Busted Halo
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Richard G. Malloy, SJ :
94 article(s)

Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
July 28th, 2009

The teachings of the Church about sexuality come from the same sources that the church consults to develop teachings on other matters like economics or liturgy, i.e., scripture and tradition.  What the church teaches about sexuality is rooted in understandings of what it is to be a human person in relationship with oneself, others and God.  Ultimately what the church teaches about sex is that we should be chaste.  Chastity is “the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man (sic) in his bodily and spiritual being” (CCC #2337).  Jesus became one of us “so that we might become God” (CCC #460).  In loving one another as Christ has loved us, we should realize that…

June 23rd, 2009
A skeptical Jesuit finds a holistic connection

When Dr. Hill removed his future son-in-law’s ruptured appendix two weeks before the wedding, it gave me a great line for the homily: “Salim is the only guy in history who is happy to see his father-in-law coming toward him with a knife.” It also gave me confidence in surgery. As I watched Salim and Bridget dance at the reception, I thought, “If Dr. Hill can make somebody that well, that quickly, maybe I should give him a call.”
Had to happen sometime. After passing fifty without ever having gone under the knife… it was time. The hernia on my bellybutton that used to be golf ball-size, was now a baseball. My waiting for it to fix itself didn’t seem to be working.
Dr. Hill looked…

March 4th, 2009
A Jesuit priest dares soon-to-be graduates to consider service

Unlike any time in recent history, college seniors are being forced to think long and hard about what’s next. Though some no doubt are struggling mightily to ignore that question for another few weeks, with the current economic crisis deepening and unemployment rising it’s understandable that young adults would have a lot of anxiety about it. For those who might feel paralyzed, I’d like to offer one suggestion: Be of service to others.
Look, you’re young, free and able to take a year and do something great for those who could really use your talents and energy. The Obama administration is encouraging more young people to consider some form of service. Grad schools look more closely at…

December 22nd, 2008
What will you give away?

How should we celebrate Christmas in tough times? Maybe the way we should have been celebrating the birth of Christ all along. All religious traditions call us to be generous and care for the poor and needy.
“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”
To see that saying framed and embroidered you have to watch It’s a Wonderful Life … very often and closely. Capra’s camera focuses in on the saying, which appears under the picture of Peter Bailey, as George and Uncle Billy discuss how to confront the run on the bank. George and Mary put up their honeymoon money to keep the “old, broken down” Bailey Building and Loan afloat, and out of the hands of miserly Mr. Potter,

December 1st, 2008
In response to Cara O'Brien's "Do We Invite God"

I smiled ruefully on reading Cara O’Brien’s article, “Do We Invite God?” Whether to “invite” God to the wedding is clearly a sincere question for her—and many other young adults. But it indicates both a common misconception (as if God needs an invitation to be present and care for us) and a fundamental mistake that many brides make by getting so wrapped up in their wedding that they miss the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony. I urge young couples to strive to keep things simple and get married, not “wed-Dinged.”
Many young women planning weddings think in terms of what is best for “me,” what “I” like, what “I”…

November 12th, 2008
A boomer contemplates the millenials on the night of the election

Nov. 4, 2008 — … I’m hanging out in an enormous public room at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. A large screen TV has one election coverage team chattering and there is an even larger screen on which is projected another channel’s chatterers. We flip from channel to channel (Fox News eliciting boos and laughs), while the screens flip between the talking heads and brightly colored maps of the U.S.A. The states are slowly filling, red and blue and more blue.
Dozens of students, black and white and Latino and Asian, lounge on couches or chat with friends. They type on laptops and click and text. Many have one ear bud from an iPod in one ear; the other ear is “open” for the outside world. This

February 12th, 2008
Security concerns for Barack Obama are evidence that race is still very much an issue for some Americans

Recently, several media outlets, including the New York Times, have printed stories on the increased security surrounding the Senator and his family. “Obama must be wary of the assassin’s gun” was a headline in The Australian…, a major newspaper in the land down under. Members of white hate groups increase their rabid, racist rhetoric on the internet, cowardly hiding their identities behind anonymous website login names, just as they used to hide under white hoods.
Whites should be infuriated and ashamed when we learn that a Google search “assassinate Obama” gets almost 200,000 hits. I am disgusted when I realize the admirable and brave Michelle Obama and her beautiful little

January 17th, 2008
Giving young adults what they truly want

“Fr. Malloy, are you a virgin?” So inquired an undergrad in my intro to sociology class. Every semester, usually just before Fall or Spring break, I hand out index cards and tell the students “we’ve been studying religion as an institution in society. Here’s your chance to ask a priest anything you ever wanted to ask. Go ahead. Write down your question. Don’t sign your name. No topic is off limits.”
The questions run the gamut from “Do you really believe God exists?” and “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” to “We know you’re really the exorcist for the diocese. C’mon, why can’t you just tell us?”…

December 27th, 2007
Rearranging my sense of the world

David Halberstam I will miss. Our relationships with writers tell us much about ourselves. As the young teacher and former student of C. S. Lewis says in Shadowlands, “We read to know we are not alone.” I feel more alone, and my world is a lesser place, without David Halberstam.
Some writers we like a lot. I’ve read most of Stephen King’s stories, and his On Writing is well worth any writer’s extensive study. Bag of Bones is one of the great stories about a writer (even if John Irving’s The World According to Garp is so much deeper and darker). Most of what King writes is addictively entertaining. Lots of long, late nights: Cujo. Misery. The Stand…. And if I could take only one DVD

July 25th, 2007
Why recent reports of the death of God are greatly exaggerated

Sam Harris’s The End of Faith (2004) has spawned a viral strain of books viscerally denigrating religion. Everything from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006) and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell (2006) to Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything… (2007) argue that religious claims—and those who make them—are unreasonable and can therefore be discounted or ignored. The publication of a spate of books that share such similar points of view raises obvious questions such as “why now?” and “why are these arguments receiving such a positive reception?” I believe it is because the Gospel message of love,

March 22nd, 2007
How the history of Chile can help us

Imagine being tortured and raped, and then being forced to watch as the ‘evil-doers’ rape your daughter. All the while you know you do not have the information they want. You simply do not know where your son is, and these security forces want to find him.
No, this is not some plot out of a Stephen King novel. This atrocity actually happened in Chile in the early 1980s when the U.S supported, brutal Pinochet dictatorship was in power. As part of my formation as a Jesuit priest, I served in Chile from 1981-1984. Everyone was aware of the practice of torture in the country. The protest group Sebastian Acevedo regularly, and at great risk to themselves, publicly denounced the use of torture. The group was named…

March 30th, 2006
Start acting like baboons…

“The good news for humans is that it looks like peaceable conditions, once established, can be maintained” says primatologist Frans de Waal. “And if Baboons can do it, why not us?”
In 2004, Stanford University biologist and neurologist Robert Sapolsky reported that violence considered normal among baboons, can be radically and permanently transformed. Over twenty years ago in Kenya, primatologists observed a troop of baboons whose social patterns reconfigured themselves when all the alpha males raiding a dump were wiped out by eating meat laced with bovine tuberculosis. Less aggressive males had not been welcome to go along with the tough guys, and all of a sudden there were no…

December 20th, 2005
Some thoughts on Christmas presence

HAVERTOWN, PA
December 1958
It’s helpful to have an older brother who’s taller than you. At the age of four Timmy is a year older and can reach things I can’t. One morning, he climbs up on a chair he’s put in the closet we’re not supposed to open, and sees toys on the shelf, new toys, still in their packages. Fun! He yanks down a set of blocks and a bunch of other stuff. Soon I’m busy playing with a new set of beautiful, blond, wooden blocks, putting them one on top of another, and then immediately knocking them down. Fun! All of a sudden, our Mom, seeing that we’ve discovered the Christmas stash early, pulls us into the kitchen. “Time for breakfast, boys. I’m making chocolate chip pancakes.” I love chocolate…

January 14th, 2002
A New Year's resolution to move out of our comfort zones

In the mid 1980s, I was studying theology in Boston. Several other young Jesuits and I moved from Cambridge—where the Jesuit School of Theology was located near Harvard Square—to live in Roxbury, the black and Latino section of town. Each day when I would get on a bus I would almost always be the only white person riding. As soon as I boarded, all conversation would cease. After a few days of these silent rides, a large black woman turned to me and said loudly, for all to hear, “Can you puhleeze tell me why it is that the Police is riding this bus?”
“No, Ma’am” I replied. “I’m not a cop. I’m a studying to be a priest. I’m living on Copeland Street.”…

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