Commentaries

Catholic concerns dominate Pa.’s legislative session

As the 2011-2012 legislative session in Pennsylvania comes to a close this month, some are already looking to next session and hoping for legislative victories on issues of importance. But as the saying goes, to get where you’re going, you’ve got to know where you’ve been. So before we turn the calendar to the new […]

New evangelization should focus on non-practicing Catholics

A guest editorial states that it's those Catholics who have drifted away from the church, either calling themselves former Catholics or just failing to practice their faith, that we must make efforts to reclaim. We don't do that, though, by watering down the church's teachings. Rather, we must try to make them see that belief and adherence to the teachings of the church are the best ways for people to find happiness -- eternal happiness in heaven, to be sure, but also happiness here on earth.

Petraeus affair shows we choose heroes poorly

For a director of central intelligence, it demonstrated an astounding lack of common sense. As the reputation of retired four-star general David Petraeus continues to shatter under revelations of adultery and poor judgment, we are left with several things to ponder.

The dark age of science

There is an ancient human desire to pin the blame on someone -- anyone -- when things go wrong. In the Dark Ages, some Christian Europeans blamed Jews for the Black Death, or the plague. As late as the 17th century, suspected witches were executed to mitigate real and perceived evils in New England communities. Today, it's scientists who are taking the fall.

Pastoral care as an important part of health care

There is an interesting discussion, some might call it a debate, making the rounds in Catholic health care circles these days relative to what the department or board committee that deals with the sacramental and spiritual needs of patients should be called. Traditionally, this service has been known as "pastoral care." Some are suggesting that it now be called "spiritual care."

A scary future is now, so think of ethics now

It is not difficult to imagine a time, centuries -- even millennia -- ago, when humans gathered outside a cave to discuss the ramifications of their newest weapon. They admired its efficiency. A string could be tied between the ends of a supple branch to form a bow which, when pulled back and released, would propel a sharp-tipped arrow. Killing at a distance had arrived. It brought new concerns, of course. Was it right to use this distance rather than bashing the opponent with the traditional club?

Sitting down for what she stands for

It was a breezy October day when Norma Fleisher settled her 86-year-old body into a foldout camp chair on a Nebraska street corner in front of the state Capitol, with the governor's mansion directly at her back. Norma's been doing this every Monday from noon to 1 p.m. for 13 years, holding signs with a group of activists to protest Nebraska's death penalty. Through snow, heat, humidity and the Great Plains' punishing winds, Norma has been faithful to her belief that "it's ridiculous to kill people to prove killing is wrong."

Peace through the strength of a loving heart

Fear suddenly gripped me as I viewed Washington, D.C.'s National Archives exhibit on the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. I lived through it but never realized that planes carrying nuclear bombs were airborne, and our submarines and silos were prepared to launch nuclear warheads. It led me to think, “How can a nuclear holocaust be avoided?”

Eradicating child marriage today

When I was growing up in Hong Kong, I listened with amazement to the stories about girls who were married off when they were hardly 12 years old. I was relieved that such an old-fashioned practice had vanished. Cramming for exams didn't seem so bad after all. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Splitting the Catholic vote

The findings of a national study on the relation of faith and political views appear innocuous on the surface. But a drawback to such surveys is that they advance the idea of splitting that which is inseparable, often found useful to those in politics who want to split the Catholic vote to achieve their ends.