Commentaries

Sen. Toomey missed chance to link Catholic teaching, economics in Villanova talk

As an economics major, I was intrigued that Senator Patrick Toomey’s address was essentially a treatise on laissez-faire economics. He promoted a significant faith in unbridled capitalism, though it was of a type that lacks any measurement of its ability to protect and promote human dignity. Capitalism must be judged carefully when, according the World Bank, one out of every three deaths worldwide is related to poverty.

Confronting cruelty in children

Character development and the cultivation of empathy are key components in any strategy to confront cruelty in children. The topic of bullying has been in the headlines on and off for many years. A fine book by Emily Bazelon, "Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy," caught the attention of prominent reviewers and provides a balanced picture for the consideration of parents and educators who are understandably concerned.

The church can be a means to meet expectations

Can a church that measures time by 40 days of Lent, 50 days of Easter and four Sundays of Advent appeal to a generation that has little regard for tradition and institutions? Will religion, as the visible institution of faith, be able to affect the trend or will the trend affect the church? These questions are provoked by a lengthy article in a recent Time magazine profiling "the millennials" -- the latest generation to capture the interest of sociologists and marketers.

Go with your initial gut instinct when it comes to good deeds

We were backing out of the garage, the car lights briefly illuminating the darkened walls and floor. "Mom," cried my 3-year-old daughter, strapped into her car seat behind me. "I just saw a mouse." We lived in Alaska, in a house with plenty of cracks and nooks. Almost every year, we'd catch one mouse. Elizabeth was an astute little observer of life, and I trusted her eyesight. She was probably right, but then she added something funny. "Or maybe it was fish," she said hesitantly of the silvery creature she'd seen darting beyond the headlights.

Taking the fear out of medical care

"I just don't want to know," someone said to me recently, of not wanting to see her doctor about an ongoing symptom. The remark was not an isolated incident. A certain fear seems to be building up among people in many corners of society, a fear that is difficult to quantify yet expressed in sometimes oblique, sometimes direct ways. It is the fear of becoming sick, and no wonder.

Looking forward to a life of graduations

Graduation is supposed to be an ending, a sign of achievement and a time of celebration. It's the culmination of your life so far, a moment to mark what you've achieved and a time to look back on treasured memories. This year, though, graduation may not feel like the party it has been in the past. If you've graduated this year or are looking forward to it, you may feel a little scared about what comes next.

Doylestown man reflects on his week visiting, living with Pope Francis in Rome

Never would I think that the Holy Spirit would introduce me to Pope Francis by allowing me to stay with him at his residence for one week in Rome and to have the blessing and privilege to attend his daily 7 a.m. Mass which he celebrates at the residence chapel and even have breakfast, lunch and dinner with him each day! I had the honor to have several personal conversations with the Holy Father and what struck me each time was how sincere and genuine he is and how happy he is to see you when in his presence.

The importance of urban greening to my generation

I had never thought about urban greening. For me, nature was something I took for granted in everyday life. It was never something I really thought about. And what I did notice was that every spring I suffer from allergies and that left me with little appreciation for the wonders of greenery. Now, I realize there is much more to plants, grass and trees in the city than that.

Finding the gems, if you look beneath the surface

In my favorite photo from college, my friend Cara and I are standing next to each other at a party, making funny faces. We could be any other teen best friends in the world, except for what we're wearing: Cara's in a typical blue Abercrombie & Fitch babydoll sports shirt, while I'm in black eyeliner, black nail polish and a black shirt emblazoned with the word "Anticrombie." We couldn't look more different.

Making room for women at the highest rungs of business

In the early 1970s I began to notice what I then called the feminization of Jesuit higher education. I was dean of arts and sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans and then moved on to the presidency of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania -- both Jesuit schools. Female enrollment was growing on both campuses and I remember wondering whether previously male-dominant Jesuit colleges were up to the challenge of preparing women for positions of leadership in a changing world.