January 14, 2022

Sr. Catherine, an English Benedictine nun who goes by the online handle “DigitalNun,” recently shared that she was close to death. Reflecting on the diagnosis and how to handle her final days, she writes:

[A monk and a fellow nun] confirmed my opinion that Catholicism can be a hard religion to live by but is a beautiful religion in which to die. The rituals and prayer with which we surround death, especially the monastic ones, the Church’s clear-eyed acceptance of sin and failure and her confidence in her mission to channel God’s love and mercy to her children, are very moving, but perhaps one only begins to appreciate them when one is dying oneself. I like, too, the combination of infinite trust in God and the lack of presumption. No zipping into heaven for me but, I hope, the final purification of purgatory. In the meantime, I shall be tidying my sock drawer – monastic-speak for preparing to die.

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Santa Clara University Magazine has an interview with Fr. Robert Ballacer, SJ, focusing on breaking stereotypes. In Fr. Ballacer’s case, it’s his background in technology:

I worked with some of the people who made foundational parts of the internet. And, when I worked with a network in the Bay Area called This Week in Tech, I did it in my clerics. I always identify myself as Fr. Robert. I’m always looking for the moment of “I didn’t know a priest could do that.” That means I’ve broken the stereotype. It means people are thinking, “I can be a person of faith but I’m also a politician, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer.”

In Vatican news, Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into 1,237 potential cases of abuse which have been uncovered by a Spanish newspaper, El Pais. Involving 31 religious congregations and allegations against 251 priests and laity, the investigation will be carried out by the Spanish bishops’ conference. According to Religión Digitalabout 77% of the cases already have an open investigation.

Finally, The Pillar has a useful short glossary of terms related to religious life, including how they are often used in technically incorrect ways, as was the case during recent coverage (NBC, NPR) about the problems the Missionaries of Charity were having getting funding from the Indian government for their work.