Commentaries

Higher education and ‘breaking good’

"Breaking Bad" is a television series on AMC about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug kingpin. It has quickly become a favorite of mine. Educator Walter White's story is a brilliant illustration of virtue ethics. Aristotle argued that we constantly choose what sort of people we become by our actions, virtuous or vicious.

Gosnell, abortion and the sanitizing of facts

In America, a land founded on human dignity, we like to tell ourselves that we're cultured and sensitive; that we've left history's barbarisms in the past. But in little buildings throughout this country, we routinely snip life in the bud. The daily reality of the abortion industry’s violence toward women and their innocent children is easy to ignore.

The sanctity of life trumps the Second Amendment

The U.S. Senate, in failing to enact a proposal that was only a feeble response to the homicidal epidemic in the country, delivered an insult to all who died, all who loved them, those who traveled to Washington to plead for legislation that would at least slow down firearms murders.

A powerful examination of America’s health care costs

The future of print journalism is by no means clear, particularly in the case of weekly newsmagazines. Newsweek is no longer available in print. How long Time magazine will continue to be available on newsstands is anyone's guess. But whatever the future holds, the March 4, 2013, issue of Time will be long remembered for doing what great journalism should be doing, namely, providing facts and analysis on important topics of current interest. In this case, Time's cover shouts out, "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," announcing the 24,105-word feature story by Steven Brill (said to be the longest piece that Time has ever published). I hope that this augurs well for a healthy print future for Time. But who can say?

What the Church can learn from chicken bones and KFC

Major changes in the country came from the civil rights movement, assassinations, wars and a revolution in communications. These are major trends and events, matters of dramatic transformation in the country that will fill the history books of generations to come. Other change is evident in simpler situations such as an announcement this month by KFC, the fried chicken conglomerate

Words can be used to lift us up or weigh us down

What power does a word have? To a writer, words are vastly important. This morning, listening to the radio, I heard the word "anodyne" and knew that, first, I didn't know what it meant and second, I would find out before morning's end. "Anodyne," I discovered, means "serving to alleviate pain" or "not likely to offend."

Keeping it simple: App changes help Pa. businesses offer more scholarships

The words “simplified,” “tax” and “form” are not often found in the same sentence; but a revision to the application for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program puts them together. After persistent feedback by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and others about the cumbersome application process, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) simplified the tax credit form making it easier than ever for companies to receive a financial benefit in return for their support of education.

Welcome, stranger

According to the Gospels, when witnesses to the resurrection encountered the risen Christ, he was not always immediately recognized. This was the evangelists' way of answering that basic question posed in the early church: Where is Jesus? If he still lives, how can we find him? Luke's response is in the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus approaches them "in another form," explains the Scriptures and finally reveals his identity during a meal when "they recognized him in the breaking of the bread." Luke's point is clear: We discover Jesus in the stranger on the road.

Neither church nor state may redefine reality of marriage

“If you call a tail a leg, then how many legs does a cow have? Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.” So said Abraham Lincoln thus showing a greater grasp of the reality of things than many in our culture today including not a few Harvard law school graduates and possibly even a majority of the Supreme Court should they decide to overturn DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 and thus effectively impose “same sex marriage” on the nation.

A powerful examination of America’s health care costs

A recent Time magazine report is much less about who should pay for health care (as the current political debate tends to frame the question) and asks instead: Why are we paying so much? The annual tab amounts to nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product, far more than other industrial nations pay for equally good or even better health care. Those who take time to think about the issue find themselves concluding that this situation is simply outrageous.