Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted was installed as the fourth bishop of Phoenix on Dec. 20, 2003.
Since 1974, Bishop Thomas James Olmsted has been a member of the Jesus Caritas fraternity of priests, and thus has been deeply influenced by the witness and wisdom of Charles de Foucauld and by the prayers and encouragement of many brother priests.
For 16 years, Bishop Olmsted lived in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a master’s dgree in theology, a doctorate in Canon Law, and worked more than nine years in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. During the nine years of serving in the Holy See, he resided at the Pontifical North American College and assisted seminarians with spiritual direction.
Having been reared on a family farm on the Kansas-Nebraska border, he attended a single-room grade school near Oketo, Kan., and a small rural high school in Summerfield, Kan. His first contact with Catholic schools came when he entered St. Thomas Seminary College in Denver, Colo., from which he graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” These words of Charles Dickens could easily be applied to the present situation that the Church faces in the American continent when she proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ about marriage, family and the culture of life.
The common good is built by means of charity. While it is true that the government has a role to play in this endeavor, it is incapable of bringing about human flourishing on its own, since it cannot move people to act with charity.
Recently we have been looking at eight tasks Catholics need to be about in order effectively to bear witness to Christ at this time in America. Today, we shall look at two more: Make Sunday the center of our life and defend the life and dignity of all persons.
Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is a fresh re-presenting of the Church’s teaching on the gift of human sexuality and the mission of married couples. It lays out more clearly and persuasively what Paul VI taught in Humanae Vitae, while rooting the presentation in a richer biblical context.
The Catholic standard for discerning the viability and wisdom of when to assimilate to a culture, or when to resist assimilation, must be the Gospel of Jesus as handed down to us within the Church, and as celebrated in the Sacred Liturgy.
Since the universal call to holiness demands of all a share in the Cross of Christ, it is not surprising that persons with homosexual inclinations face difficulties of various sorts as they, like all other followers of Jesus, seek to love God with all their mind and heart, and to love their neighbor as themselves.
Do not see those with homosexual inclinations as problems but as persons, persons whom Jesus redeemed by His Cross, persons called to holiness, persons with an inviolable dignity and an eternal destiny bestowed on them by God, persons like you and me, persons who have a welcome place in our Church.
When the Church at Vatican II lifted high the universal call to holiness, it rightly received an enthusiastic response. For it is indeed good news for people of every time and place. How good to know that it is possible for us all to have a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and even to become like Him.
The Catholic Sun is the official newspaper and news site for the Diocese of Phoenix. We share in the mission of evangelizing the Catholic faithful by providing news, information, education, a forum for discussion and guidance in matters of faith, morals and spiritual life.