Memory and Gratitude, by Francis X. Maier

The Mass Is Under Attack. Will Francis Speak? by F. A. Grabowski
December 9, 2020
This Christmas, COVID Has Cast a Pall Over Bethlehem, by John Burger
December 9, 2020

*Photo (above): Battle weary U.S. Marines rest at the altar of a Roman Catholic church (South Vietnam, May 1967 [AP])

By Francis X. Maier, The Catholic Thing, December 9, 2020

Francis X. Maier is a senior fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and senior research associate at the University of Notre Dame.

Note: We’re in the last days of our end-of-year fund drive and I’m grateful to the many of you who have responded. But we still need quite a few more donations to reach the finish line. As Fran Maier eloquently makes clear in today’s column, we need not only to believe in the abstract but to live what we believe. At The Catholic Thing, we believe that the very best we can do is provide readers with commentary and news, inspiration and careful thought, every day of the year. If you believe in the value of that as well, we need you to show it now. Too much of the Church has lost its voice or its courage in recent decades. Help us keep The Catholic Thing a bold voice for both the Church and the world, in 2021 and for years to come. – Robert Royal 

Francis X. MaierThe problem with Christians, Charles Péguy (reportedly) once said, is that they don’t believe what they believe.  It’s a clever line.  Whether he actually said it, I have no idea.  But it doesn’t matter.  Because either way, the words are true.  Until we suffer for what we believe, or have our hearts changed by the witness of others who suffer, our faith is untested and aspirational; a matter of good intentions.  Which brings me to my best friend Joe.

The father of eight and a former Marine, Joe is a classic command personality: rational, organized, and driven to perform.  He spent the closing decades of his career as the president/CEO of two successive multibillion-dollar companies, and the skills it took to get and stay there, he learned in the Corps.  For 13 months in 1967-68, Joe led a Marine infantry company in the Dong Ha area, just south of the DMZ and hard against the North Vietnamese border.  Enemy activity was high.  Thus, along with normal patrolling, Joe had civil affairs duties, befriending and securing the local population.  As it turned out, many of the local Vietnamese were Catholic, like Joe.  And that’s how he met Father Paul.  …

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