US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Can we ever have a civil conversation about abortion?

Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate highlights the contention surrounding abortion and reminds us that dialogue is possible—and necessary.

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog News

Hillary Clinton selected Virginia’s junior senator and former governor Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate. An active Catholic and Democratic politician who is personally opposed to abortion but does not seek to make it illegal, his selection has highlighted the contention in this country surrounding the issue of legal abortions, especially among Catholics.


Catholicism and LGBT discrimination

The Catholic Church can't just congratulate itself on condemning violence toward LGBT people. We need to do better and fight to end discrimination of all kinds.

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog Justice

We have once again witnessed a devastating and horrific act of mass murder. On June 12, 2016 a violent young man and fellow citizen who was heavily-armed, psychologically-troubled, and professing hatred of LGBT people and allegiance to a radical and violent form of Islam killed 49 people and injured another 53. These kinds of mass shootings happen regularly in the United States; this is the most recent and the most lethal.


A controversial Catholic conscience

The key to understanding Francis’ words in The Joy of Love—and indeed, his entire pontificate—is his views on mercy.

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog News

What role does conscience play in moral decision-making? The answer to this question may explain much of the controversy surrounding Pope Francis’ recently released Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).


Can a Catholic vote for a Democrat? Guided by your conscience

Does a Catholic always have to vote for the presidential candidate who opposes abortion?

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog News

This is the first part of a two part series dealing with the question of abortion, conscience, and a Catholic’s vote for president. You can read Part 2 here.

“Father, you need to tell people that they can’t be Catholic and vote for a Democrat for President! And you need to tell them that from the pulpit! People need to be told!” About every four years, I hear something along these lines from some well-meaning Catholic.


In defense of the USCCB and ‘Faithful Citizenship’

American Catholics should trust 'Faithful Citizenship' as a credible guide to social issues and the upcoming elections.

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog News

Most people tend to adjust their faith to fit their politics rather than adjust their politics to fit their faith. It’s a frustration that I’ve had in a variety of different parishes in a variety of different states; when the teachings of the church conflict with a person’s political beliefs, then the person’s political allegiance takes precedence—almost every time. The person quickly decides that the church must be wrong and the political party must be right.


Divorce is not a mortal sin

Why can't divorced and remarried people receive communion in the Catholic Church? It's not because they're in a state of mortal sin.

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog Your Faith

Looking back at all the debates that took place before, during, and after the Synod on the Family, the most serious and most common misrepresentation of Catholic Church teaching is the claim that those who have divorced and remarried are not allowed to receive communion because they are in a state of mortal sin.

Let me make this very clear: This claim is quite wrong. Many people have arrogantly or ignorantly concluded that they can authoritatively determine couples’ state of sin or grace. But this is not what the church teaches.


The problem with biblical justifications for divorce

Catholics on both sides use the Bible to argue whether divorced Catholics should participate in the Eucharist. But are they taking Jesus' words out of context?

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog Your Faith

If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out! It is better, we are told, to live blind and maimed than to be thrown into “fiery Gehenna” with all our body parts intact (Mark 9:42–48, Matthew 18:6–9).

What are we to make of Jesus’ teachings? They seem pretty clear. However, interestingly enough, the Catholic Church would consider it a mortal sin if someone with sound mind willingly engaged in the sort of self-mutilation Jesus recommends.


How it feels to be denied communion

The Catholic Church says that divorced and remarried Catholics can't receive communion. But is that really what Jesus would teach?

By Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. |
blog Lifestyle

Father Paul Keller, C.M.F. is a new online columnist for U.S. Catholic. His column, Smells like sheep, focuses on the places where pastoral ministry, public policy, theology, and ethics converge.