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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Sept. 12, 2023

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and


A very fine priest in a very fine parish recently gave a homily emphasizing love of neighbor in which he inadvertently got a little carried away when he said, in effect, the following: “It is essential for you to place the highest emphasis on loving your neighbor. You may ask me about the commandment to love God, but the only way we have to love God is by loving our neighbor.”

Now, I am convinced that this priest did not mean to emphasize love of neighbor in exactly this way. I have heard him preach often, and this is clearly contrary to his fundamental spirituality, and to his own closeness to God. Here, I believe, he slipped into a misleading rhetorical flourish. What he almost certainly had in mind was St. John’s statement that “If any one says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) …

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