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Author Archive: Denise J. Hunnell, MD

Denise's vocation is being a wife, mother, and grandmother. Her occupation has wound its way through being a practicing family physician to studying Catholic health care ethics to writing and teaching about all things Catholic. She is a fellow with Human Life International and regularly contributes to the HLI Truth & Charity Forum. She also writes a monthly column for Zenit.org. She and her husband John have been married for thirty years and have lived all over the United States, courtesy of John's Air Force career. They are now settled in the suburbs of Northern Virginia and blessed with four children and three grandchildren (so far).

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Millennials?

January 30, AD2017 7 Comments
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Millennials?

The term “Millennials” refers to the generation born after 1980. They are coming of age and entering the job market in the early years of the new millennium. Currently, a great many people seem to be channeling The Sound of Music and singing, “How do you solve a problem like Millennials?” The Worrisome Trends Simon Sinek, a […]

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Spending My Christmas in Whoville

December 25, AD2016 1 Comment
Spending My Christmas in Whoville

In the Christmas classic, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the residents of Whoville wake up on Christmas morning to find none of their Christmas trimmings in place. The Grinch has stolen their trees, their presents, their colorful lights, and their Christmas dinner. Yet, seemingly oblivious to this treachery, the Whoville denizens gather to sing and […]

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Republicans, Do Not Take My Vote for Granted!

November 24, AD2016 3 Comments
Republicans, Do Not Take My Vote for Granted!

I am certain that as many Republican politicians gather around their Thanksgiving table they will offer thanks for the recent elections. Of course, they should first bow their heads and humbly offer their public service for the Glory of God. Their triumphs are not theirs alone. I also hope they acknowledge their indebtedness to the men and […]

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The Challenge to Be Courageously Catholic

October 24, AD2016 2 Comments
The Challenge to Be Courageously Catholic

A few days ago we returned home to a plumbing catastrophe. We had been out to dinner for a little over two hours and in that time an estimated six hundred gallons of water had flowed from an upstairs bathroom into the two adjoining bedrooms. It traveled through the walls and floor to flood the […]

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The Mass: To Know, To Love, To Serve

September 24, AD2016 2 Comments
The Mass: To Know, To Love, To Serve

How does the Mass compete? The scenes from World Youth Day in Poland give hope that all is not lost. There is still a zeal for the Faith among young Catholics. Yet whenever I gather with other Catholic mothers of grown children there is always a sad story of a child who has left the […]

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The TV Dinner and the Sexual Revolution

August 26, AD2016 2 Comments
The TV Dinner and the Sexual Revolution

There was something about the 1960s and ’70s. Making life easy and devising all kinds of shortcuts marked these decades. Nothing epitomizes this like the TV dinner. As a child of this era, I clearly remember my mother in the kitchen chopping, dicing, stewing, and roasting to have dinner on the table at 5:00 p.m. […]

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Loving Our Neighbors On the Road

July 24, AD2016 2 Comments
Loving Our Neighbors On the Road

Driving around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area can be a near occasion of sin. The roads are crowded. People are in a hurry. Patience is in short supply and tempers flare. But in addition to all the aggressive driving and its ensuing angry responses, there can also be reminders of how difficult it is to […]

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Where You Store Your Treasure of Time

June 21, AD2016 0 Comments
Where You Store Your Treasure of Time

I love it when my children teach me something, or at least make me think about something I might not have considered otherwise. Now that they are all adults, this is a more frequent occurrence. For example, my youngest son shared a statement he heard and has taken to heart, “You are a reflection of […]

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Downsizing the Domestic Church

April 26, AD2016 0 Comments
Downsizing the Domestic Church

In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1964, the family is called the “domestic church”. Pope John Paul II continued this verbiage in both his apostolic exhortation, Familiaris Consortio and his 1994 Letter to Families. Pope Francis, in his recently published apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, describes families as domestic churches eleven different times. […]

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Lessons in Mercy from the Prodigal Son’s Older Brother

March 28, AD2016 5 Comments
Lessons in Mercy from the Prodigal Son’s Older Brother

This year the Gospel reading for Laetare Sunday included the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), an appropriate choice as we paused to break the somber tone of Lent and rejoice. The return of the Prodigal Son is a time of great rejoicing, for the son who was once lost is now found. Why […]

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Lent in the Shadow of Death

February 23, AD2016 1 Comment
Lent in the Shadow of Death

“Remember, man, you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” The priest uttered these words on Ash Wednesday as he traced the black cross on my forehead. Like all Catholics, I began Lent under the pall of death. The view outside my window echoed the lifeless theme. The trees were bare, the birds were […]

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The Evolution of Mercy in the Pro-Life Movement

January 27, AD2016
The Evolution of Mercy in the Pro-Life Movement

Tens of thousands of pro-life supporters marched once again marched through the streets of Washington D.C. in the 43rd annual March for Life. An impending blizzard kept the numbers down from the usual hundreds of thousands, but it was still an impressive force. Some may look with dismay at the fact that the March for […]

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Family Life as “Domestic Pilgrimage”

December 29, AD2015 6 Comments
Family Life as “Domestic Pilgrimage”

As we fold the Christmas table linens and pick up the scraps of wrapping paper, it is tempting to compare our Christmas Day with the glowing images we saw on television or in the family pictures that accompanied many of the Christmas cards we received. For many if not most of us, the comparison can […]

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Home for Christmas

December 23, AD2015 2 Comments
Home for Christmas

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Catholic Stand, December 2, 2014. We are republishing here for your holiday enjoyment.] So much popular Christmas music deals with going home. I can remember passing around the tissues as the song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” turned a bunch of military wives into a weepy mess. […]

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Living Each Season with Christ

November 3, AD2015 0 Comments
Living Each Season with Christ

For much of my adult life I have lived in areas that really offered only three of the four seasons. In the Deep South summer faded into a blended autumn and winter; by February, hints of spring were already evident. On the other hand, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula we only gave a passing nod to […]

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Pope Francis’ Visit: Pastoral or Political?

October 6, AD2015 0 Comments
Pope Francis’ Visit: Pastoral or Political?

As Pope Francis traveled to Cuba and then to the United States he stressed that his visits were pastoral, not political. He is the shepherd of the world’s Catholics. Yet in spite of such insistence, pundits of all stripes analyzed his every move as if they were reading tea leaves to find a hidden ideological […]

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Pope Francis and the Anatomy of Gossip

September 12, AD2015 10 Comments
Pope Francis and the Anatomy of Gossip

  After one of Pope Francis’ recent daily Mass homilies, the headlines blared that Pope Francis likened the vice of gossip to terrorism. At face value, this seems to be an extreme analogy and unjustified hyperbole. However, if one looks past the headlines and reads Pope Francis’ actual words, the comparison is actually quite apt. […]

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Embracing the Divorced and Remarried With a Mother’s Heart

August 11, AD2015 16 Comments
Embracing the Divorced and Remarried With a Mother’s Heart

  In his August 5, 2015 General Audience, Pope Francis broached the controversial topic of civilly divorced Catholics who have remarried. The secular media lit up with pronouncements that Pope Francis was pushing for communion for the divorced and remarried. Those who advocate for a change to Church doctrine and those who are caught up […]

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Catholic Marriage after Obergefell: Doctrine and Discipline

July 15, AD2015 11 Comments
Catholic Marriage after Obergefell: Doctrine and Discipline

  The recent Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision declared that legal marriage must be extended to same-sex couples. This is a monumental legal decision but this case has no effect on the Catholic doctrine of matrimony. Catholic marriage is now and always will be a unique union between one man and one woman, joined […]

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Staying Catholic: “Lord, to Whom Shall I Go?”

June 16, AD2015 14 Comments
Staying Catholic: “Lord, to Whom Shall I Go?”

The Pew Research Center released a report, America’s Changing Religious Landscape, documenting the precipitous decline in the number of Americans who identify as Christian. The study highlights the large number of American Catholics who have left the Church for other religious denominations. This story, coupled with the recent defection of Canadian author Michael Coren from […]

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The Burden of Modesty

May 19, AD2015 21 Comments
The Burden of Modesty

As the end of the school year approaches, prom season is in full swing. Delone Catholic High School, in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, is stirring up a national controversy by requiring girls to submit pictures of their prom dresses for approval. It is reported on both the Huffington Post and Seventeen Magazine web sites; both are portraying […]

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The Complementarity of Justice and Mercy

April 21, AD2015 9 Comments
The Complementarity of Justice and Mercy

We have just celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday during the season of Easter, which can rightly be viewed as a season of mercy. Pope Francis has declared that the Church will celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning December 8, 2015. Through both the rhythm of the liturgical calendar and the guidance of our Holy Father […]

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The Prayer of the Elderly

March 24, AD2015 1 Comment
The Prayer of the Elderly

As I write this, I am eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of my third grandchild. I have been privileged to share many happy times with my granddaughter and grandson; and I look forward to making more memories that include their baby sister. Like my own grandparents, I want to share my life with them; and […]

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My Lenten Pilgrimage

February 24, AD2015 3 Comments
My Lenten Pilgrimage

Every year I make plans for my Lenten practices and spiritual reading, but I know to be flexible because every year an unanticipated thrust emerges and shapes the contours of my Lent. One year it was forgiveness and reconciliation. Another year I found myself called to simplify and detach from the material world. I don’t plan […]

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