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Brett Hoover, CSP :
34 article(s)

Ordained in 1997 as a Paulist priest, Fr. Brett is clinical assistant professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where he teaches pastoral theology and on the intersection of faith and culture. He received his Ph.D. in 2010 and has taught at Loyola University Chicago and the Catholic seminaries at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Fr. Brett is the author of three books, including the recently published Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul (New York: Riverhead, 2011). From 2001 to 2004, Fr. Brett co-founded and then served as editor of BustedHalo.com.
July 27th, 2012

Country: United States
Born: December 18, 1819
Died: December 22, 1888
Religion: Roman Catholic
Isaac Thomas Hecker was a 19th century writer, mystic, theologian and priest who saw a perfect spiritual combination in the Catholic focus on community and the American focus on individuality.

 

December 30th, 2009

This was the gathering of all the world’s Catholic bishops in the early 1960’s to renew the Catholic Church. It was called by Pope John XXIII who called its purpose aggiornamento which means “updating.”  John XXIII did not live to see the Council finish and Pope Paul VI presided over the conclusion of the council.…

December 2nd, 2009

The tabernacle is the chamber where leftover Eucharist is reserved for the sick or dying or to be used at a later mass.
If the consecrated body and/or blood of Christ is present inside there is a lit candle above or beside it. Most Catholic churches and some Episcopalian/Anglican churches observe this. Catholics genuflect before the tabernacle as a sign of reverence.  Usually tabernacles are focused in a central location behind the altar although some have them off to the side on a side altar.…

October 10th, 2009
When my son was three weeks old, he was admitted to emergency for a life saving operation - pyloric stenosis. The hospital baptized him Catholic prior to surgery. A week later he was able to come home and two weeks later, we had his Baptism at our family parish. Now, many years later, someone mentioned in a class that the 'second' Baptism was not official - that the hospital's Baptism was the 'real' one. How exactly would that work?

I think I can explain what was happening here.
In Catholic belief and practice, baptism is a ‘once for all time’ sacrament. You only get it once and it is effective forever. No one can ever change that you are a Christian and a member of the Body of Christ once it is done. That’s why we don’t rebaptize people from other Christian denominations as, for example, the Baptists do.
Generally what happens when a child receives emergency baptism in a hospital, is that s/he receives the additional rites of the ceremony in a parish celebration later on–prayers, reading, participation of godparents, anointing with holy chrism, receiving of the baptismal candle, etc. But generally the actual…

July 1st, 2005
Novelist Mary Gordon confronts faith and forgiveness in her new novel

So, do you really have to buy all that stuff for Catholic faith to mean something? I mean, does a person really have to be a believer?
At first, this seems to be the question at the center of novelist Mary Gordon’s latest work.
Pearl is the story of two once-Catholic New Yorkers?each deprived of mother or father by tragic circumstances early in life?who are raised together. Boisterous and ever political, Maria is a child of the 1960s, while her lifelong friend Joseph remains quiescent and dutiful; he becomes godfather to Maria’s fatherless daughter Pearl (this novel is the most concentrated tale of mixed biological-foster families since the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, or perhaps more to the…

August 13th, 2004
The sacraments, the internet and the wisdom of Andy Warhol

Supposedly, Andy Warhol once said that sex and parties were the only two events where you actually had to be there.
For a long time I’ve been wondering—are sacraments the third?
Virtual JesusIn May of 2004 BH operations director Mike Hayes and I were leading a discussion on faith and the media at the University of Notre Dame. Everything got a little wacky when we introduced the topic of Eucharistic adoration online.
If you’re already confused, here’s the deal: Eucharistic adoration is the Catholic custom of placing before the people a large host that has been consecrated at Mass in a special sun-shaped viewing chamber (called a monstrance) on the altar for a special period of prayer and meditation.…

June 6th, 2004
Mercy and Mourning for My Enemy

I couldn’t help it. “Good riddance,” I mumbled, as the news came through that Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States, had died on Saturday, June 5, 2004.
In these days following his passing, it has seemed like nearly every other American was praising his achievements—the president-savior who gave us “morning in America, the tough guy who felled the Berlin Wall, the grandfatherly “Great Communicator” who reassured us.
I scowl, feeling like the man in Bermuda shorts at the winter formal. By my accounting, President Reagan bequeathed our world one nightmare after another. How does someone like me honestly mourn his passing?
Ronnie and me back in college…

March 6th, 2004
Solidarity As a Tool Against Terror

Spring arrives, and young people’s hearts turn to?terrorism.
On screen
It must have been just about the 21st day of March 2004 that I walked into the Columbus Circle subway station, approached a Metro Card vending machine, and instead of being cheerfully asked whether I wanted to refill my card or purchase a new one, I was told the following:
“If you see something, say something.”
That’s our problem
Actually this has actually been the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s security slogan for months, but after the 3/11 Madrid train bombing it suddenly appeared on every vending machine and in every train car. Where it remains until today, trying to get us to think differently about…

February 25th, 2004
Long Awaited Catholic Soul-Searching with Mixed Results

The two reports released Friday, February 27, 2004, on sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy are unprecedented in the history of any institution.
When the reports, one conducted by the National Review Board of the U.S. Catholic Church, the other by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City (commissioned by the Board), conclude that�over the last fifty years�4% of Catholic priests (10% of the seminary class of 1970!) have had credible accusations of sexual abuse against them by minors, there is no such similar study of comprehensive numbers to compare it to in any other profession. Both reports note this with caution.
And there are other difficulties�not enough attention was paid to victims.…

December 6th, 2003
Catholics and the Complications of U.S. Immigration Policy

“There’s so many of them,” the septuagenarian remarked to a large gathering of us over dinner that night. “With all the people coming here from everywhere, can New York City really make room, come up with an apartment for every new immigrant family?” There was a clear note of doubt in his voice. I wanted to speak, but one of his contemporaries did instead: “Didn’t New York City have enough room for your parents when they came here from Eastern Europe?”
I suppose there is something natural about wanting to shut the door behind us, fearful there won’t be enough for everyone?enough jobs, enough wealth, enough housing. Here in New York City, enough simple…

October 10th, 2003
Non-Hispanic America Realizes Who's Arrived in Town

Times have changed. Have you noticed how different things are today?
As a generic white kid growing up in Southern California, I couldn’t help but notice the prejudice local Latino folks endured. My high school was in a mixed neighborhood, and a lot of white classmates felt it imperative to deride Mexicans from the neighborhood. I heard hardworking, proud people stereotyped as indolent or dangerous; they were caricatured on paper with absurdly large farm hats, and pejoratively called beaners after the staple food of Tex-Mex restaurants.
I didn’t protest.
What whites say and do
But across L.A., other whites were behaving better. Clergy, activists, and Hollywood types were boycotting grapes…

September 11th, 2003
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial at Shanksville, PA

Shanksville, PA, Sept. 7, 2003—About ten miles off the Pennsylvania Turnpike (about 80 miles before you get to Pittsburgh), Shanksville is small town America incarnate. It must be the mostly unlikely place imaginable for the U.S. to come face-to-face with Al Qaeda.
But that happened here on September 11, 2001, when United Flight 93, angling down at high speed, turned and hit a field outside town with such force that there was no piece left of it larger than the cab of a pickup truck. A plume of black smoke hung over the town. Pieces of the aircraft were thrown back into the air, some landing as far away as the other side of the mountain.
Tending to the memoryLocal people told me this when I came to visit the temporary memorial…

August 29th, 2003
Nothing to Do During the Blackout, New Yorkers Did Well

The power actually browned out—gradually—in our section of midtown Manhattan on August 14 at 4:10 p.m. But before ten full minutes had elapsed, everything was completely gone.
Like for most of those affected, the information came in slowly. We assumed it was just our immediate neighborhood. Then we heard it was the whole City. Then: New Jersey and Connecticut too.
Soon we got our ‘D’ batteries from the local newstand and got the full report off the radio—fifty million people across the Eastern Seaboard up to Toronto and Ottawa in Canada.
New Yorkers, of course, remember the infamous Blackout of 1977, when looting caused panic and millions of dollars in damage. No one knew if a similar fate awaited…

August 22nd, 2003
Finding Marguerite's Dream in the Red Rock Desert

Ash Wednesday, 1932
An art student stands on the avenue in New York City in 1932, looking up at the Empire State Building, recently completed.
Most people from around the world have been impressed by the mammoth structure, awed by its ramrod straightness. Inevitably some visitors think of King Kong.
But on that day Marguerite Brunswig, en route home from Ash Wednesday mass, saw in the building’s art decco structure something unusual—the bulging form of a Cross. And it spun in her head the idea of a cruciform, almost-Gothic church built in the manner of these massive modern buildings (she passed Rockefeller Center on the way to her 85th St. apartment).
Seventy plus years later I—adopted New Yorker, priest,…

July 12th, 2003
The Curious Novel Life of Pi Uncovers Real Faith

Though more than 90% of us in the U.S. say we believe in Him, God may seem no more real to many of us than, say, Arnold Schwarzeneggar?sure, we’ve seen Him in the movies (Morgan Freedman in Bruce Almighty, Alanis Morissette in Dogma ), but isn’t He making his big impact somewhere else (Sodom and Gomorrah? California?).
The mother of all precarious situations
Yet for our age of the secular believing, novelist Yann Martel has given us Life of Pi , “a story that will make you believe in God.” Not a miracle story, not a sentimental touched-by-an-angel story, this is the tale of Piscine Molitor Patel, an Indian teenager (named after a swimming pool in Paris) who has been set adrift on the Pacific…

July 10th, 2003
What W. Said on an Island off Senegal

July 10 — President Bush is off barnstorming Africa, and there’s been no shortage of drama from the very beginning.
On the Tuesday after the Fourth of July, the President of Senegal, Adboulaye Wade, literally took him by the hand as they toured Gor?e Island , the westernmost point in Africa.
Over a million slaves were sent to the Americas from the port at Gor?e Island.
The photographs and video show a disturbed George W. Bush, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security advisor Condoleeza Rice, their faces grave with the horror of historical memory. In the president’s speech, he went right to religious terms to get to the enormity of “one of the greatest crimes of history.”…

June 1st, 2003
A Cardinal Complains, a Board Chair Resigns - What Does It All Mean?

JUNE 18, New York – This week the head of the U.S. Catholic Church’s National Review Board, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, resigned suddenly from his post. The National Review Board is charged with monitoring the Church’s reforms in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal.
Governor vs. cardinal
The drama that led to this conclusion occurred in full public view last week. Though pretty complicated (even to church insiders), it seems to have unfolded pretty much like this:

In May, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles had led the California bishops in resolving not to fill out a research survey on clergy sexual abuse, alarmed by the specter of lawsuits and media leaks.
In a June 12 L.A.

May 1st, 2003

Several years ago, after I made a pretty self-righteous remark at a church meeting, I was reproached as having “no right to be so flip for someone so young” (I was 24 at the time, in my first year of seminary). Feeling bruised in the ego, I counterattacked, accusing the person of discriminating… against me because I was young. Oh brother.
Things have a way of coming back to haunt you.
I was in Toronto (last summer, pre-SARS) when the Pope came to visit . At an assembly of about 150 college and high school students, a bishop from California was speaking from a prepared text about reconciliation, what it means to turn back to God. He then gave the students a chance to talk to one another in groups and then to report

April 27th, 2003
Learning to Live in the Messy World of Relationships

Recently a certain American Catholic bishop, who shall remain nameless, was characterized by a seasoned priest I know as “a man who loves order more than people.”
It certainly wasn’t meant as a compliment, but believe it or not, he made the remark more in sorrow than in bitterness, as part of a general lament about what life has come to in the United States.
In the U.S. we are very attached to order, and most of the time it is to our credit. The mail gets delivered. The fire department comes when called. You can get those grapefruit and chewable vitamins you need from your neighborhood grocery.
The human mess
But the desire for tidiness in our affairs can collide with the messy world of human relationships.…

February 26th, 2003
Scripture Reflections for Sundays in Lent

Readings:
Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Rm 8:31b-34
Mk 9:2-10
Are you willing to risk everything for love?
This may sound… like the refrain of a Celine Dion song, but instead it is the question that confronts us in the readings from this Sunday of Lent .
First it eats at us in the bizarre tale of God asking the biblical hero Abraham to sacrifice his son and heir Isaac. Of course, God stops him at the last minute, but you have to wonder what’s up with this story. Some scholars see in it an ancient parable against child sacrifice (message: we think this is what God wants, but it isn’t really). Others say it’s symbolic of an initiation ritual�boys being made into men, undergoing an ordeal, close to pain and

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