Commentaries

Same-sex marriage in the family: What’s a parent to do?

Marriage columnists Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain address their hypothetical dilemma: A gay son plans his wedding, and parents try to apply church teaching.

Alzheimer’s disease, caregiving and when to let go

There are some considerations to think about and pray over as you try to evaluate and reconcile reality, resources and the deep commitment and ties that come with being a husband, wife, parent or child of someone with Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers may agonize over a deeply emotional question: When is it time to let go and move my loved one out of the home?

He said what? A deeper look at Pope Francis’ words, in plainer English

There are lines in Pope Francis’ latest interview, with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, that could be construed in alarming ways. But reading the interview in its entirety, carefully and considering its poor translation into English, you can see how Pope Francis is profoundly evangelical. Pope Francis’ intent is to soften hardened hearts. The lesson for Catholics who want to follow him is to convert our own hearts as we adjust to a more patient and perhaps more gracious way of doing things, confident that the bedrock teaching isn't going anywhere.

The unchanging gift of celibacy

The issue of clerical celibacy is once again in the news when Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis' recent choice for the all-important position of Secretary of State, made headlines when he said celibacy represented a discipline, and not a dogma, of the church. Nothing he said was revolutionary, nor merited the headlines suggesting the church was ready to reject the tradition of a celibate clergy.

Good religion: Living a coherent Christian life

In a lecture at Philadelphia's St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sept. 19, Ross Douthat pondered whether the Church might need to look for additional ways to reach single young adults who have grown up in the age of cell phones, the internet, and social media. How can the Church supplement parish life in ways that speak directly to the young adults of the 21st century?

Lessons from a tragic fire on the boardwalk

Columnist Erick Rommel didn't think the smoke coming off the New Jersey boardwalk shop was a big deal. So he stopped to help a frail elderly woman. Now he wonders, what if he hadn't taken time to help her? No moment, no gesture of kindness, is disposable.

Jean Valjean and immigration reform

John Garvey admits he's not enough of a romantic to believe that every undocumented immigrant has the soul of Jean Valjean, the lead character of "Les Miserables." But the crime immigrants have committed (crossing the border without going through customs) is often motivated by a desire to feed a family.

The pope’s progress

It is with both caution and charity that we set out to assess the first months of the papacy of Pope Francis. Six months is not a long time in the church, and it seems unfair to evaluate an individual's achievements after so short a period. We are also aware that as a Jesuit journal we have a special relationship to the first Jesuit pope, who kindly agreed to allow America to print the English translation of his interview with Jesuit journals from around the world.

What the wrong war can teach us

More than a decade ago, I was sitting in an office, nervously listening to the president talk about possibly going to war with a foreign country. Right now, I'm also sitting in an office, nervously listening to the president talk about going to war with a foreign country. The thought of bombing Syria makes me sick, just like the thought of bombing Iraq made me queasy in 2002.

Losing the personal touch that nursed us to health

Four of them walked into the examination room: my doctor -- a specialist in retina disorders -- and three young people in white coats. Immediately, my doctor began to give me the results of a nearly 2-hour-long battery of tests. But as he paused for breath between sentences, I held up my hand.