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On my mind ...

It was American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr who famously declared that the Christian teaching on original sin is "the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith."

While it might be debated that original sin is the "only" empirically verifiable Christian doctrine, there can be little doubt that there is plenty of evidence to validate the Church's teaching about the fact and consequences of original sin.  Just read the papers and view the evening TV news. And, if you dare, look into the mirror of your own conscience.


Categories: Bishop Malone

Opening our hearts to strengthening marriage

If we care about addressing poverty, promoting the well-being of children, building stronger communities—we must at the same time care about strengthening marriages and families. The social science is clear on this point.
 
But a decisive question must be faced in order to move forward: What is marriage?


Categories: Bishop Malone

Papal priorities

Pope Francis has given to the Church four major teaching documents - two encyclical letters and two apostolic exhortations. We can add to these his announcement of a Jubilee Year of Mercy. In each of these documents, the pope invites us to deeper, stronger, and more authentic ways of living our faith as friends and followers of Jesus Christ sent on mission to bring the Gospel to the world. Consider a few examples ...


Categories: Bishop Malone

Pope Francis on the Joy of Love: A brief appetizer for the Apostolic Exhortation

By Bishop Richard J. Malone on 5/4/2016 9:26 AM

Pope Francis' eagerly awaited apostolic exhortation, fruit of the two Vatican synods on marriage and family, has arrived. It is titled "Amoris Laetitia," or the "Joy of Love." The title, as is the custom with major papal documents, is taken from the text's first line: "The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church." (This sentence is reminiscent of the first line of Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ("Gaudium et Spes") which reads "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the people of this age ... these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."

While the Holy Father does not avoid the difficulties and challenges experienced in family life - in fact he address them candidly and straight on - "The Joy of Love" is from beginning to end a celebration of the gift of marriage and family to the Church and, indeed, to the world.


Categories: Bishop Malone

The gift of confession (Have you been lately?)

By Bishop Richard J. Malone 3/2/2016

My confirmation homily this year begins with a question addressed to the confirmands: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  In more direct terms, what is different about my life because I am a Christian, a Catholic?  Can those who know me tell the difference Jesus makes in my life?  Can I?

Lent is the graced season to take an honest look at the authenticity and quality of our discipleship.  How intentional are we in our following of Christ?  How faithful is our living of the Gospel?  How grateful are we for the gift of faith?  How eager am I to share the joy of the Gospel with others?  And ... can I admit that, yes, I am a sinner?


Categories: Bishop Malone

New Year musings

By Bishop Richard J. Malone 1/5/2016

    The motto for this Jubilee Year of Mercy is, "Merciful like the Father." What will we allow this to mean in our lives? With God? With one another?

    • Vatican II declared: "Upon the Muslims, too, the Church looks with esteem." How dare any American suggest that refugees who profess the faith of Islam be prohibited from entry into the United States solely on that basis? 
    • Studies show that teens who practice the faith most often have parents who practice the faith.
    • Pray for vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, diaconate and Christian marriage!
    • College and university students: seek out and become active in your school's campus ministry community!


    Categories: Bishop Malone

    Take advantage of all the Jubilee Year of Mercy offers

    By Bishop Richard J. Malone 12/17/2015

    I write this month from Baltimore, where the bishops of the United States are gathered for our annual Fall Plenary Meeting.  As we concelebrated the Eucharist early this Sunday morning. I offered Mass for all of you who constitute the community of faith that is the Diocese of Buffalo.  (Did you know that diocesan bishops offer one Mass each Sunday and holy day of obligation pro populo, that is, "for the people," just as pastors are required to do weekly for their parishioners?)

    This Sunday Mass was different for me.  Before I went down to the large hotel meeting room that serves as our chapel, I was watching continuing TV coverage of the horrific massacre in Paris perpetrated by ISIS terrorists and resulting in 129 people killed and 352 injured.  Sitting quietly in the chapel for the half hour before Mass, I struggled to put aside, at least for that next hour, the emotions of shock, anger, sadness and, yes, anxiety that were roiling my soul.


    Categories: Bishop Malone

    Concern for refugees and immigrants

    By Bishop Richard J. Malone 11/23/2015

    We have all been horrified by the senseless terrorist attacks in Paris.  Join me in fervent prayer for victims of the massacre, for justice for ISIS leaders and killers, and for world peace.

    While there have been calls to close our borders to Syrian refugees fleeing the ravages of civil war, we cannot simply close our doors to refugees simply because they are from Syria.  But we must remain vigilant. Careful screening of all who wish to enter this country is needed.

    Pope Francis' concern for refugees and immigrants is very well known, as we see in this recent comment: "Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees - fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the hope of life - the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope," he said. "And not just to tell them, 'Have courage, be patient!'"


    Categories: Bishop Malone

    Thank You All - For Being Hope

    Saint Paul concludes his Second Epistle to the Corinthians with the prayer: "The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Cor.13:13). So often we begin Mass with the same words. They are literally the first and the last words.


    It Will Be Difficult to Leave

    As you know by now, from the announcement on October 20th, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II has appointed me to the Archdiocese of Hartford. I did not request the appointment, but I accept it. One does not refuse an appointment from the Holy Father. I am honored and humbled by it, and grateful to the Holy Father for the confidence he has expressed in me.


    Good News for Life

    This year as we approach Respect Life Sunday, October 5th, there is significant reason for hope on the horizon. It appears that finally a partial-birth abortion ban act may become law for our country. This would be a major development. It would be the first federal law since the Supreme Court Decisions Roe v. Wade and Roe v. Bolton on January 22, 1973, to forbid an abortion procedure.


    A Call to All

    We all will recall for years where we were on Thursday afternoon, August 14, when word of the blackout spread. Fortunately, Buffalo for the most part was spared. But north, south, east, and west of us, from the Midwest and Canada to the Atlantic seaboard suffered terrible disruption.


    Casino Gambling - Again

    Two years ago I devoted this column to the problems of casino gambling. Before that column was published, and since, I have spoken on television, radio, and at local meetings about casino gambling. Back in the 1970s, I was involved at the State level in discussions on the same issue.


    The Permanent Diaconate

    On Saturday, June 14, in Saint Joseph's Cathedral, I ordained six excellent men to the Permanent Diaconate: Philip Amantia Sr., Paul Emerson, Mark Nowak, Thomas Scherr, Paul L. Snyder III, and Stephen Swinarski. A capacity congregation offered praise and thanksgiving to God from hearts filled with respect and appreciation for such wonderful blessings on our Diocese.


    Difficult Times

    Every day presents its own challenges, and no week is immune from difficulties, but recent weeks and months have been particularly trying.


    The Wonder of the Eucharist

    Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, presented a special gift to the Church this past Holy Thursday. He published a beautiful encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, on the relationship of the Eucharist and the Church.


    To Be More Fully Alive

    During the Civil War 140 years ago people would go out from Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon with champagne and sandwiches to watch the progress of battles in Virginia. In the course of World War I, when the war of attrition set in, people would gather at sidewalk cafes in Europe to discuss casually the latest fashions as well as battle prospects.


    Categories: Bishop Mansell

    Coded for Life

    Streaks across the sky filled our television screens and our consciousness on February 1st, when seven valiant astronauts lost their lives in the tragic breakup of the space shuttle Columbia. Immediately our hearts were full of prayers for the magnificent seven, their families, and all they left behind.


    Many Minds: A Better Church

    In recent years concerns have been expressed in various parts of the United States on the need for more collaboration in the policy making processes and administration of dioceses and religious institutions. As we begin the New Year, I think it may be helpful to highlight some of the many structures we have in place in our Diocese which enable collaboration and promote accountability in our policies and administration.


    Christmas Message 2002

    Christmas brings people together. The exchange of cards conveys ongoing concern for one another.


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