Commentaries

An opportunity to showcase the faith during the papal transition

It was another one of those conversations that have occurred with some frequency in the past few weeks. "So, who do you think will be the new pope?" some asked. "I don't know, they haven't called," I said, forfeiting any claim to being a prestigious Catholic journalist in the know. The interest in who will be pope appears to surpass the interest in the teaching and philosophy of the church that the new pope will lead.

Even suffering can yield beauty when we look for Christ’s promise

In my travels, I often encounter artifacts from different countries and cultures. Among these, the most powerful are always the crosses and crucifixes crafted in a style that reflects the specific struggles and sufferings of those communities. Let me describe three.

Giving to the poor is good, getting to know them is better

Columnist Effie Caldarola and her daughter saw an old man sitting on the sidewalk. After giving him their pizza, and seeing him devouring a slice, it made her wonder why she didn't take the time, on a safe block on a busy street, to offer a little conversation with the meager gift? Was the man a real person or was he an object of their paltry charity? If Lent doesn't challenge us to embrace the poor, to connect, then we're missing the mark, she writes.

What you want to be when you grow up, at any age

There's one question we've all faced countless times: What do you want to be when you grow up? Some people know the answer at a young age. Others live their entire lives seeking but not finding. No matter where you are in that journey, you'll learn the answer is often more than an occupation; it's a state of happiness. Discovering the person you want to become is all about knowing who you are.

The image, the message and ‘whatever it takes’ on gun control

In the wake of school and workplace shootings, law enforcement is shifting from early recommendations to cooperate and now they're advising school officials and students to physically confront attackers as a last line of defense. This leaves an impression that something is being done. Perhaps it's easier than eliminating the many devices with which people kill people. When will we hear of the Aggressive Victims Act?

How babies show racism is alive and well in America

As I write this column, I am keeping an eye on my 17-month-old great niece, Gabriella. The child has an infectious smile, and she bestows kisses on my cheek, a distraction technique, I soon realize, as she reaches across my face to snatch off the first of my gold clip-on earrings. Gabby’s eyes appear blue […]

Why watching TV can be bad — or good — for children

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It's bad enough that parents realize it's not good to let their kids have so much screen time in front of the television, the computer, the tablet or video games. What's worse is that parents themselves feel powerless to do much about it.

Why is Catholic press needed? Just see the secular chatter about the pope

A steady diet of secular news coverage leaves Catholics intellectually malnourished and worse than uninformed. The recent coverage of the pope is a reminder that without a vigorous Catholic press, without an honest and engaged Catholic media presence, the church will have little chance of making itself heard.

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.