Pope’s timing just right as he lacks the energy to meet responsibility

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 at age 78, I was working at Loyola College (now Loyola University) in Baltimore. A local radio announcer, who was on the air during the late afternoon commute, telephoned me to discuss this breaking news with him on the air. “He’s a little old for the job, isn’t he?” asked the host, who had never met me before. “He’s exactly one month older than I am,” I replied. “Well, I have to say he looked pretty good all in white there on television when he stepped out onto that balcony,” the radio host remarked a bit defensively. “And did you know he was in the German army and a prisoner of war in the second world war?” he asked. “I may have guarded him,” I said, just to pull the announcer’s leg a bit; “I was in the U.S. army in Germany at that time,” although Ratzinger the soldier had slipped away from military service just before I arrived in his homeland as part of the army of occupation after Germany surrendered in 1945.

A Lenten challenge to make us take a long hard look

The Sunday paper reported the death of Reg Presley. The name may not sound familiar. Presley was a member of the musical group The Troggs, and provided the raspy voice that sang "Wild Thing." Remember now? If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s you couldn't forget the song. "Wild thing, you make my heart sing." The abbreviated obituary from The New York Times called the song "a paean to teenage lust." Mr. Presley was 71 and died after a series of strokes.

Less than a perfect union

The state of the union is not so strong. The state of the union is not to be confused with the condition of the country, perhaps a more apt title for the presidential speech typically delivered to a joint session of Congress each year. The union, in the sense of community, is far from unified. It is divided on many core issues and beliefs.

A voice that proposed love and fulfillment

The following editorial appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Perth, Australia. It was written by Peter Rosengren, the editor. It seems nearly impossible to say anything that will be unique or new about the most talked about news of the week, and probably of the year. However, […]

Facing up to the ‘epidemic’ of military suicides

No one can appreciate the unimaginable pain that is the ultimate explanation for such a tragic action. No one, therefore, can sit in judgment on a person whose choice cannot be fathomed and whose life can only be remembered but not restored, and whose pain we simply cannot understand.

His wife is gone, but she is still with us

Monica is praying for you. You can be sure of that. And she's praying for me. I thank God for that. As you may have heard or read, my wife Monica, who contributed to this column, passed away on the evening of Jan. 6. She died at home, in our bedroom, of uterine cancer.

Knowing the horrors of war may be the experience we need

The nation will benefit from having a Secretary of Defense who, for the first time, is an infantry combat veteran and one who advocates a sharp reduction in the number of U.S. nuclear weapons. Each is a perspective that has been sorely lacking for years among those responsible for committing America's soldiers to combat.

For your own good, be honest about your weight

Do you know your true weight? Or are you like many others who fudge (pardon the food reference) their numbers or otherwise try to avoid the topic altogether? Honesty really is the best policy. We do ourselves no favors if we try to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room.

Figure it out: Be receptive to God’s will

In a faraway city, I have a daughter who is trying to figure out the rest of her life. To be fair, I suppose there are moments in each week when you and I are trying to figure out the rest of our lives, too. But my daughter is at that moment of impending college graduation when the "real" world beyond the classroom is lurking like some ogre -- or perhaps an angel -- outside the door.

Hypertension: A hidden danger

I've heard this comment made more than once: "I had no idea my blood pressure was too high. I didn't feel a thing." Perhaps you have said the same, until you had your blood pressure checked. You had no idea it was dangerously high and put you at risk for heart attack, stroke or other problem.