October 2012

The power of reconciliation

One of the "rites of passage" of a Catholic child is making his or her first confession. For those unfamiliar with confession in the Catholic tradition, the practice is that the penitent confesses his or her sins to a priest, who offers some counsel as well as a penance which the penitent must accomplish (usually a prayer or an act of devotion or charity of some kind). It is generally held that it is unlikely that a child has sufficient moral awareness before the age of 6 or 7 to commit a real sin (and even then, it is unlikely to be very grave).

My earliest understanding of God

I grew up in a practicing Catholic family. I was baptised as an infant, learned my prayers at an early age, and was brought to mass by my parents. While I don't ever recall it being at all overbearing, I also can't recall a time when religion wasn't part of our family experience. Simply put, God, prayer and Church were just there, as part of our lives. It felt very natural.

Bishop Tom Dowd's personal story of faith

During my time of private spiritual preparation for the Year of Faith, I have felt called to share the story of my personal faith journey. The notion first arose when I was being interviewed by journalists prior to my ordination as a bishop. More than one reporter asked me if I had ever had any doubts or questions about my Catholic faith. In all honesty, while I am a firmly committed believer in Jesus Christ and in his Church, I (like lots of people) have indeed had my struggles.