Angelus News | May 3, 2024 | Vol. 9 No. 9

On the cover: In an age of shrinking family sizes and rising living costs, the decision to get married seems more daunting than ever. But a new book with the blunt title “Get Married” argues that marriage’s benefits outweigh its supposed burdens. On Page 10, Elise Italiano Ureneck compares its findings to her own marriage experience, and on Page 14, Theresa Cisneros reports from a special retreat preparing engaged couples with lessons learned from strong, successful Catholic marriages.

On the cover: In an age of shrinking family sizes and rising living costs, the decision to get married seems more daunting than ever. But a new book with the blunt title “Get Married” argues that marriage’s benefits outweigh its supposed burdens. On Page 10, Elise Italiano Ureneck compares its findings to her own marriage experience, and on Page 14, Theresa Cisneros reports from a special retreat preparing engaged couples with lessons learned from strong, successful Catholic marriages.


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MISSIoN<br />


With the family in decline,<br />

can Catholic couples turn the tide?<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> <strong>Vol</strong>. 9 <strong>No</strong>. 9

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong><br />

<strong>Vol</strong>. 9 • <strong>No</strong>. 9<br />

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In an age of shrinking family sizes and rising living costs, the decision<br />

to get married seems more daunting than ever. But a new book with<br />

the blunt title “Get Married” argues that marriage’s benefits outweigh<br />

its supposed burdens. On Page 10, Elise Italiano Ureneck compares<br />

its findings to her own marriage experience, and on Page 14, Theresa<br />

Cisneros reports from a special retreat preparing engaged couples with<br />

lessons learned from strong, successful Catholic marriages.<br />



Forty-nine students at Providence<br />

Catholic High School in Burbank, along<br />

with Performing Arts Program Director<br />

Marisa Bradfield and teacher Tracy<br />

Stroh, traveled for a six-day trip to New<br />

York City to perform at Carnegie Hall<br />

on April 6.


Pope Watch............................................... 2<br />

Archbishop Gomez................................. 3<br />

World, Nation, and Local <strong>News</strong>...... 4-6<br />

In Other Words........................................ 7<br />

Father Rolheiser....................................... 8<br />

Scott Hahn.............................................. 32<br />

Events Calendar..................................... 33<br />

18<br />

20<br />

22<br />

24<br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

Twenty years later, archdiocese’s abuse prevention efforts still evolving<br />

Meet the four-most experts in keeping kids in the archdiocese safe<br />

John Allen: Why Dignitas Infinita is more about sociology than doctrine<br />

The mounting medical evidence for why women should ditch ‘the pill’<br />

Greg Erlandson: Looking back at the lessons learned from the O.J. trial<br />

‘Civil War’ has more to say about the press than politics<br />

Heather King: What happened when I ‘sought first the kingdom’ as a writer<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 1


A forgotten virtue<br />

The following is adapted from the<br />

Holy Father’s catechesis to visitors and<br />

pilgrims during his weekly Wednesday<br />

audience in St. Peter’s Square April 17.<br />

The virtue of temperance is a<br />

power over oneself, the capacity<br />

for self-mastery, the art of not<br />

letting oneself be overcome by rebellious<br />

passions.<br />

People without temperance, who act<br />

always moved by impulse or exuberance,<br />

are ultimately unreliable. In a<br />

world where many people boast about<br />

saying what they think, the temperate<br />

person instead prefers to think about<br />

what he says.<br />

Also with pleasures, the temperate<br />

person acts judiciously. The free course<br />

of impulses and total license accorded<br />

to pleasures end up backfiring on us,<br />

plunging us into a state of boredom.<br />

How many people who have wanted<br />

to try everything voraciously have<br />

found themselves losing the taste for<br />

everything! It is better, then, to seek the<br />

right measure: for example, to appreciate<br />

a good wine, to taste it in small sips<br />

is better than swallowing it all in one go.<br />

The temperate person knows how to<br />

weigh words and does them well. He<br />

thinks about what he says. He does<br />

not allow a moment’s anger to ruin<br />

relationships and friendships that can<br />

then only be rebuilt with difficulty.<br />

Especially in family life, where inhibitions<br />

are lower, we all run the risk of not<br />

keeping tensions, irritations, and anger<br />

in check. There is a time to speak and<br />

a time to be silent, but both require the<br />

right measure.<br />

If the temperate person knows how to<br />

control his own irascibility, this does not<br />

mean we always find him with a peaceful<br />

and smiling face. Indeed, at times it<br />

is necessary to be indignant, but always<br />

in the right way.<br />

A word of rebuke is at times healthier<br />

than a sour, rancorous silence. The<br />

temperate person knows that nothing<br />

is more uncomfortable than correcting<br />

another person, but he also knows that<br />

it is necessary; otherwise, one offers free<br />

reign to evil. In some cases, the temperate<br />

person succeeds in holding extremes<br />

together: he affirms absolute principles,<br />

asserts non-negotiable values, but also<br />

knows how to understand people and<br />

shows empathy for them.<br />

The gift of the temperate person is<br />

therefore balance, a quality as precious<br />

as it is rare. Indeed, everything in our<br />

world pushes to excess. Instead, temperance<br />

combines well with Gospel values<br />

such as smallness, discretion, modesty,<br />

meekness. The temperate person appreciates<br />

the respect of others but does<br />

not make it the sole criterion for every<br />

action and every word.<br />

He is sensitive, he is able to weep<br />

and is not ashamed, but he does not<br />

weep over himself. In defeat, he rises<br />

up again; in victory, he is capable of<br />

returning to his former reserved life. He<br />

does not seek applause but knows that<br />

he needs others.<br />

It is not true that temperance makes<br />

one gray and joyless. On the contrary,<br />

it lets one enjoy the goods of life better:<br />

staying together at the table, the tenderness<br />

of certain friendships, confidence<br />

with wise people, wonder at the beauty<br />

of creation. Happiness with temperance<br />

is the joy that flourishes in the heart of<br />

those who recognize and value what<br />

counts most in life.<br />

Papal Prayer Intention for <strong>May</strong>: We pray that religious<br />

women and men, and seminarians, grow in their own<br />

vocations through their human, pastoral, spiritual, and<br />

community formation, leading them to be credible witnesses<br />

to the Gospel.<br />

2 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>



Where Mary is, we will find her Son<br />

On <strong>May</strong> 4, I will have the<br />

privilege to celebrate Mass at<br />

the Grotto in Lourdes, France,<br />

where the Virgin Mary was said to<br />

appear to St. Bernadette Soubirous in<br />

1858.<br />

It will be my first time in Lourdes,<br />

and I’m grateful for the invitation of<br />

the Order of Malta to join them on<br />

their yearly pilgrimage. And as I’ve<br />

been preparing for the Mass and for<br />

the Marian month of <strong>May</strong>, I find myself<br />

reflecting on the Blessed Mother’s<br />

role in salvation history and in our<br />

spiritual lives.<br />

There is a simple line in the Gospel<br />

account of the wedding feast at Cana.<br />

It reads: “And the mother of Jesus was<br />

there.”<br />

For me, this is the great truth: the<br />

Mother of Jesus was there. <strong>No</strong>t only at<br />

Cana, but from the beginning. Salvation<br />

history unfolds through her.<br />

In the fullness of time, God sent his<br />

holy angel to Mary to announce the<br />

coming of Jesus.<br />

She was also there to present him as<br />

an infant in the Temple, and again<br />

to find him teaching in his “Father’s<br />

house.”<br />

Mary helped Jesus to grow from a<br />

child to a man during the long, hidden<br />

years at Nazareth.<br />

And Mary was there at Cana when<br />

he began his public ministry. She was<br />

the one who asked him to perform his<br />

first miracle.<br />

She followed him in the crowds as<br />

he proclaimed the kingdom. And the<br />

mother of Jesus was there when her<br />

Son died, keeping her station at the<br />

foot of his cross.<br />

Finally, Mary was there at the birth<br />

of the Church, praying with the<br />

apostles for the Holy Spirit to come<br />

down at Pentecost.<br />

St. Pope John Paul II once said,<br />

“Where she is, her Son cannot fail to<br />

be.”<br />

That was true in the days of the Gospel.<br />

And it will always be true. Mary<br />

continues to be the maternal face of<br />

the Father’s mercy. In every age, in<br />

every place, and in every heart.<br />

In the course of history, some have<br />

claimed to see apparitions of Our<br />

Lady, and the Church has recognized<br />

some of these private revelations, such<br />

as those at Lourdes.<br />

Here in the Americas, we are already<br />

preparing to celebrate, in 2031, the<br />

500th anniversary of the apparitions<br />

of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan<br />

Diego at Tepeyac, near Mexico City.<br />

The Catechism says that these private<br />

revelations do not add to what God<br />

revealed in sending Jesus Christ into<br />

the world. Instead, these apparitions<br />

help us to live his Gospel “more fully”<br />

in a “certain period of history.”<br />

When Mary comes, as she did at<br />

Lourdes and Tepeyac, she brings a<br />

message of hope and healing, telling<br />

us that God is with us until the end of<br />

ages, and he will never leave us.<br />

At Lourdes, Mary chose to reveal<br />

herself to a humble girl from a poor<br />

family, who knew her prayers and<br />

went to church, but didn’t know how<br />

to read or write.<br />

Mary appeared as a young woman,<br />

dressed in white, making the sign of<br />

the cross, with a rosary in her hand.<br />

St. Bernadette said the Lady was too<br />

beautiful to describe.<br />

When Bernadette asked who she<br />

was, the Lady smiled sweetly and said,<br />

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”<br />

Then she disappeared, still smiling.<br />

In this simple way, Mary reminded<br />

us that she is the Immaculate One,<br />

the holy mother of God, who brings a<br />

new beginning to the human race, by<br />

the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus.<br />

The saints teach us, “To Jesus<br />

through Mary.” We go to Jesus<br />

through Mary because Jesus came to<br />

us through Mary.<br />

Through Mary, we understand the<br />

truth that she is our mother, too, that<br />

we are God’s children, his sons and<br />

daughters, beloved by the Father who<br />

made us and knows our name.<br />

Through Mary, we know that Jesus<br />

wants to be born in every heart, that<br />

he wants to make all things new, to<br />

heal what is broken, to wipe away all<br />

the tears, to free us from sorrow and<br />

death.<br />

As a good mother, Mary teaches us<br />

the way to live as children of God.<br />

Her last words in the Gospels are in<br />

the story of Cana, when she tells the<br />

servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”<br />

This is the way: to follow Jesus, to<br />

know him and love him; to listen to<br />

him, and to make him the model for<br />

our lives. To do whatever he tells us<br />

to do.<br />

When Mary comes, as she did at Lourdes and Tepeyac,<br />

she brings a message of hope and healing.<br />

Pray for me and I will pray for you.<br />

And in this Marian month of <strong>May</strong>,<br />

let us all deepen our love for our<br />

Blessed Mother.<br />

Let’s pray the rosary with new devotion,<br />

with new love, with new desire<br />

to enter into its mysteries.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 3

WORLD<br />

■ <strong>No</strong>tre Dame gets an<br />

official reopening date<br />

The archbishop of Paris announced<br />

that <strong>No</strong>tre Dame Cathedral<br />

will reopen later this year on<br />

Dec. 7.<br />

Paris Archbishop Laurent Ulrich<br />

made the announcement on April<br />

15, exactly five years after much of<br />

the church was destroyed in a fire.<br />

The reopening proceedings will<br />

include an official inauguration<br />

with the French state, the formal<br />

owner of the cathedral, who will<br />

turn it over to the Church for use<br />

in worship. It will be followed<br />

by six months of celebrations,<br />

Masses, pilgrimages, prayers, and<br />

exhibitions.<br />

The renovation, which will<br />

restore the cathedral to its original<br />

design, cost an estimated $767<br />

million, which has been more<br />

than covered by the approximately<br />

$928 million donated to the<br />

project.<br />

Poland’s last stand?— Amid plans by the government to liberalize abortion in the country, some 50,000 Poles participated<br />

in a National March for Life in the capital, Warsaw. The president of the Polish bishops’ conference, Archbishop<br />

Tadeusz Wojda of Gdansk, called April 14 a “day of prayer in defense of conceived life” throughout the country. | OSV<br />


■ Australia:<br />

Orthodox<br />

bishop offers<br />

forgiveness<br />

after stabbing<br />

An Assyrian Orthodox<br />

bishop in Australia<br />

shared a message<br />

of forgiveness after<br />

surviving a terrorist<br />

attack in the middle<br />

of a livestreamed<br />

liturgy.<br />

Bishop Mar Mari<br />

Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel before being attacked during a livestreamed<br />


Emmanuel suffered nonlife-threatening injuries from being stabbed while<br />

celebrating Mass at Christ the Good Shepherd Church outside of Sydney on<br />

April 15.<br />

“I forgive whoever has done this act, and I say to him you are my son, I love<br />

you, and I will always pray for you,” Emmanuel said in remarks from his hospital<br />

bed. “And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well.”<br />

Police called the stabbing a “terrorist incident” and arrested a 16-year-old male<br />

suspect. Riots broke out following the church stabbing, leading Emmanuel to<br />

call for peace.<br />

“I need you to act Christ-like,” he said. “The Lord Jesus never taught us to<br />

fight.”<br />

■ NYC cardinal sheltered<br />

during Iran missile strike<br />

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan<br />

was forced to seek shelter during Iran’s<br />

aerial attack against Israel April 14.<br />

Iran launched more than 300 ballistic<br />

missiles and drones toward the<br />

country in retaliation for an Israeli<br />

attack on an Iranian compound in<br />

Syria. It was Iran’s first-ever direct attack<br />

on Israel, and more than 99% of<br />

the artillery was intercepted in a coordinated<br />

effort between Israeli, British,<br />

American, and Jordanian forces.<br />

Dolan, who was visiting the region<br />

as part of his duties as chair of the<br />

Catholic Near East Welfare Association,<br />

had just finished saying Mass in<br />

Bethlehem when the air raid sirens<br />

went off. He was able to take shelter at<br />

the <strong>No</strong>tre Dame of Jerusalem Center,<br />

a nearby pilgrim center.<br />

“This Sunday in Bethlehem all does<br />

seem calm and bright, and it is for us.<br />

We feel safe and secure,” Dolan said<br />

in a video update posted to X.<br />

4 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

NATION<br />

■ Survey describes average newly ordained US priest<br />

The average newly ordained U.S. priest is a 34-year-old cradle Catholic who<br />

regularly prays the rosary and takes part in Eucharistic adoration.<br />

That profile comes from demographic information released by The Center<br />

for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) on the 2023 class of priestly<br />

ordinations, one of two new national surveys looking at the Catholic experience<br />

in America.<br />

The other, an April 15 Pew Research Center survey, found that the percentage<br />

of Americans who are Catholics has remained stable at around 20%, and that a<br />

third of that number are Hispanic. Hispanic Catholics also trend younger than<br />

the average Catholic, while the average Catholic tends to be older than the<br />

average American.<br />

On matters of practice and teaching, the survey showed a break between<br />

individual Catholics and the Church. Six in 10 U.S. Catholics said they believe<br />

abortion should be legal, and just 3 in 10 attend Mass weekly.<br />

New York Attorney General Letitia James. | OSV NEWS/<br />


■ Brooklyn Diocese agrees<br />

to independent monitor in<br />

abuse settlement<br />

The Diocese of Brooklyn has agreed<br />

to install an independent monitor to<br />

oversee its abuse reporting procedures<br />

as part of a settlement with the New<br />

York state attorney general.<br />

The settlement, which also includes<br />

a commitment to “strengthen” its<br />

abuse reporting procedures, was announced<br />

by New York Attorney General<br />

Letitia James April 16, following a<br />

six-year investigation into the diocese’s<br />

handling of sex abuse cases.<br />

James’ report said the diocese “did<br />

not adequately address allegations of<br />

sexual abuse and misconduct,” including<br />

a case where it failed to notify<br />

parishioners that a priest had admitted<br />

to sexually abusing minors.<br />

“New Yorkers deserve to trust their<br />

faith leaders, and my office will continue<br />

to support the diocese’s efforts to<br />

rebuild that trust with their community,”<br />

she also said.<br />

Bishop Robert Brennan of Brooklyn<br />

said he was “deeply sorry that [the<br />

Church] was a place of trauma for<br />

the victims of clergy sexual abuse”<br />

rather than a sanctuary, and said the<br />

diocese would “move forward with<br />

the strongest policies in place for the<br />

protection of children and adults.”<br />

■ Vatican orders end to Texas monastery feud<br />

The Vatican has placed a troubled Texas monastery under the control of a religious<br />

association of monasteries instead of that of its local bishop.<br />

The Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas, had been engaged<br />

in a yearlong feud with Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth since he started investigating<br />

allegations that its prioress had broken her vow of chastity with a priest.<br />

Last August, the monastery raised eyebrows when it declared it no longer recognized<br />

Olson’s authority. The Vatican decree, dated April 18, ordered the nuns<br />

to “withdraw and rescind” that declaration and “regularize” its relationship with<br />

Olson, who will still retain canonical authority over the monastery.<br />

“It is my prayer that the Arlington Carmel will now have the internal leadership<br />

needed to save the monastery and enable it to flourish once again, in unity with<br />

the Catholic Church,” said Olson in a statement.<br />

Baltimore’s communion of saints — Hundreds gather outside Sacred Heart of Jesus/Sagrado Corazón de Jesús<br />

Church in Baltimore following an April 8 prayer service and candlelight procession in memory of the six Hispanic<br />

crewmen who perished in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. The service included six minutes of silence<br />

in memory of each of the victims, who were natives of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. | OSV<br />


<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 5

LOCAL<br />

■ LA-area Catholic schools<br />

earn national award for music<br />

programs<br />

Five Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of<br />

Los Angeles were honored with The NAMM<br />

Foundation’s SupportMusic Merit Award,<br />

which recognizes campuses for their support<br />

of music education and efforts to ensure<br />

access to music for all students. The archdiocesan<br />

schools were among 122 K-12 public<br />

and private schools nationwide chosen for the<br />

award.<br />

The five schools honored in the archdiocese<br />

are Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High<br />

School in Los Angeles, St. Bernardine of Siena<br />

Catholic School in Woodland Hills, Good<br />

Shepherd Catholic School in Beverly Hills,<br />

San Gabriel Mission School in San Gabriel,<br />

and St. Anthony School in San Gabriel.<br />

The foundation is supported by the National<br />

Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)<br />

and promotes music participation through<br />

financial assistance, music research, and educational<br />

activities.<br />

■ Filipino priest<br />

named new<br />

auxiliary bishop<br />

for Sacramento<br />

Pope Francis has appointed<br />

a Sacramento pastor as<br />

an auxiliary bishop for the<br />

Diocese of Sacramento,<br />

the Vatican announced<br />

April 20.<br />

Father Reynaldo Bersabal,<br />

59, was ordained a<br />

priest of the Archdiocese<br />

of Cagayan de Oro in the<br />

Philippines in 1991, but<br />

became a priest of the<br />

Diocese of Sacramento 13<br />

years later. Most recently, Bishop-elect Reynaldo Bersabal | STEVE GERMAN<br />

he has served as pastor of<br />

St. Francis of Assisi Church in Sacramento since 2022.<br />

“Bishop-elect Rey came as an immigrant priest bringing the rich cultural<br />

heritage of the Filipino people,” Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto<br />

said in a statement. “He became part of a presbyterate and people that is<br />

a global Catholic kaleidoscope of faith and charity radiating the historic<br />

credal customs from Portugal, Italy, Ireland, China, Poland, Africa, and<br />

more. Bishop-elect Rey has learned a lot and given much during his 25<br />

years as a priest in Sacramento.”<br />

Feted for 40 — <strong>No</strong>el Díaz, founder of El Sembrador-ESNE-TV/Radio, speaks during the media<br />

ministry’s 40th anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels April 6. ESNE is a Los<br />

Angeles-based media broadcasting company geared toward Hispanic Catholics. | VICTOR ALEMÁN<br />

■ San Jose bishop praises DA in<br />

reversing death-penalty sentences<br />

Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Diocese of San Jose<br />

praised a California district attorney for seeking<br />

to convert 15 prisoners’ death sentences to life in<br />

prison without the possibility of parole.<br />

Jeff Rosen, the district attorney for Santa Clara<br />

County, announced on April 5 that he had filed<br />

a petition to re-sentence the 15 men, saying he<br />

had “lost faith in capital punishment as a fair<br />

and effective crime deterrent.”<br />

Rosen pointed to a 2019 California law that<br />

allows district attorneys to re-sentence a person<br />

if they determine the sentence no longer serves<br />

justice.<br />

“Judges and juries of the people should decide<br />

where an inmate dies. God should decide<br />

when,” Rosen said, while acknowledging the<br />

“horrible” crimes committed by the inmates.<br />

In a statement, Cantú, whose diocese includes<br />

Santa Clara County, praised Rosen’s “prophetic<br />

and principled decision.”<br />

“The Church advocates for a consistent ethic of<br />

life, encompassing the unborn, the poor, the migrant,<br />

the sick, and those in the criminal justice<br />

system,” Cantú said. “It is a call to move away<br />

from punitive justice toward restorative justice<br />

that heals and rebuilds lives.”<br />

Y<br />

6 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

V<br />


Letters to the Editor<br />

A moment to be proud of<br />

On behalf of the SoCal Immigration Task Force, we wish to express our<br />

profound gratitude for the beautiful event that unfolded at St. Frances X.<br />

Cabrini Church in South LA on Holy Saturday, featured as the cover story in the<br />

April 19 issue of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

Witnessing undocumented migrants being reunited with their loved ones after<br />

years of separation was truly heartwarming. We are filled with immense pride to<br />

see the Church play a pivotal role in facilitating such emotional reunions.<br />

We extend our most sincere appreciation to Bishop Matthew Elshoff, the parish,<br />

volunteers, and the event organizers who dedicated their time and efforts to make<br />

this day extraordinary. Their compassion and commitment exemplify the spirit of<br />

community and solidarity.<br />

This event serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for immigration<br />

reform. As people of faith, we are called to embrace the stranger and advocate for<br />

justice. Let us not forget the biblical imperative to welcome the stranger, for in<br />

doing so, we honor the teachings of Christ.<br />

— Isaac Cuevas, LA Archdiocese Office of Immigration Affairs, SoCal Immigration<br />

Task Force<br />

Y<br />

Continue the conversation! To submit a letter to the editor, visit <strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/Letters-To-The-Editor<br />

and use our online form or send an email to editorial@angelusnews.com. Please limit to 300 words. Letters<br />

may be edited for style, brevity, and clarity.<br />

Okaja for orphans<br />

“It makes it easier to go all in<br />

with one another when you<br />

go all in with God first.”<br />

~ Daniel Brown, who got married in <strong>No</strong>vember 2023<br />

in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., in an April<br />

18 Catholic Standard article on the journey of love<br />

and faith for newly married couples.<br />

“There is no compassion in<br />

stepping over people in the<br />

streets.”<br />

~ California Gov. Gavin <strong>News</strong>om, in an April 18<br />

CalMatters article on the Supreme Court hearing a<br />

case on homeless encampments.<br />

“Jesus offers the model of<br />

radical obedience to the will<br />

of his Father and we prize<br />

our autonomy above all<br />

else. Our American culture<br />

prizes success and we<br />

worship a crucified God.”<br />

~ National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael<br />

Sean Winters in an April 19 column on future areas<br />

of growth and decline in the U.S. church.<br />

“This was not just about<br />

my opinions, but about<br />

everyone’s freedom of<br />

expression.”<br />

~ Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen, who is standing<br />

trial for the third time on hate speech charges for<br />

quoting Bible verses condemning homosexual acts.<br />

Muji Kaiser is a mother and child advocate who founded the nonprofit organization, The Okaja Foundation, in honor<br />

of her mother. Kaiser spoke with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles about how her family story drives her work with a<br />

Catholic orphanage in her home country of Nigeria. Watch Muji’s and all #LACatholicsStory videos at lacatholics.org/<br />


To view this video<br />

and others, visit<br />

<strong>Angelus</strong><strong>News</strong>.com/photos-videos<br />

Do you have photos or a story from your parish that you’d<br />

like to share? Please send to editorial @angelusnews.com.<br />

“Without their<br />

contributions, American<br />

communities would grind<br />

to a standstill.”<br />

~ Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, chair of the U.S.<br />

bishops’ migration committee, on the role of<br />

immigrants in a statement encouraging Congress<br />

to create more avenues to legal employment<br />

authorization for those with pending asylum claims.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 7

IN EXILE<br />


Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father<br />

Ronald Rolheiser is a spiritual<br />

writer; ronrolheiser.com<br />

Trying not to make God look bad<br />

For 15 years, I taught a course<br />

entitled “The Theology of God.”<br />

The students in that course were<br />

predominantly seminarians preparing<br />

for ministry, along with a number of lay<br />

students who were preparing to serve as<br />

ministers in various capacities in their<br />

churches.<br />

I would always teach what the curriculum<br />

called for: the key biblical<br />

revelations about the nature of God and<br />

God’s actions in history, some salient<br />

perspectives from the patristics on<br />

God’s nature and actions, the historical<br />

development of the dogmatic definitions<br />

about God, plus some speculative<br />

notions on the Trinity, ranging from St.<br />

Augustine to Karl Rahner to Catherine<br />

Lacugna. But my overriding emphasis,<br />

like a leitmotif, was always this. I would<br />

tell the students: Whatever else you do<br />

in your pastoral practice and preaching,<br />

try not to make God look stupid!<br />

<strong>No</strong>thing is as important in our teaching,<br />

preaching, and pastoral activities<br />

as is the notion we convey of the God<br />

who underwrites it all. Every homily we<br />

preach, every catechetical or sacramental<br />

teaching we give, and every pastoral<br />

practice we engage in reflects the God<br />

who undergirds it. If our teaching is<br />

narrow and petty, we make God look<br />

narrow and petty. If our pastoral practice<br />

lacks understanding and compassion,<br />

we make God lack understanding<br />

and compassion. If we are legalistic, we<br />

make God legalistic. If we are tribal,<br />

nationalistic, or racist, we make God<br />

tribal, nationalistic, and racist. If we do<br />

things that befuddle common sense,<br />

we make God the enemy of common<br />

sense. Crassly stated, when we do<br />

stupid things in our ministry, we make<br />

God look stupid.<br />

In all of our preaching, teaching,<br />

and pastoral practice we need to work<br />

at rescuing God from arbitrariness,<br />

narrowness, legalism, rigidity, racism,<br />

tribalism, nationalism, and everything<br />

that’s narrow, legalistic, and petty that,<br />

through us, gets associated with God.<br />

Anything we do in the name of God<br />

reflects God.<br />

It’s no accident that atheism, anti-clericalism,<br />

and most of the negativity<br />

leveled against the Church and religion<br />

today can always point to some bad theology<br />

or Church practice on which to<br />

base itself. Atheism is always a parasite,<br />

feeding off bad religion. So too is most<br />

of the negativity toward the churches<br />

which is prevalent today. Anti-church<br />

attitudes feed on bad religion and thus<br />

we who preach, teach, and minister in<br />

the name of God need to scrutinize<br />

ourselves in the light of those criticisms.<br />

As well, we need the honesty to admit<br />

that we have seriously hurt many<br />

persons by the rigidity of some of our<br />

pastoral practices that do not reflect a<br />

God of understanding, compassion, and<br />

intelligence, but instead suggest that<br />

God is arbitrary, legalistic, and not very<br />

intelligent.<br />

I say this in sympathy. It’s not easy to<br />

reflect God adequately, but we must try,<br />

try to reflect better the God that Jesus<br />

incarnated. What are the marks of that<br />

God?<br />

First, that God has no favorites. <strong>No</strong><br />

one person, race, gender, or nation is<br />

more favored than others by that God.<br />

All are privileged. That God is also<br />

clear that it’s not only those who profess<br />

God and religion explicitly who are persons<br />

of faith, but also those, irrespective<br />

of their explicit faith or church practice,<br />

who do the will of God on earth.<br />

Next, that God is scandalously understanding<br />

and compassionate, especially<br />

toward the weak and toward sinners.<br />

That God is willing to sit down with sinners<br />

without first asking them to clean<br />

up their lives. Moreover, that God asks<br />

us to be compassionate in the same way<br />

to both sinners and saints and to love<br />

them both equally. That God does not<br />

have preferential love for the virtuous.<br />

In addition, that God is critical of<br />

those who, whatever their sincerity, try<br />

to block access to him. That God is<br />

never defensive, but surrenders himself<br />

to death rather than defend himself,<br />

never meets hatred with hatred, and<br />

dies loving and forgiving those who are<br />

killing him.<br />

Finally, and centrally, that God is<br />

first of all good news for the poor. Any<br />

preaching in God’s name that isn’t good<br />

news for the poor is not the gospel.<br />

Those are the attributes of the God<br />

who Jesus incarnated, and we need<br />

to keep that God in mind in all of<br />

our preaching, teaching, and pastoral<br />

practices, even as we are sensitive to<br />

proper boundaries and the demands of<br />

orthodox teaching.<br />

Complex pastoral questions will always<br />

be with us and this is not suggesting that<br />

these issues be resolved simplistically.<br />

The truth sets us free, and the demands<br />

of discipleship are, by Jesus’ own admission,<br />

harsh. However, with that being<br />

admitted, the compassion, mercy, and<br />

intelligence of God need always still<br />

to be reflected in every pastoral action<br />

we do. Otherwise, God looks arbitrary,<br />

tribal, cruel, and antithetical to love.<br />

Christianity, as Marilynne Robinson<br />

says, is too great a narrative to be<br />

underwritten by any lesser tale and that<br />

should forbid especially its being subordinated<br />

to narrowness, legalism, lack<br />

of compassion, and lack of common<br />

sense.<br />

8 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

A groom and<br />

bride hold hands<br />

on their wedding<br />

day. | CNS FILE<br />

PHOTO/JON L.<br />


The privilege of marriage<br />

Thankfully, a Catholic sociologist’s new book about marriage<br />

with a blunt title says the quiet part out loud.<br />


I<br />

find that the one upside to roundthe-clock<br />

newborn baby feeding is<br />

the chance to make headway on my<br />

reading list. To be sure, juggling a book<br />

and a baby requires some dexterity, but<br />

as a mother of three, I know that the<br />

first weeks with an infant provide the<br />

most reading time I’m likely to have for<br />

a while.<br />

When I welcomed my third son this<br />

past January, I chose to devour “Get<br />

Married: Why Americans Must Defy<br />

the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and<br />

Save Civilization” (Broadside Books,<br />

$21.59) by University of Virginia<br />

sociologist Brad Wilcox — not exactly<br />

light reading for my late nights, but a<br />

title that had been on my radar since<br />

I last interviewed the author for these<br />

pages.<br />

While it’s rife with data, “Get<br />

Married” stirred up something deeply<br />

personal. At several points in the book,<br />

I thought to myself, “What a privilege<br />

it is to be married, and to be married<br />

in this way.”<br />

By “this way,” I mean to a man who<br />

shares my faith, who has what Wilcox<br />

describes as a “we-before-me” attitude,<br />

who sees rearing children as part and<br />

parcel of our shared life’s project, who<br />

sought a particular kind of education<br />

and employment primarily to provide<br />

for a family (and give me the option to<br />

stay home), and for whom divorce is<br />

not an option. As my husband likes to<br />

say, “We’re going down with the ship.”<br />

Wilcox provides salient evidence as to<br />

why this type of marriage statistically<br />

yields higher levels of happiness, better<br />

economic stability, and more attractive<br />

prospects for children. Of course, by<br />

the grace of God we all go. <strong>No</strong>thing in<br />

life is guaranteed. But for those looking<br />

to set themselves up for a meaningful<br />

life, the math alone supports his case.<br />

But all of this presumes men and<br />

women buy into the idea of marriage<br />

10 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

as a meaningful path in the first place.<br />

For several generations now, the<br />

pursuit of happiness has been closely<br />

linked with maximizing our freedom<br />

and autonomy through solitary self-actualization.<br />

It’s had devastating effects,<br />

which Wilcox documents.<br />

Just consider the mental health<br />

crisis among young Americans, our<br />

plummeting birthrate, the loneliness<br />

epidemic, the opioid crisis, the<br />

number of out-of-work men addicted<br />

to screens, the inability of the working<br />

class to find stability, and declining<br />

rates of female happiness despite wage<br />

gains and expanded opportunity. In my<br />

experience, it also includes living with<br />

the very real consequences of multiple<br />

generations of divorce.<br />

Wilcox says the quiet part out loud:<br />

“From mainstream media outlets, on<br />

college campuses, in public schools,<br />

and on the floor of Congress, we hear<br />

that problems like these are about the<br />

economy, or failing schools, or inequality,<br />

or race, or inadequate public<br />

policies … [but] questions of marriage<br />

and family are better predictors of<br />

outcomes for people than the topics<br />

that currently dominate our public<br />

conversation. ...”<br />

In light of the above, it’s worth writing<br />

again: it’s a privilege to be married.<br />

In many ways, it feels like a miracle.<br />

At my bridal shower, my mother joked<br />

in her toast about how she wasn’t sure<br />

the day would ever come. I was 34,<br />

more than a decade older than she was<br />

when she got married. Though I suspect<br />

she thought my “two-Tom” rule<br />

was keeping me single (I said I was<br />

holding out for someone who could<br />

talk about Tom Brady as well as Thomas<br />

Aquinas), there was also a major<br />

cultural shift afoot that Baby Boomers<br />

were blind to. That they would get<br />

married and settle down was assumed.<br />

For me and my girlfriends, finding a<br />

man who was marriage-minded was<br />

like finding a needle in a haystack.<br />

In large numbers, my peers have chosen<br />

to delay marriage and childbearing,<br />

choosing instead to cohabit, travel,<br />

move every few years to a new city and<br />

try their hand at caring for someone<br />

else by getting a pet. We are paralyzed<br />

by the overwhelming choices we have<br />

— including an endless number of<br />

potential partners available online.<br />

I can’t count the number of grandmothers<br />

I meet at our local park who<br />

lament that they have only one grandchild<br />

and realistically have only “a few<br />

good years” with them. Sadly, the data<br />

AMAZON<br />

suggests that Boomers are reaping what<br />

they sowed.<br />

Wilcox’s research puts a fine point<br />

on how we got here: the dismantling<br />

of sexual norms, including no-fault<br />

divorce, putting a premium on family<br />

diversity rather than family stability<br />

(which disproportionately hurts the<br />

working class and poor); “blank slate<br />


<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 11

feminism,” which promised<br />

but failed to deliver women<br />

greater levels of happiness if<br />

they joined the workforce,<br />

outsourced child care, or<br />

opted not to have kids; and<br />

a pornified, digitized world,<br />

in which young Americans<br />

are taught to ignore sex and<br />

gender differences.<br />

Equally sad is the fact that<br />

many men and women<br />

who do want to get married<br />

cannot afford to do so:<br />

working-class couples are penalized<br />

by our tax code and<br />

the economic reality of “the<br />

two-income trap” such that<br />

getting married takes money<br />

out of their wallets and food<br />

off their children’s tables.<br />

Marriage should not be a<br />

luxury lifestyle option for<br />

the college-educated. It<br />

should be something that<br />

most men and women can<br />

enter into and in which they<br />

can thrive.<br />

But there is good news.<br />

Marital quality is highest<br />

among those who are religious,<br />

hold more traditional<br />

views of sex and gender,<br />

Karla and Jason De Los Reyes celebrate their<br />

wedding in Santiago, Spain, Dec. 12, 2019. |<br />


welcome children within a<br />

stable union, and put their<br />

family first. In other words,<br />

when men and women get<br />

married the way the Church<br />

has always proposed, they<br />

and their children report<br />

higher levels of happiness,<br />

stability, and hope for their<br />

future. Decades upon<br />

decades of dismantling that<br />

norm has given us the sociological<br />

data to support that<br />

it works — a silver lining, if<br />

there was any.<br />

It would be easy to despair<br />

at what Wilcox calls the<br />

“closing of the American<br />

heart.” But as I read his book,<br />

I kept thinking about Mother<br />

Teresa’s well-quoted counsel:<br />

“If you want to change<br />

the world, go home and<br />

love your family.” All that is<br />

within my power is to show<br />

my husband and sons what<br />

a privilege it is to love them,<br />

with the hope that they, too,<br />

know and yearn for such joy.<br />

Elise Italiano Ureneck is a<br />

communications consultant<br />

writing from Rhode Island.<br />

want to stay married?<br />

go to church<br />

Wilcox says that despite antireligious messages in<br />

our culture, “the truth is that religion is generally<br />

a force for good when it comes to the quality and<br />

stability of married life, men’s and women’s satisfaction<br />

with their lives, and the welfare of children.”<br />

The sociologist cites research that finds that Americans<br />

“who regularly attend a church, synagogue, temple, or<br />

mosque are significantly happier in their marriages, less<br />

likely to end up divorced, and more satisfied with their lives<br />

— and their children are more likely to be flourishing.”<br />

He attributes this to three “N’s”:<br />

• <strong>No</strong>rms: Religious services are some of the only<br />

settings today that men and women hear messages<br />

that underline the importance of marriage and family<br />

life and promote the virtues and habits to strengthen<br />

those bonds.<br />

• Networks: Religious communities are powerful social<br />

networks for families, providing support and stability<br />

for life’s big moments.<br />

• <strong>No</strong>mos: Wilcox references “a meaningful sense of<br />

the cosmos,” or the idea that God has a providential<br />

care of the world. This kind of faith helps couples<br />

manage difficult and traumatic moments in life,<br />

resolve conflict, and find meaning in the everyday<br />

investments they make in their family life and one<br />

another.<br />

— Elise Italiano Ureneck<br />

12 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>


At a recent Engaged Encounter retreat, couples learned that the<br />

benefits — and challenges — of marriage go beyond the wedding day.<br />


John and Amy Sabol pose in front of<br />

an Engaged Encounter poster during<br />

a weekend retreat at Sacred Heart<br />

Retreat House in Alhambra.<br />

As volunteers for Catholic Engaged<br />

Encounter (CEE), John<br />

and Amy Sabol have spent the<br />

last 28 years helping engaged couples<br />

plan for their big day by preparing them<br />

for what comes after their big day.<br />

The Sabols, who’ve been married<br />

for 50 years, help run CEE weekend<br />

retreats where they encourage couples<br />

to bring God into their relationship and<br />

develop healthy communication habits,<br />

as a reminder that a wedding lasts a day,<br />

while a marriage lasts a lifetime.<br />

The Sabols said their own marriage<br />

was strengthened by sharing their<br />

life story with retreat participants and<br />

explaining how forgiveness, open communication,<br />

and making a conscious<br />

decision to love your spouse even in<br />

difficult times can lead to a more fulfilling<br />

union.<br />

“We always talk about how marriage is<br />

work,” said John, “but we also try to tell<br />

them that it’s worth it. Being in a good<br />

relationship with your partner is worth<br />

more than anything else.”<br />

“We’ve learned that we’re kind of best<br />

friends as well as a married couple,”<br />

Amy added.<br />

The Sabols are part of a global<br />

network of priests and married couples<br />

who present weekend retreats for CEE,<br />

an international Catholic marriage<br />

preparation program that grew out of<br />

the Marriage Encounter program about<br />

50 years ago.<br />

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,<br />

couples can meet marriage preparation<br />

requirements by completing a CEE<br />

weekend retreat.<br />

During the three-day gatherings, a presenting<br />

team — composed of a priest<br />

and married couples — delivers talks in<br />

a group setting touching on five major<br />

themes: “The Family We Grew Up In,”<br />

14 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

“Sacramental Marriage,” “Communication,”<br />

“Intimacy,” and “Values.” After<br />

the presentations, participants are given<br />

time to journal and share their reflections<br />

with their partners.<br />

“The purpose of the weekend is to<br />

help the couples dig deeper into their<br />

relationship and make sure that they<br />

have discussed issues that are important<br />

to the relationship and maybe have<br />

been taking a backseat because they’re<br />

doing wedding planning,” John said.<br />

“The purpose is to get them to really<br />

communicate on a deeper level about<br />

all these topics.”<br />

In April, the Sabols hosted a CEE retreat<br />

at the Sacred Heart Retreat House<br />

in Alhambra along with co-presenters<br />

Joe and Kathie Schneider and Father<br />

Larry Gosselin, OFM. Thirty-eight engaged<br />

couples from across the archdiocese<br />

— and beyond — attended.<br />

The retreat kicked off Friday night<br />

with exercises designed to help participants<br />

get to know themselves better<br />

because, as the Sabols pointed out,<br />

participants need to know who they<br />

are as individuals before they can truly<br />

open up to their partners.<br />

As the weekend progressed, the team<br />

went on to deliver 14 presentations on<br />

topics ranging from conflict manage-<br />

ment, fertility, finances, and more.<br />

Couples also had the opportunity to<br />

write betrothal promises to each other,<br />

public pledges of love and commitment<br />

that detail the steps they plan to take to<br />

prepare for the sacrament of marriage.<br />

Father Larry Gosselin, OFM, center, stands with engaged<br />

couple Jeannine MacAller and Jorge Anguiano<br />

during a recent Engaged Encounter weekend retreat.<br />

The retreat wrapped with two final<br />

sessions on Sunday afternoon, in which<br />

participants shared their thoughts about<br />

the weekend and received certificates of<br />

completion while being cheered on by<br />

their peers.<br />

Nearly 20 participants spoke, with<br />

many saying that the retreat exceeded<br />

their expectations and gave them a<br />

better understanding of the sacrament<br />

they would be celebrating.<br />

“It was so much more than a church<br />

requirement,” one person said.<br />

For Jada Selexman and Dominic<br />

Scaglione, of St. Clare of Assisi Church<br />

in Santa Clarita, the weekend provided<br />

an opportunity to dive deeper<br />

into topics they don’t often have time<br />

to discuss and<br />

Married couples John<br />

and Amy Sabol and Joe<br />

and Kathie Schneider,<br />

along with Father Larry<br />

Gosselin, OFM, put on<br />

the Catholic Engaged<br />

Encounter retreat on<br />

April 5-7.<br />

prompted them to<br />

think more about<br />

the solemnity of<br />

their impending<br />

wedding Mass.<br />

“It’s very grounding<br />

to hear that our<br />

wedding is not just<br />

about the reception<br />

and how much fun we’re going to<br />

have, but it’s about the ceremony and<br />

the sacrament itself,” Selexman said.<br />

For Tiffany Herrera and John Le, of<br />

Holy Family Church in South Pasade-<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 15

na, the retreat taught them how integrating<br />

more prayer and communication<br />

into their lives can help strengthen<br />

their relationship today and beyond.<br />

“It just brought our level of intimacy<br />

to a whole new level,” Le said. “I<br />

really didn’t imagine that happening. I<br />

imagined us being closer to God, but<br />

never thought about what it means to<br />

have him be a part of our relationship.<br />

It just really makes me love her a lot<br />

more than I thought I would, coming<br />

out.”<br />

For Jeannine MacAller and Jorge Anguiano,<br />

of Padre Serra Church in Camarillo,<br />

the CEE retreat had been a<br />

long time coming. The couple initially<br />

planned to get married in 2020, but<br />

their plans were derailed by the COV-<br />

ID-19 pandemic, MacAller’s fight with<br />

cancer, and other challenges.<br />

The couple said the retreat taught<br />

them how to be vulnerable while<br />

communicating with each other, and<br />

further solidified their desire to bring<br />

God into their union.<br />

“God is the center of our lives, and<br />

we want him at the center of our marriage,”<br />

MacAller said. “We know how<br />

much we have needed him as individuals<br />

and we need him just as much, if<br />

not more, as a married couple. I’m so<br />

glad we did this.”<br />

Members of the presenting team said<br />

they were energized by participants’<br />

zeal and desire to get married in the<br />

Catholic Church, even in today’s<br />

contemporary times.<br />

“This is a sign that the Church is still<br />

very much alive and there’s still young<br />

people who desire to make their commitment<br />

as husband and wife in the<br />

sacrament of marriage in the Church,”<br />

said Gosselin, who’s been giving CEE<br />

retreats for about 40 years. “To see<br />

their excitement, and to see their joy<br />

and their enthusiasm about living their<br />

faith is rewarding.”<br />

The Schneiders — who’ve been married<br />

for almost 60 years and have been<br />

volunteering for 45 years with CEE —<br />

said they continue to present weekend<br />

retreats as a way to give back.<br />

The couple struggled early in their<br />

“I imagined us being closer to God, but never<br />

thought about what it means to have him be a<br />

part of our relationship.”<br />

marriage, Joe Schneider said, and<br />

wishes they would’ve had a resource<br />

like CEE back then.<br />

“It really gives us hope for the future,<br />

and hope for the Church,” he said.<br />

“And it keeps us honest. It challenges<br />

us to remember what we started<br />

out with and how, hopefully, we’ve<br />

grown.”<br />

Theresa Cisneros is a freelance journalist<br />

with 24 years of experience in<br />

the news industry. She is a fourth-generation<br />

Southern California resident<br />

and lives in Orange County with her<br />

husband and four children.<br />

16 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>


Twenty years after the archdiocese revamped<br />

its abuse prevention program, leaders say their<br />

work is still about ‘changing the culture.’<br />

Father Michael Wakefield, pastor at St.<br />

Francis de Sales Church in Sherman Oaks,<br />

speaks to students after a morning Mass<br />

during Abuse Prevention Month on April<br />

12. | MIKE CISNEROS<br />


Addressing students during the<br />

school’s morning Mass on April<br />

12, Father Michael Wakefield,<br />

pastor at St. Francis de Sales Church in<br />

Sherman Oaks, relayed a story about a<br />

woman who inquired about the healing<br />

garden along the parish’s outside wall.<br />

“Is this only for those who were<br />

abused as children?” she asked.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>, not at all,” Wakefield said.<br />

“Good,” she said.<br />

“She sat on one of the benches outside<br />

and sobbed the entire time,” recalled<br />

the priest.<br />

For Wakefield, stories like these help<br />

illustrate the deeper meaning of the<br />

events and activities organized around<br />

the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as part<br />

of National Child Abuse Prevention<br />

Month, marked every April.<br />

In coordination with the archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Safeguard the Children —<br />

celebrating its 20th anniversary this<br />

year — parishes hosted events like St.<br />

Francis de Sales’ throughout April to<br />

promote awareness and demonstrate<br />

closeness to victim-survivors of abuse.<br />

Among them was a special April 15<br />

Mass dedicated to survivors of sexual<br />

abuse at the St. Camillus Center for<br />

Spiritual Care in East Los Angeles, the<br />

site of the first healing garden.<br />

Their ultimate goal, organizers said, is<br />

a change of culture when it comes to<br />

protecting the most vulnerable among<br />

us.<br />

18 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

“This sexual abuse prevention programming<br />

that we do with kids is every<br />

bit as important as looking both ways<br />

before you cross the street or putting<br />

your seatbelt on when you get in the<br />

car,” said Heather Banis, Ph.D., victims<br />

assistance coordinator with the archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Victims Assistance<br />

Ministry. “Because these are safety<br />

measures.<br />

“We’ve been at it for 20-plus years.<br />

The focus on prevention is huge and<br />

by our data, our audit report, I think it’s<br />

clear that a huge impact is happening.”<br />

Part of the change, Banis said, also<br />

comes from repairing the damage done<br />

from the past and working to change<br />

the institution that allowed the wounds<br />

in the first place.<br />

“First and foremost, we have a<br />

responsibility,” she said. “I think if we<br />

are calling ourselves Christians and<br />

Catholics, we have to acknowledge that<br />

and step up, take responsibility for what<br />

we did and didn’t do and then take<br />

active meaningful steps to fix that, to<br />

change that.”<br />

For the past 20 years, more than<br />

440,000 priests, educators, volunteers,<br />

and laypeople in the archdiocese have<br />

been trained in VIRTUS, a national<br />

program designed to help prevent child<br />

sexual abuse. More than 355,000 children<br />

and young people have participated<br />

in the “Empowering God’s Children<br />

and Young People Safety Program” to<br />

equip them with the tools to stay safe<br />

from potential harm.<br />

Coupled with mandatory fingerprinting,<br />

the “Working Together to Prevent<br />

Child Sexual Abuse” brochure and<br />

consistent messaging both online and<br />

in parishes and schools, the archdiocese<br />

sees that the effort is paying<br />

off.<br />

“It’s clear kids are feeling<br />

empowered to say, ‘I don’t<br />

want this touch’ or, ‘I<br />

didn’t like that touch,’ ”<br />

Banis said. “Or, ‘I know<br />

if I get pressed and I’m<br />

uncomfortable, I can ask<br />

people about it because<br />

they’re prepared to talk to<br />

me about it.’<br />

“It’s all about changing<br />

the culture for the kids<br />

to have that expectation<br />

of being believed, being<br />

heard, and being supported.”<br />

Just as Wakefield took<br />

pride in his parish’s healing<br />

garden, one of the next<br />

accomplishments will be<br />

installing the final landscape<br />

in fulfilling the goal<br />

of having a garden in each of the archdiocese’s<br />

five regions. The fifth healing<br />

garden will be located in the San Pedro<br />

Pastoral Region and is expected to be<br />

completed by <strong>No</strong>v. 18, the United<br />

Nations’ World Day for the Prevention<br />

of and Healing from Child Sexual<br />

Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.<br />

“The gardens are the next layer in this,<br />

where there is that sense of permanence<br />

and acknowledgement, which is<br />

not something we’re trying to get over<br />

and move on from,” Banis said. “This is<br />

a sad, tragic part of our history but it is<br />

part of our history. From what survivors<br />

say to me, to see that kind of permanence<br />

is really impactful for them<br />

because they feel so invisible.”<br />

Back at St. Francis de Sales’ Mass,<br />

Children at Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights<br />

created an altar featuring posters, pinwheels, and art<br />

for Abuse Prevention Month. | DOLORES MISSION<br />

Father Chris Ponnet celebrated<br />

a Mass dedicated to survivors of<br />

sexual abuse on April 15 at the St.<br />

Camillus Center for Spiritual Care<br />

in Los Angeles. | JOHN RUEDA<br />

students — clad in their blue, white,<br />

and gray uniforms — asked for special<br />

intentions: “<strong>May</strong> all who work with<br />

children and young people be vigilant<br />

in protecting them from harm.”<br />

After the Mass, Wakefield took waves<br />

of students outside to the garden to explain<br />

its purpose and allow the children<br />

to place flowers or intentions and pray<br />

for those affected.<br />

“Does this make up for it? <strong>No</strong>, it<br />

doesn’t,” Wakefield said. “That innocence<br />

has been taken away. But what<br />

we can do is provide some means of<br />

reaching out to people and trying to be<br />

a conduit of God’s goodness and God’s<br />

healing.”<br />

Later, Wakefield was asked what<br />

prompted him to bring the healing<br />

garden to his parish.<br />

“This is now what we<br />

do because we think our<br />

children are so important<br />

and our children are so<br />

precious to us,” he said.<br />

“It’s the least we can do<br />

to try to make up for the<br />

damage that was done.”<br />

You can learn more about<br />

the Archdiocese of LA’s<br />

abuse prevention efforts at<br />

lacatholics.org/protect.<br />

Mike Cisneros is the associate<br />

editor of <strong>Angelus</strong>.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 19


For 20 years, they’ve trained thousands of local<br />

Catholics to protect children from potential<br />

abuse. <strong>No</strong>w, LA’s VIRTUS experts are passing<br />

on the same lessons to kids themselves.<br />

Susie Lopez, a facilitator of the VIRTUS<br />

safety program, shows off to students the<br />

new poster created for the <strong>2024</strong> Abuse<br />

Prevention Month in April. | SUBMITTED<br />

PHOTO<br />


There are few jobs, Susie Lopez<br />

will tell you, more rewarding<br />

than teaching kids how to stand<br />

up to potential predators.<br />

Lopez, who trains catechists for the<br />

Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Empowering<br />

God’s Children and Young<br />

People program, told the story of one<br />

girl in her community who was inappropriately<br />

touched by a schoolmate.<br />

When she had the courage to disclose<br />

that to an adult, she stopped the abuse<br />

not only for herself, but for others.<br />

“She knew what to do,” said Lopez.<br />

“She told her catechist and the catechist<br />

reported it. From that, five other<br />

little victims came forward. They<br />

never said anything about it and it had<br />

been going on for half of the year.”<br />

Unlike the first girl, Lopez explained,<br />

those victims hadn’t gone through<br />

something like Empowering God’s<br />

Children, which teaches youth about<br />

thwarting and reporting sexual abuse.<br />

Lopez, along with Dea Boehme,<br />

Anita Robinson, and Marge Schugt,<br />

are considered some of the LA Archdiocese’s<br />

most seasoned experts in the<br />

VIRTUS safety programs that teach<br />

adults and children about sexual<br />

20 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

abuse prevention.<br />

Under the leadership of the archdiocese’s<br />

Office of Safeguard the<br />

Children, they’ve spent the last two<br />

decades passing on lessons learned<br />

to a new generation of facilitators<br />

charged with training every person<br />

in the archdiocese who works with or<br />

around youth.<br />

The latest program is Empowering<br />

God’s Children, which launched in<br />

2018. It’s taught annually to about<br />

100,000 students enrolled K-12 in local<br />

Catholic schools, parish catechism<br />

classes, and various youth activities.<br />

Their ministry, said the facilitators,<br />

is rooted in love for children — and a<br />

desire for them to love themselves.<br />

“The love of oneself, the importance<br />

of that, it’s a very positive lesson we<br />

teach,” said Schugt, a retired social<br />

worker who serves as the Safeguard<br />

the Children coordinator at St.<br />

Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in<br />

Lomita. “Children can do a lot more<br />

when they know their self-worth.”<br />

For many of the facilitators, their<br />

involvement in youth protection was<br />

prompted by the clergy sex abuse<br />

crisis in 2002. The women say it was a<br />

difficult time, but being mothers and<br />

grandmothers, they couldn’t stand<br />

idle.<br />

Despite not knowing what to expect,<br />

Boehme joined Vienna’s first class of<br />

trainers.<br />

“When we got started a lot of people<br />

were confused and angry,” Boehme<br />

said. “It was a test of my faith too. I<br />

stuck with it because I saw it was really<br />

working. People became empowered,<br />

learned what they had to do, and<br />

were able to move beyond that terrible<br />

moment. <strong>No</strong>w 20 years later people<br />

come to training engaged.”<br />

Robinson admitted she was reluctant<br />

to take her first training class. After 33<br />

years of working in Los Angeles public<br />

schools as a teacher and administrator,<br />

she thought she knew how to protect<br />

children. After one day of training, she<br />

realized she was wrong.<br />

“I had no idea how sophisticated<br />

the grooming process was,” Robinson<br />

said. “Predators are patient. They’re so<br />

intent on what they’re doing, they will<br />

spend all the time they need.<br />

“I realized, wow, this program is so<br />

much more than I thought it was.”<br />

One of the most painful lessons<br />

they’ve all learned is how the effects of<br />

childhood sexual abuse are deep and<br />

lasting.<br />

“One of the most challenging things<br />

for me is to watch the [training] videos,”<br />

Schugt said. “I still look into the<br />

[victim’s] eyes and see the pain. It’s<br />

so hard. But the day it becomes just<br />

another video for me to get through is<br />

the day I need to stop.”<br />

Vienna understands the pain all too<br />

well. As a survivor of sexual abuse, she<br />

is driven to give others a “wonderful<br />

childhood.” Vienna said that’s accomplished<br />

by giving kids and adults the<br />

right tools.<br />

“I wish someone had this knowledge<br />

when I was a child,” Vienna said. “We<br />

now have a common language, we use<br />

the same words when teaching adults<br />

and youth. When kids say someone’s<br />

touch made them ‘uncomfortable,’ we<br />

know what they mean.”<br />

Despite the heartache involved,<br />

Vienna calls this a “joyful ministry”<br />

infused with prayer and inspired by<br />

the Holy Spirit. Boehme, a retired<br />

forensic toxicologist, agrees.<br />

“We trust God will give us the words,<br />

the attitude, the skills to help people<br />

understand the program,” said Boehme.<br />

“We always pray for an effective<br />

training session and for those that are<br />

there that day to come to a new place<br />

of understanding and empowerment.”<br />

Lopez sees herself as part of an ongoing<br />

shift in society, one that is more<br />

honest and open about childhood<br />

sexual abuse. She leads with that objective<br />

as a facilitator and the religious<br />

education coordinator at St. Philip the<br />

Apostle Church in Pasadena.<br />

“Changing the culture of silence to<br />

a culture of dialogue — I’m for that,”<br />

Lopez said. “I have no problem talking<br />

about it and I’m glad more people<br />

are talking about it.”<br />

That’s why Empowering God’s Children’s<br />

curriculum teaches appropriate<br />

and inappropriate behavior, how to<br />

advocate for yourself during threatening<br />

situations, and the importance<br />

of reporting anything that makes<br />

anyone uncomfortable. Safeguard the<br />

Children Associate Director Brenda<br />

Cabrera, Vienna, and Robinson —<br />

also a consultant for the office —<br />

developed the program with easy-tofollow<br />

lesson plans and strong ties to<br />

Scripture.<br />

“In every lesson, there is a catechetical<br />

connection,” Robinson said. “We<br />

can’t operate in isolation of our faith.<br />

It’s important to let children know<br />

they’ve been created wonderfully,<br />

beautifully by God.”<br />

Empowering God’s Children runs<br />

on a three-year cycle with each year<br />

having a different theme: “Safe and<br />

Unsafe Touching Rules,” “Boundaries<br />

and Bullying,” and “Internet and<br />

Technology Safety.” The last two are<br />

particularly important for tweens and<br />

teens, said Lopez, whose child also<br />

went through the program.<br />

“Bullying doesn’t end at school; it<br />

goes home,” Lopez said. “As long as<br />

[youth are] engaging online, they’re<br />

allowing the bullying to continue in<br />

some way. We talk about it, we tell<br />

them they have the power to stop it.<br />

They can block and report.”<br />

Younger children are instructed in<br />

a way that is informative but not too<br />

scary or explicit. Robinson said she<br />

keeps the lessons positive, referring<br />

to kids as superheroes in their own<br />

stories.<br />

“I stuck with it because I saw it was really working.<br />

People became empowered, learned what<br />

they had to do, and were able to move beyond<br />

that terrible moment.”<br />

“It’s work I can do,” said Robinson.<br />

“It’s work I think I’m effective at. It’s<br />

work I’m so passionate about, I cannot<br />

stop.”<br />

Natalie Romano is a freelance writer<br />

for <strong>Angelus</strong> and the Inland Catholic<br />

Byte, the news website of the Diocese of<br />

San Bernardino.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 21


The latest document<br />

from the Vatican’s<br />

doctrine office isn’t<br />

really about doctrine,<br />

but something else.<br />



ROME — Perhaps it’s a measure<br />

of the almost surreal media narrative<br />

that’s grown up around Pope<br />

Francis for the last 11 years that the<br />

Vatican could issue a document April 8<br />

opposing abortion, euthanasia, surrogate<br />

motherhood, gender theory, and<br />

sex-change procedures, and it would<br />

somehow be considered news.<br />

From a media point of view, Dignitas<br />

Infinita (“Infinite Dignity”), the latest<br />

declaration from the Vatican’s Dicastery<br />

for the Doctrine of the Faith, should<br />

have been a “dog bites man” exercise.<br />

Only in the Francis era, when we’ve<br />

been conditioned to expect doctrinal<br />

revolutions at every turn by previous<br />

documents such as Amoris Laetitia<br />

(“The Joy of Love”) in 2016 and Fiducia<br />

Supplicans (“Supplicating Trust”)<br />

last December, could “Pope upholds<br />

Catholic teaching” actually become a<br />

headline.<br />

Unfortunately, the clamor over the<br />

content of Dignitas Infinita, and what<br />

precisely to make of its various formulae,<br />

risks missing the real point. Unlike<br />

its predecessors mentioned above,<br />

Dignitas Infinita was not conceived as<br />

a statement about Catholic teaching,<br />

even if it was issued by the doctrinal<br />

office.<br />

Instead, Dignitas Infinita amounts to<br />

a direct frontal challenge to Catholic<br />

sociology, in particular the marked tendency<br />

for pro-life and peace-and-justice<br />

Catholics to inhabit different worlds<br />

and, quite often, to end up working at<br />

A woman holds a child during<br />

an immigration rally near the<br />

U.S. Capitol in Washington in<br />

this 2017 file photo. | CNS/<br />


cross-purposes.<br />

This point was driven home in an<br />

article for Vatican <strong>News</strong> written by<br />

Andrea Tornielli, the veteran Italian<br />

journalist who now serves as the pope’s<br />

editorial director, and arguably his most<br />

important official interpreter. To put an<br />

exclamation point on things, Tornielli’s<br />

editorial was distributed by the Vatican<br />

Press Office to the media at the same<br />

time as advance copies of the document<br />

itself, as if to lend his analysis<br />

official standing.<br />

“The principal novelty of the document,<br />

which is the fruit of five years’<br />

work, is the inclusion of certain important<br />

themes of the recent papal magisterium<br />

alongside bioethical matters,”<br />

Tornielli wrote.<br />

“In the non-exhaustive list that’s<br />

offered of violations of human dignity,<br />

abortion, euthanasia, and surrogate<br />

22 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

motherhood are accompanied by war,<br />

the drama of poverty and of migrants,<br />

and human trafficking,” he said.<br />

Then, Tornielli arrives at the bottom<br />

line.<br />

“The new text thus contributes to<br />

overcoming the existing dichotomy<br />

between those who concentrate in an<br />

exclusive way on the defense of unborn<br />

life, or the dying, forgetting many<br />

other offenses against human dignity,<br />

and vice-versa, those who concentrate<br />

only on the defense of the poor and of<br />

migrants, forgetting that life must be<br />

defended from conception to its natural<br />

end,” he wrote.<br />

Anyone familiar with the sociology of<br />

the Catholic Church, perhaps especially<br />

in the United States but also in many<br />

other parts of the world, and who’s<br />

being honest about it, would have to<br />

acknowledge that Tornielli isn’t just<br />

spitting in the wind.<br />

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions,<br />

but as a general rule, self-described<br />

pro-life Catholics and peaceand-justice<br />

Catholics simply do not<br />

work and play well together. What’s<br />

worse, much of the time they don’t<br />

even know one another, except by reputation<br />

and social media profiles (which,<br />

in the 21st century, usually amount to<br />

the same thing.)<br />

Pro-life Catholics follow their own<br />

heroes, read their own media outlets,<br />

attend their own conferences and<br />

meetings, and organize their own<br />

activities, often moving in their own<br />

self-contained and hermetically sealed<br />

universe.<br />

Much the same can be said, pari passu<br />

(at an equal pace), of their counterparts<br />

in the peace-and-justice galaxy of<br />

Catholicism.<br />

Church activists engaged in the fight<br />

against the death penalty, for example,<br />

or for immigration reform, or for<br />

poverty relief overseas, or anti-racism<br />

campaigns, or any number of other<br />

good causes fully endorsed by Catholic<br />

social teaching, likewise consume their<br />

own media sources, have their own<br />

revered points of reference, attend their<br />

own rallies and summits, and often<br />

have little to do with Catholics of other<br />

persuasions.<br />

To put the point differently, and again<br />

with allowances for notable exceptions,<br />

the overlap in Catholic attendance at,<br />

say, the March for Life and the various<br />

George Floyd protests, is likely fairly<br />

small.<br />

I’ve been using American examples,<br />

but the same observation could be<br />

made about Catholicism elsewhere,<br />

most particularly across the Western<br />

world where the battle lines between<br />

left and right have become hardened.<br />

Here in Italy, for instance, there’s relatively<br />

little cross-over between Catholics<br />

involved in, say, the Community<br />

of Sant’Egidio, a center-left movement<br />

especially engaged in ecumenical and<br />

interfaith dialogue, conflict resolution,<br />

and poverty relief, and the Family<br />

Day Association, a group founded by<br />

Massimo Gandolfini, a neurosurgeon<br />

and member of the Neocatechumenal<br />

Way, which is devoted to opposition<br />

to gender theory, abortion, and other<br />

measures considered anti-family.<br />

Against that backdrop, Dignitas Infinita<br />

isn’t about revising Catholic social<br />

teaching. It’s about challenging the way<br />

that teaching is often sliced and diced<br />

in the way it’s applied on the basis of<br />

personal preference, ideological affinity,<br />

and the raw fact of who somebody’s<br />

friends may be.<br />

The message of the new document is<br />

that Catholic social teaching is a fullcourse<br />

meal, not a do-it-yourself buffet.<br />

A former papal ambassador to the<br />

United States, Italian Archbishop Pietro<br />

Sambi, used to roll out a one-liner<br />

anytime the issue of abortion came up<br />

in conversation with American Catholics,<br />

which, as you might imagine, it<br />

did a lot during his tenure from 2005<br />

to 2011.<br />

“To be Catholic, you must be pro-life,”<br />

Sambi would always say. “But to be<br />

Catholic, it’s not enough to be pro-life,”<br />

using the term in its American sense of<br />

“anti-abortion.”<br />

Sambi could have been the godfather<br />

of Dignitas Infinita, because that’s<br />

its message too. <strong>No</strong>w, the question<br />

becomes how well that message will be<br />

received and applied, a point arguably<br />

of special interest in America ahead of<br />

the <strong>2024</strong> elections.<br />

John L. Allen Jr. is the editor of Crux<br />

A copy of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s<br />

declaration, Dignitas Infinita (“Infinite Dignity”)<br />

on human dignity during a news conference at the<br />

Vatican on April 8. | CNS/PABLO ESPARZA<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 23


A PILL’S<br />



Decades after the Church first warned of its moral<br />

perils, a new generation of women is rejecting hormonal<br />

contraception for health reasons.<br />

TikTok recently deleted several<br />

videos outlining the harms of<br />

hormonal contraceptives (HC),<br />

claiming that they portray “inaccurate,<br />

misleading, or false content that may<br />

cause significant harm to individuals<br />

or society.” The “false content” they<br />

censored pointed out that hormonal<br />

contraceptives can lead to weight<br />

gain, depression, anxiety, and infertility,<br />

as well as induce abortion.<br />

A recent Washington Post article also<br />

dismissed these claims, arguing that<br />

advocates against hormonal birth control<br />

are either misled or are participating<br />

in a conservative ploy to control<br />

women’s rights.<br />

TikTok’s move and The Washington<br />

Post’s defense indicate a growing<br />

nervousness among advocates of the<br />

pill. In recent months, there have<br />

been indicators that a new generation<br />

of women is rejecting the pill, not<br />

primarily on moral grounds, but on<br />

grounds of health. Even left-leaning<br />

feminist scholars have started to ask<br />

questions about how the pill has<br />

changed our views of what it means to<br />

be female, the value of motherhood,<br />

and what kinds of health outcomes<br />

we are willing to sacrifice for consequence-free<br />

sex.<br />

In the battle for “reproductive<br />

freedom” and the “right” to kill our<br />

children, many are willing to turn a<br />

blind eye to the documented harms of<br />

hormonal contraceptives. But they are<br />

real, and a new generation is taking<br />

notice.<br />

The first birth control pills were<br />

pushed by Margaret Sanger in an<br />

effort to eliminate people who were<br />

poor, had mental illnesses or were<br />

living with disabilities. The first contraceptives<br />

were tested on women in<br />

Puerto Rico whose poverty and lack of<br />

education made them “unfit.” Their<br />

complaints about the side effects —<br />

including nausea, depression, and<br />

blood clots — were dismissed as unreliable.<br />

Three women died during the<br />

24 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

trials; no autopsies were performed.<br />

The harmful side effects of hormonal<br />

contraceptives have only increased<br />

over time. In the past few years, there<br />

have been several stories of women<br />

who developed and died from blood<br />

clots linked to their use. Among the<br />

deceased are a 16-year-old girl who<br />

was taking pills to alleviate painful<br />

periods, a 17-year old ballerina, a<br />

20-year-old college student, and a<br />

24-year-old makeup artist.<br />

A recent review conducted by<br />

researchers with the Catholic Medical<br />

Association found that “...using HC<br />

increases a woman’s risk of being diagnosed<br />

with VTE (venous thromboembolism)<br />

by three to nine times. For<br />

women under 30, the risk is increased<br />

13-fold during the first year of use,<br />

when the risk for clot formation is<br />

highest.” The study also found that “...<br />

the risk of fatal VTE was increased in<br />

women aged fifteen to twenty-four by<br />

18.8-fold.” The review concluded with<br />

the following: approximately 300-400<br />

healthy young women die in the United<br />

States every year from hormonal<br />

contraceptives.<br />

Another study conducted on women<br />

between 15-33 found that hormonal<br />

contraceptives were “positively associated<br />

with a first suicide attempt, as<br />

compared with never-users,” and the<br />

highest relative risks were experienced<br />

by adolescents. This increased risk may<br />

be due to the link between hormonal<br />

contraceptives and depression, as well<br />

as other issues, such as anxiety, related<br />

to abnormal fluctuation in users.<br />

In natural menstrual cycles, the fluctuations<br />

of estrogen and progesterone<br />

help to maintain healthy emotional<br />

regulation. The ventromedial prefrontal<br />

cortex, the part of the brain that is<br />

responsible for decision making, emotional<br />

regulation, and memory, works<br />

together with the parts of the brain<br />

that process fear. Synthetic hormones<br />

alter that process.<br />

The thickness of the vmPFC tissue<br />

correlates with one’s ability to handle<br />

generalized fear, mental and emotional<br />

resilience, and the ability to<br />

stay calm. In one study, women using<br />

hormonal contraceptives were found<br />

to have thinner vmPFCs, increasing<br />

their susceptibility to chronic anxiety<br />

and greater overall fearfulness.<br />

If blood clot and suicide risks weren’t<br />

alarming enough, hormonal contraceptives<br />

are also linked to infertility.<br />

Studies have shown that taking oral<br />

contraceptives for more than two years<br />

before pregnancy can increase the risk<br />

of miscarriage, especially for women<br />

who are 30-34 years old. This might<br />

be due to the fact that oral contraceptives<br />

cause endometrial atrophy, or the<br />

thinning of the lining of the uterus,<br />

when taken for long periods of time.<br />

Research indicates that this atrophy<br />

can “modify some local factors in the<br />

endometrium and increase the risk of<br />

miscarriage.”<br />

In addition, long-term use can result<br />

in decreased cervical fluid, which is<br />

necessary for conception. Hormonal<br />

contraceptives can actually prematurely<br />

age the cervix by decreasing the<br />

cervical crypts and prematurely age<br />

the ovaries, leading to a decrease in<br />

ovarian reserve.<br />

Finally, while The Washington Post<br />

claimed that hormonal contraception<br />

does not cause abortions (their<br />

argument being that the term “abortion”<br />

applies only to embryos that<br />

have implanted), contraceptive pills<br />

can stop embryos from implanting in<br />

the uterus in the first place. One can<br />

make a clinical distinction between<br />

these two scenarios, but if the science<br />

of embryonic life tells us that it begins<br />

at fertilization, the end results are the<br />

same.<br />

Even a cursory glance at the facts<br />

vindicates those advocating against<br />

hormonal birth control. They are neither<br />

misguided nor fearful, and they<br />

should definitely not be censored.<br />

For thousands of years, doctors and<br />

physicians have taken an oath to “do<br />

no harm.” It’s high time for us to do<br />

away with hormonal contraceptives<br />

so that we can have a more serious<br />

and robust discussion about how to<br />

regulate birth in a way that’s best for<br />

women.<br />

Katie Breckenridge works for the<br />

children’s rights organization “Them<br />

Before Us” and has written for several<br />

publications on beginning and end-oflife<br />

issues. She holds a master’s degree<br />

in mental health and wellness and is<br />

working toward a second master’s in<br />

bioethics.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 25



Fitting lessons from the O.J. trial<br />

When my father was in the<br />

hospital for the last time, we<br />

shared our final days together<br />

with O.J. Simpson. <strong>No</strong>t just O.J., but<br />

also Johnnie Cochran Jr., Robert Shapiro,<br />

Judge Lance Ito, Marcia Clark,<br />

Mark Fuhrman, Kato Kaelin, and the<br />

whole strange cast of characters that<br />

made up “the trial of the century.”<br />

The trial was on constantly in the<br />

hospital. My dad was watching it from<br />

his bed, and if we left the room, it was<br />

playing out in the waiting rooms and<br />

lobby. It was relentless.<br />

It seems hard to recreate how all-consuming<br />

the murder of Nicole Brown<br />

Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the<br />

O.J. Simpson looks at a new pair of gloves,<br />

the same type found at the murder scene,<br />

which prosecutors had him put on for the<br />

jury on June 21, 1995, during the double<br />

murder trial in Los Angeles. | VINCE<br />


subsequent arrest and trial of U.S.C.’s<br />

greatest running back, Hertz pitchman,<br />

and actor Orenthal James Simpson<br />

was, especially in Los Angeles. The<br />

whole city was the set for this reality<br />

TV show.<br />

A friend was commuting on the 405<br />

Freeway when he saw in the opposing<br />

lanes the slow-motion chase of the<br />

white Ford Bronco followed by a host<br />

of news helicopters broadcasting the<br />

whole bizarre event live. He said the<br />

sight of the helicopters coming over the<br />

horizon made it seem like a scene out<br />

of “Apocalypse <strong>No</strong>w.” It was a bizarre<br />

preview to an equally bizarre trial.<br />

<strong>No</strong>n-spoiler alert: What seemed like<br />

a slam dunk of a case surprised almost<br />

everyone with the jury finding Simpson<br />

not guilty. By and large, white Los Angeles<br />

was shocked and dismayed. Black<br />

Los Angeles was shocked too. They saw<br />

what can happen when you get the best<br />

legal defense team money can buy.<br />

One of the less-famous members of<br />

that defense team was Gerald Uelmen,<br />

former dean of the University of Santa<br />

Clara law school. He was an expert on<br />

the California Evidence Code. In his<br />

book “If It Doesn’t Fit: Lessons from a<br />

Life in the Law,” Uelmen explains that<br />

he was the one who came up with the<br />

line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,”<br />

that Cochran used with such devastating<br />

impact in his summation.<br />

In his essays on the O.J. trial, Uelmen<br />

lays out the defense strategy, which<br />

was simply to show that if the prosecution<br />

does not prove its case beyond a<br />

reasonable doubt, it requires the jury<br />

to acquit. He tells the story of one of<br />

the jurors who said she thought “ ‘O.J.<br />

probably did it,’ but she understood<br />

that ‘probably’ wasn’t good enough,<br />

that she had to be convinced beyond a<br />

reasonable doubt.”<br />

“The verdict,” Uelmen wrote, “was a<br />

vindication of the principle that guilt<br />

must be proven beyond a reasonable<br />

doubt.”<br />

Uelmen is eloquent in his defense<br />

of the jury system, and he stresses the<br />

importance of a defendant getting the<br />

best, most capable defense possible. He<br />

is also not blind to the impact of racism<br />

on our legal system.<br />

O.J. was a wealthy man. He hired<br />

the best. If you are black and poor<br />

in America, your odds of acquittal<br />

diminish dramatically. He cites a range<br />

of statistics showing that one’s color<br />

makes a difference: “Whites do better<br />

at getting charges dropped. They’re<br />

26 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

Greg Erlandson is the former president and<br />

editor-in-chief of Catholic <strong>News</strong> Service.<br />

better able to get charges reduced to<br />

lesser offenses. They draw more lenient<br />

sentences for the same crimes and go<br />

to prison less often.”<br />

“When you are on the receiving end,<br />

it’s hard not to come to the conclusion<br />

that our justice system is far from colorblind,”<br />

Uelmen wrote.<br />

Uelmen’s passion for a more just<br />

system includes his work in opposition<br />

to the death penalty. He has<br />

been a long-time board member of<br />

the Catholic Mobilizing Network, an<br />

organization that opposes the death<br />

penalty and supports restorative justice.<br />

(Full disclosure: I am also a member of<br />

CMN’s board.)<br />

One window into the imperfections<br />

of our judicial system is the number of<br />

people, often on death row, who are<br />

exonerated. Last year alone, 153 were<br />

exonerated, including four on death<br />

row and 22 who were sentenced to life<br />

without possibility of parole. Eightyfour<br />

percent of these exonerations were<br />

of people of color; 61% were black.<br />

Uelmen, as a Catholic and as a<br />

lawyer, judges the death penalty to be<br />

morally wrong. It is a position supported<br />

by the Catechism of the Catholic<br />

Church and the teachings of the last<br />

three popes.<br />

Then what about O.J.? To say his<br />

life only got worse after his acquittal<br />

is an understatement. O.J. lost a civil<br />

case with a lower standard of proof.<br />

He served nine years of jail time for<br />

another crime.<br />

Was justice ever served in this life for<br />

Nicole and Ron? <strong>No</strong>. The person who<br />

many of us think was their killer died<br />

April 10 of cancer.<br />

It is an imperfect justice system, its<br />

imperfections most often exposed in its<br />

inequalities. It is one of many reasons<br />

to oppose the death penalty: While the<br />

guilty may occasionally go free, the<br />

possibility that the innocent would lose<br />

their lives at the hands of the state is<br />

infinitely more horrifying.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 27



Imagining a country polarized beyond imagination, ‘Civil<br />

War’ doesn’t buy the modern glorification of the press.<br />

Kirsten Dunst in “Civil<br />

War.” | IMDB<br />


Be wary of any occupation described<br />

as “important.” The second<br />

you hear your job referred to<br />

as “essential” or, worse yet, a “vocation,”<br />

prepare to be underpaid and<br />

underappreciated. <strong>No</strong> job is more dispensable<br />

than the so-called important<br />

ones: True job security lies in holding a<br />

position no one quite understands the<br />

utility of, especially you.<br />

While the title and trailer for Alex<br />

Garland’s “Civil War” promises a film<br />

about a present-day America forgetting<br />

the lessons of 1865, he proves<br />

far more interested in one of those<br />

unfortunately important occupations:<br />

the journalist. War journalism is even<br />

worse, as it takes an already thankless<br />

task and throws in the bonus of live<br />

gunfire. Who are these people who<br />

face hell every day the same way we<br />

brave traffic? Is it strength that keeps<br />

them going, or rather some species of<br />

brokenness?<br />

The film follows Lee (Kirsten Dunst),<br />

a renowned photojournalist teamed<br />

up with writer Joel (Wagner Moura).<br />

Like the rest of their fellow reporters,<br />

they are covering the ongoing civil war<br />

between the U.S. government and the<br />

Western Forces, an alliance between<br />

California and Texas. Florida, in keeping<br />

with the restraint and foresight it’s<br />

known for, has broken away as its own<br />

republic. All factions march toward<br />

D.C., with the capital expected to fall<br />

any day.<br />

Lee and Joel decide to scoop their<br />

colleagues by driving through the war<br />

zone and attempting an interview with<br />

the president (Nick Offerman) before<br />

he is deposed. Two other journalists,<br />

each on the extremes of the age spectrum,<br />

tag along; their elderly mentor<br />

Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson)<br />

and cub reporter Jessie (Cailee<br />

Spaeny), who idolizes Lee much to her<br />

irritation.<br />

The film is almost perversely apathetic<br />

to political reading, with coalitions<br />

so ridiculous they seem designed to<br />

preempt any attempt. In reality California<br />

and Texas agree on little except the<br />

necessity of A/C, and even then they’d<br />

likely exchange tactical nukes over<br />

the definition of room temperature.<br />

Some film critics have dismissed this<br />

28 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

apoliticality as a weak, even cowardly<br />

decision. But Garland isn’t evading the<br />

question here, but rather opening a<br />

whole new prompt.<br />

On their journey the reporters<br />

stumble upon soldiers targeting an<br />

unseen sniper. When asked which<br />

faction the sniper fights for, the soldiers<br />

look disgusted by the question. Which<br />

side is he on? Why, the one currently<br />

shooting at us! It seems ideology can<br />

get you onto a battlefield, but pragmatism<br />

is the only thing that will get you<br />

back off. One recalls Jack Nicholson in<br />

“The Departed:” “When you’re facing<br />

a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”<br />

The press is a neutral party, with<br />

badges and vests that provide at least<br />

the illusion of immunity. As Lee<br />

expounds repeatedly to her unwanted<br />

protégé, objectivity is both ethical journalism<br />

and a common-sense survival<br />

tactic; no one likes feeling judged, with<br />

those carrying<br />

out war crimes<br />

particularly<br />

touchy about it.<br />

Garland shares<br />

this distance,<br />

never delving<br />

into the whos<br />

and whys of the<br />

war over the<br />

immediate now.<br />

The impartiality<br />

is not a bug but<br />

quite literally the<br />

whole feature:<br />

“Civil War”<br />

ponders the<br />

impossibility<br />

and necessity of<br />

objectivity, and<br />

how it corrodes<br />

your soul regardless.<br />

Is true objectivity<br />

even feasible?<br />

Photojournalism<br />

is never truly impartial, as every picture<br />

involves decisions. The road-tripping<br />

journalists pretend they are mere<br />

observers, but the camera is their eye<br />

and their perspective in both senses<br />

of the word. After all, just because<br />

the photo caption doesn’t reveal their<br />

conclusions doesn’t mean they have<br />

none. The movie offers no solution to<br />

the contradiction between objectivity<br />

and shaping the narrative; you’re left to<br />

decide if this is a tightrope or a net.<br />

“Civil War” is interested in journalists,<br />

but interest isn’t the same thing<br />

as admiration. Too many recent films<br />

about the press have felt protective and<br />

almost condescending in their treatment,<br />

a backrub for an industry on its<br />

back foot. Garland respects journalists<br />

enough to not respect them, letting<br />

them be humans and not humble<br />

guardians of democracy.<br />

There is a thin line between objectivity<br />

and detachment, and the journalists<br />

here straddle across willy-nilly. After<br />

witnessing a suicide bombing in New<br />

York, the reporters return to drinking<br />

in the hotel bar like insurance men at<br />

a conference. To them the frequent<br />

power outages in the city just mean<br />

spotty Wi-Fi.<br />

For all their stated noble intentions,<br />

the journalists come off more like<br />

adrenaline junkies than crusaders, their<br />

quest for the “perfect picture” becoming<br />

the purpose itself and not what it<br />

gives the public. One recalls the first<br />

photojournalists during the first Civil<br />

War, who rearranged fallen soldiers for<br />

more thrilling tableaus.<br />

At first glance Lee is one of these cynics,<br />

able to snap photos of dead bodies<br />

with nary a gag. Bright-eyed and bushytailed<br />

Jessie can’t stomach the reality,<br />

and hardly stops trembling through<br />

Pennsylvania (though few among us<br />

can). She is idealistic, but in the wild<br />

ideals get you killed. If you walked in<br />

halfway through Lee’s mentoring, you<br />

could reasonably mistake it for corruption.<br />

She even offers the kid cigarettes<br />

like a greaser in a “Leave It To Beaver”<br />

episode.<br />

Yet somewhere the roles reverse, with<br />

Lee deteriorating at the same clip<br />

Jessie grows bolder and more aloof.<br />

The easy answer to this is years of<br />

repressed PTSD finally passing their<br />

check. But Dunst plays it differently, as<br />

her character succumbs to the pangs<br />

of conscience.<br />

Jessie can’t help<br />

but remind<br />

her of her lost<br />

innocence, and<br />

either the disparity<br />

between<br />

what she once<br />

was or the relief<br />

that the baton<br />

has been passed<br />

allows Lee to<br />

step forward into<br />

the frame.<br />

The final act<br />

is a thrilling<br />

invasion of D.C.,<br />

but the true<br />

climax comes<br />

just before. Lee<br />

takes a picture of<br />

Cailee Spaeny and<br />

Wagner Moura in<br />

“Civil War.” | IMDB<br />

a fallen colleague,<br />

but after<br />

a second’s deliberation<br />

deletes it.<br />

Some moments<br />

belong to the moment, and some<br />

images are powerful because even as a<br />

million eyes deserve to see them, only<br />

one pair will ever truly understand.<br />

Joseph Joyce is a screenwriter and freelance<br />

critic based in Sherman Oaks.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 29



My miraculous life as a writer<br />

Heather King writes. |<br />


One of my favorite themes is the<br />

vocation of the artist. In fact,<br />

I’ve been working on a book<br />

about how my life came to be ordered<br />

to art: part memoir, part invitation, part<br />

supplication to up-and-coming writers.<br />

In a nutshell my message is this: Figure<br />

out a way to earn a humane living,<br />

write about what moves you, and pay<br />

no attention to passing trends.<br />

Near the end of 2009, for example, I<br />

felt that my work was not bearing fruit.<br />

I felt like all my efforts to “get my work<br />

out there” had come to naught.<br />

One morning, with very little conscious<br />

thought, I simply sat down,<br />

went to blogger.com, came up with a<br />

spur-of-the-moment title, for a header<br />

put up the photo of the Jesus statue<br />

from Elvis’ bedroom I’d snapped on<br />

my Motorola Razr a few years ago at<br />

Graceland, and started writing.<br />

It was as if the 15 years of relative<br />

silence of my career had ripened in a<br />

way I had never remotely imagined.<br />

Even though blogging is now considered<br />

passé and you’re supposed to call<br />

it a newsletter, or launch a Substack, I<br />

haven’t stopped whatever you want to<br />

call posting snippets of prose with an<br />

30 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

Heather King is an award-winning<br />

author, speaker, and workshop leader.<br />

image or two.<br />

Sometimes I write a 3,000 word essay.<br />

Sometimes I post a single quote from a<br />

writer, or artist, or theologian.<br />

I try to write about what I am for, not<br />

what I’m against. I write about what I<br />

love, what moves me, what intrigues<br />

me, what I can’t figure out.<br />

I write about the books and music and<br />

films and people that have saved me.<br />

I’m fascinated by culture insofar as it<br />

reflects upon the human condition but<br />

I generally steer away from politics. I<br />

don’t much care about being relevant<br />

or topical. I care about mystery.<br />

The whole effort is very time-consuming<br />

if I were to “count the cost,”<br />

so I don’t. I look upon it as a kind of<br />

scavenge. I cast my net, people from<br />

far and wide are dredged up in it, and<br />

after posting I then spend more time<br />

responding to comments and emails,<br />

and reflecting, and taking more pictures,<br />

and writing more posts.<br />

Yet — enough money comes in<br />

(from writing a weekly column, books,<br />

speaking, workshops, retreats, and the<br />

occasional donor) to keep me going,<br />

and who cares how much time it takes<br />

when I love putting the stuff out there?<br />

On the one hand, I get to do exactly<br />

as I “want,” and on the other, I’m a<br />

24/7 servant.<br />

On the one hand my burden is easy,<br />

and on the other I take up my cross<br />

daily.<br />

On the one hand I am utterly<br />

focused, and on the other I have no<br />

recognizable “business plan.”<br />

And that is the total, total fun of it!<br />

I hear from monks, priests, housewives,<br />

people who can’t get sober,<br />

people whose husbands want to<br />

undergo transgender surgery, people<br />

whose daughters are selling themselves<br />

for drugs, people in wheelchairs, people<br />

who are pissed off at the Church<br />

(many of those), people who want to<br />

write memoirs about their struggles<br />

with anorexia, childhood incest, or<br />

being a drunken nun.<br />

I once heard from a guy in Madison<br />

Lake, Minnesota, who said, “You<br />

misspelled ‘churches’ on your website”<br />

and I said, “Where?” and he said “I’ll<br />

check but right now I am going to a<br />

Twins game even though they’re losing”<br />

and then I never heard from him<br />

again. I love that guy! That guy is not<br />

the distraction or side note: that guy is<br />

the whole thing!<br />

I get invitations to speak: in Sioux<br />

Falls, South Dakota; in Omaha, Nebraska;<br />

in Anaheim, California.<br />

Just last week, a reader texted an offer<br />

to underwrite a trip to Venice, Italy,<br />

this fall so I can attend the Biennale.<br />

If you were to examine my life from<br />

the outside you’d say: It cannot be.<br />

It cannot be that in this resolutely<br />

secular culture, of which in one way<br />

I am squarely a member, you could<br />

write from a heart for Christ and still<br />

make a living.<br />

It could not be that you could have<br />

no brand, no platform, no politics, no<br />

ax to grind, no message other than the<br />

invitation to “joyfully participate in the<br />

sorrows of the world” (Mother Teresa’s<br />

phrase), and still have people find you,<br />

and respond to your work, and ask<br />

you to come speak at their parish or<br />

novitiate or independent bookstore or<br />

abbey.<br />

It could not be that you could write<br />

about your love of Christ and hear<br />

from atheists, bitterly lapsed Catholics,<br />

agnostics, Buddhists, and Jews who<br />

are seeking, who are questioning, who<br />

are finding their way as well, and who<br />

want to say Hey, or Good for you, or I<br />

disagree but I like that you’re reaching.<br />

Truly, my life is a minute-by-minute<br />

demonstration of the miracle of the<br />

loaves and fishes. Truly, when Christ<br />

said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of<br />

God, and its righteousness; and all<br />

these things shall be added unto you”<br />

— he was telling the truth.<br />

He was making a promise.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 31



Scott Hahn is founder of the<br />

St. Paul Center for Biblical<br />

Theology; stpaulcenter.com.<br />

Close to Jesus means close to Mary<br />

To be close to Christ is to be close to Mary.<br />

Think, for a moment, about the fact that you have<br />

been “saved.” And what is your salvation?<br />

Jesus has given his life to be your own, so that you have<br />

become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He<br />

has given you his home, heaven, so that you may live in it<br />

as your home, too. He has<br />

invited you to eat from his<br />

table and call his Father<br />

“Our Father.”<br />

And he has given his<br />

mother to be your mother.<br />

We cannot be Jesus’<br />

brother unless Mary is our<br />

mother. The Church is the<br />

“assembly of the firstborn”<br />

(Hebrews 12:23), and she<br />

is mother of the firstborn.<br />

The early Christians knew<br />

this, and they gloried in it.<br />

In the Gospels, Mary has<br />

one of the largest speaking<br />

parts. In spite of her<br />

lowliness, she is the star<br />

of the opening chapters of<br />

the Gospels of Matthew<br />

and Luke. Her kinfolk,<br />

Elizabeth and Zechariah,<br />

appear; but their activity is<br />

directed toward Mary’s and<br />

resolved in Mary’s. An angel<br />

appears, but he is sent<br />

to serve Mary. Joseph says<br />

not a word in the entire<br />

New Testament, but places<br />

himself at the service of<br />

Mary and the divine Child.<br />

When John depicts the<br />

birth of Jesus symbolically<br />

in the Book of Revelation<br />

(chapter 12), once again Mary appears at the center of the<br />

drama. She is the woman who gives birth to the “male<br />

child” who is the king of all nations. Mother and Son face<br />

mortal danger and flee to the wilderness, just as we see in<br />

the infancy narratives of the Gospels. In the Apocalypse,<br />

however, we learn that the earthly events are actually a<br />

manifestation of the great cosmic war between St. Michael’s<br />

angelic forces and the serpent’s.<br />

The woman is there, in Revelation, for the sake of her<br />

divine Son, but his presence providentially depends upon<br />

her cooperation.<br />

The “woman” of Revelation<br />

is clearly Mary, and<br />

“St. Mary (the Blessed Virgin)<br />

with the Christ Child,” by B.E.<br />

Murillo, 1617-1682, Spanish. |<br />


yet she is also the Church,<br />

the mother of “many offspring.”<br />

This is not a contradiction.<br />

It’s the way the<br />

biblical peoples thought<br />

and expressed themselves.<br />

“Israel” was a man, a<br />

historical figure, but it was<br />

also the name of the man’s<br />

offspring and their nation.<br />

In the same way, the name<br />

“David” designated Israel’s<br />

great king, but also his<br />

capital city, his household,<br />

and his descendants.<br />

Thus, the early Church<br />

Fathers, having fed themselves<br />

on Scripture, could<br />

say such things as, “We call<br />

the Church by the name<br />

of Mary, for she deserves<br />

a double name.” So said<br />

St. Ephrem of Syria in the<br />

fourth century.<br />

Almost two centuries earlier,<br />

St. Irenaeus had used<br />

the same maternal imagery<br />

in a poetic way, when he<br />

described Jesus as “the<br />

pure One opening purely<br />

that pure womb which<br />

regenerates men unto God,<br />

and which he himself made pure.”<br />

The Blessed Virgin Mary is already what you and I are<br />

ever striving to be. <strong>May</strong> is a month especially dedicated to<br />

her. Let’s spend it close to her, and thus close to her divine<br />

Son.<br />

32 • ANGELUS • <strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong>

■ SATURDAY, APRIL 27<br />

Bereavement Retreat. St. Brigid Church, 5214 S. Western<br />

Ave., Los Angeles, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Register at bereavement.<br />

ministry@yahoo.com. Cost: $60/person, covers all food<br />

and materials. Pay by Zelle to 562-631-8844 by April 19.<br />

Knights of Columbus Car Wash. St. Barnabas Church,<br />

3955 Orange Ave., Long Beach, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. $10/vehicle.<br />

Visit StBarnabasLB.org.<br />

■ SUNDAY, APRIL 28<br />

St. John Paul II Canonization Anniversary Mass. Shrine<br />

of St. John Paul II, 3424 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, 3<br />

p.m. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of JP2’s canonization.<br />

Reception to follow in parish hall. Call 323-734-5249.<br />

Sunday Afternoon Concert. Padre Serra Church, 5205<br />

Upload Rd., Camarillo, 3 p.m. Dominic McAller, piano, and<br />

Dave Reynolds, guitar, will perform music by Bach, Carulli,<br />

Handel, Haydn, and more. Free and open to the public;<br />

donations accepted.<br />

■ THURSDAY, MAY 2<br />

Bereavement Support Group. St. Mary of the Assumption<br />

Church, 7215 Newlin Ave., Whittier, 7-8:30 p.m. Five-week<br />

support group will meet every Thursday in <strong>May</strong>. RSVP by<br />

April 29 to Cathy at bereavement.ministry@yahoo.com or<br />

text 562-631-8844.<br />

■ FRIDAY, MAY 3<br />

Bereavement Support Group. St. Mary of the Assumption<br />

Church, 7215 Newlin Ave., Whittier, 9-10:30 a.m. Fiveweek<br />

support group will meet every Friday in <strong>May</strong>. RSVP by<br />

April 29 to Cathy at bereavement.ministry@yahoo.com or<br />

text 562-631-8844.<br />

<strong>No</strong>ah’s Flood: LA Opera. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. and <strong>May</strong><br />

4, 7:30 p.m. The LA Opera presents the story of <strong>No</strong>ah’s<br />

ark set to music, featuring 300 performers of all ages. Free<br />

admission but advance tickets required. Visit LAOpera.org/<br />

<strong>No</strong>ah.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 4<br />

Remain in My Love: Separated & Divorced Conference.<br />

Christ Cathedral, 13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, 9<br />

a.m.-4 p.m. Separated and divorced Catholics are invited<br />

to a conference of spiritual healing, encouragement, and<br />

fellowship. Topics include: self-care, emotional healing, and<br />

parenting children of divorce. Keynote speaker: Joe Sikorra,<br />

LMFT. Cost: $40/person, includes lunch and material.<br />

Register at https://forms.office.com/r/zrK0Ukfnhf.<br />

Eucharistic Revival film screening. St. Julie Billiart Church,<br />

2475 Borchard Rd., Newbury Park, 2-4:30 p.m. Event features<br />

viewing of “ALIVE: The Real Presence of Jesus in the<br />

Eucharist,” followed by Q&A with Sister Nancy Usselmann,<br />

FSP. Email pam@stjulieschurch.org.<br />

■ TUESDAY, MAY 7<br />

South Bay Catholic Jewish Women’s Dialogue Conference.<br />

St. Lawrence Martyr Church, 1940 S. Prospect Ave.,<br />

Redondo Beach, 8:30 a.m. “Are You There, God? It’s Me.<br />

My Relationship with God”: Rabbi Rebeccah Yussman and<br />

Anne Hansen discuss. Visit sbcjwd.com to register. Cost:<br />

$25/person, includes continental breakfast and lunch.<br />

Wellness Evening on Stress. St. Christopher Church,<br />

629 Glendora Ave., West Covina, 7-8:30 p.m. Email Jillian<br />

Cooke at FKMministry@gmail.com or call 626-917-0040.<br />

■ THURSDAY, MAY 9<br />

St. Padre Pio Mass. St. Anne Church, 340 10th St., Seal<br />

Beach, 1 p.m. For more information, call 562-537-4526.<br />

■ FRIDAY, MAY 10<br />

Bereavement Retreat. St. Mary of the Assumption<br />

Church, 7215 Newlin Ave., Whittier, 6-9 p.m. and<br />

Saturday, <strong>May</strong> 11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Register at bereavement.<br />

ministry@yahoo.com. Cost: $75/person, covers all food<br />

and materials. Pay by Zelle to 562-631-8844 by <strong>May</strong> 3.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 11<br />

Eucharistic Revival Retreat. Visitation Church, 6561 W.<br />

88th St., Los Angeles, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Father Parker Sandoval<br />

will lead a parish-wide retreat on “Who is Jesus? The<br />

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and our Mission<br />

as Catholics to share the Good <strong>News</strong> with Others.” Cost:<br />

$35/person, includes continental breakfast, lunch, and<br />

retreat materials. Visit VisRetreat0524.givesmart.com.<br />

Mother’s Day Rosary. Catholic Cemeteries, 2 p.m. Rosary<br />

will be held at all 11 Catholic cemetery locations. Livestream<br />

available at facebook.com/lacatholics and catholiccm.org/rosary.<br />

Santacruzan Marian Celebration. Cathedral of Our Lady<br />

of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 2:30 p.m.<br />

Filipino Catholic community will celebrate with a pre-procession<br />

at 2:30 p.m. and Mass at 3 p.m.<br />

■ MONDAY, MAY 13<br />

Blue Army Statue of Our Lady of Fátima Mass. St. Dorothy<br />

Church, 241 S. Valley Center Ave., Glendora, 8:30 a.m.<br />

and 7 p.m. Masses, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Exposition of the<br />

Blessed Sacrament. Visit stdorothy.org.<br />

■ TUESDAY, MAY 14<br />

Memorial Mass. San Fernando Mission, 15151 San<br />

Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, 11 a.m. Mass is<br />

open to the public. Limited seating. RSVP to outreach@<br />

catholiccm.org or call 213-637-7810. Livestream available<br />

at CatholicCM.org or Facebook.com/lacatholics.<br />

■ FRIDAY, MAY 17<br />

Ethical Leadership Lunch. Cathedral of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, 11:30 a.m.-1:30<br />

p.m. Event brings together Catholic leaders from the<br />

business world to discuss how ethical practices positively<br />

impact our community. For more, visit lacatholics.org/<br />

events.<br />

■ SATURDAY, MAY 18<br />

37th Annual Walk for Life South Bay. Veterans Park,<br />

309 Esplanade, Redondo Beach, 8:30 a.m. Fun, family-friendly<br />

three-mile walk for all abilities, includes food,<br />

music, kids’ activities, and more. Register by April 23 and<br />

raise or pay $45/walker for the event T-shirt. Registration<br />

at the event starts at 7:30 a.m., walk starts at 9 a.m.<br />

Proceeds benefit Pregnancy Help Center in Torrance. Visit<br />

event.fundeasy.com/27239, supportphctorrance.org, or<br />

call 424-263-4855.<br />

Fresh Fire of God’s Spirit: Pentecost Rally. St. John the<br />

Baptist Church, 3883 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park,<br />

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Teachings, prayer, and Pentecost vigil Mass.<br />

Presenters include Father Ismael Robles, Dr. Elizabeth<br />

Kim, and Dominic Berardino. Free event. For more, contact<br />

818-771-1361 or spirit@scrc.org, or visit events.scrc.<br />

org.<br />

Items for the calendar of events are due four weeks prior to the date of the event. They may be emailed to calendar@angelusnews.com.<br />

All calendar items must include the name, date, time, address of the event, and a phone number for additional information.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3, <strong>2024</strong> • ANGELUS • 33

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