rise
    Many Oregonians, especially those in hip Portland, see their state as a bastion of open-mindedness. Recent trends should squelch that perception and jolt Catholics into action.
  • Ode to parish life
    Where I wait in line for confession on Saturday afternoons and really am sorry for my sins, one of which is wishing I could hear what the person in front of me is saying in the confessional — This is a Catholic parish.