Robert P. Imbelli

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

By this author

Grace Abounding

On this feast of Saint James, fifty years ago, I celebrated my "first Mass" in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome. My parents and then sixteen year old brother were present, along with relatives and friends from the United States and Italy. In those pre-cellphone and pre-Skype days, I had not seen or even spoken with my family for almost three years.

Many of those who were present that day have, of course, gone before "marked with the sign of faith."

The first reading for today's Mass has only grown in meaning in the intervening years:

Calvarium

In Pope Francis's carefully constructed encyclical, Laudato si', chapter three is entitled "The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis." In it the pope seeks to go beyond the symptoms of the crisis, graphically depicted in chapter one, to its deeper causes. Foremost among these he singles out the dominance of the "technological paradigm" that shapes and distorts actions and perceptions.

Con Man

In his scripted remarks to thousands of young people gathered at the Costantera Riverside Park in Paraguay (including a large contingent from Argentina), Pope Francis spun a contemporary riff on the classic Ignatian image of the "two Standards" from the Spiritual Exercises.

Papal Allergies

In his prepared remarks to Representatives of Paraguay's Civil Society yesterday, Pope Francis said:

Rekindling the Wonder

Having been "on the road," I returned surprised to find scant (any?) reference on dotCommonweal to Pope Francis's monumental pilgrimage to Ecuador, Bolivia, and, as of yesterday, Paraguay. Perhaps the very monumentality of his undertaking and the substantive nature of his homilies and talks is itself daunting. In any event, they appear to me to be authoritative commentary on the encyclical, "Laudato si."

Trinitarian Communion

For all the commentary that Charles Taylor's monumental A Secular Age has generated, I think insufficient attention has been paid his culminating chapter, "Conversions." Here he tries to chart a path beyond secularity's dominant "immanent frame." Not surprisingly he turns to the poets as lantern bearers. Péguy enjoys a certain pride of place, but Hopkins figures prominently as well. Taylor writes:

Trollope's Perspicacity

I have a good friend who religiously reads or re-reads a Trollope novel every summer. Sluggard that I am, I have not read one since pre-pre-Kindle college days. That may now change thanks to a splendid and nuanced essay on the English novelist by Adam Gopnik in the current New Yorker. I resonated in a particular way to this reflection:

Mercy and Justice

Yesterday Pope Francis solemnly proclaimed the Jubilee Year celebrating Divine Mercy. It is to begin on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council.

Collateral Damage

We are all too accustomed to the military's Orwellian evasions.Today's New York Times' editorial appears to indulge a like propensity.

Dante's Ontology

A few years back I reviewed for Commonweal a fine collection of essays on Dante Alighieri. One of the essays in Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry spoke of Dante's debt to Neoplatonic metaphysics and said:

This is an ontology of the "image" or "icon," in which the sensible cosmos is viewed as a likeness of the intelligible reality that is its source.