In praise of affirmative action in schools, including Catholic U

In October, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas. The issue was affirmative action at public colleges and universities. Nine years ago, in a case from the University of Michigan, the court held that public universities can consider race as one factor among many in admissions. The University of Texas does that for some of its undergraduate applicants. But Texas also admits all applicants from the top 10 percent of each high school's graduating class -- a colorblind program that produces a fairly diverse mix of students.

Lessons from a Pakistani teen fighting for her life

I have a new hero. Her name is Malala Yousafzai, and she’s a 14-year-old girl from Pakistan. When she was 11, the Taliban took power in her valley. They enforced a harsh set of laws on the residents, among them, an edict that girls could no longer attend school. They threatened girls’ teachers and burned […]

Self-restraint among values that keep society together

The "don't impose your values on me" argument is weak. Values are necessary to a functioning community. The disregard of values as some infringement on personal freedom is the fruit of the seed of the "me" mentality. Just as the flotsam and jetsam from the tsunami caused by the 2011 Japanese earthquake is still being cleaned from Pacific coast beaches 18 months later, so the tsunami of secularism requires the church to be involved in cleanup efforts.

Discovering your talents is up to you, not others

What is talent? In our world, talent is often synonymous with fame, fortune and entertainment stardom. Pop culture would like you to believe that you're either talented or you're not, and that the Simon Cowells of the world are the only ones with the authority to discover that talent. People all over the world dream of being "discovered," thinking they need to wait for other people to tell them that they're talented before their lives can really start. What makes me sad is that they often wait fruitlessly for years and years, not understanding that they are the best judges of their talent.

We are called to be moved with compassion

This autumn, there was a horrific accident in Anchorage, Alaska. A man had stopped on a busy street because his truck wasn't working. As his wife sat in the cab, he crawled under the back of the truck to check it, and when he emerged, a car plowed into him with such force that both of his legs were nearly severed. A woman, with her young son in the car, was passing by. She worked as a waitress and a nurse's aide at a local hospital, and she was coming off a long shift. Like the Samaritan of Scripture, she stopped and used her skills to staunch the man's bleeding. Passers-by handed her any scarf they could find -- even a belly dancer's scarf with coins attached -- and she, with help from another motorist, tied them so tightly around what remained of the man's legs that he didn't bleed out before the ambulance arrived. He lost his legs, but he lived.

Staying healthy as the cold brings us closer to animals

An unexpected usage of that good word, ‘consubstantial’

The Year of Faith: It’s time to get to work

Responding to editors’ requests for a regular sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press, here is an unsigned editorial from the Oct. 3 issue of the St. Louis Review, newspaper of the St. Louis Archdiocese. The numbers are startling but should come as no surprise. In the last 20 years, our local church […]

Parish restructuring: Hard work by many, for the good of all (Editorial)

It would be too easy to look at the list of almost 60 parishes engaged in a restructuring or dialogue process this autumn and expect that they’ll all be ordered to close at any moment without so much as a peep from pastors and their parishioners. Far from it. The parish restructuring process currently under […]

Finding a relationship made of true partnership

When it comes to functional relationships, it seems that celebrities these days don't have a chance. Take, for example, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Katy Perry and Russell Brand. The gossip rags are full of stories about lost relationships and broken hearts. These days, we're not at all surprised when stars split up. We are naturally wary when we hear about a brand-new celebrity couple. (After all, this is the celebrity culture that gave us Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage.) We celebrate a couple's happiness by wondering when they'll break up.