Commentaries

Freedom of expression also comes with responsibility

Nothing we do is private. In a world where our every movement is tracked, it's best to assume that anything we do can be known by anybody at the touch of a button. Recently, many have expressed concern about the news that the government required a certain company to provide records of customer phone calls and has made efforts to track email, video and voice chats, file transfers and other personal information.

Making family memories this summer

I'm not surprised that this summer is bringing back many memories of times when our three children were younger. This is the first one since their mom, my wife Monica, died last winter. What surprises me, but shouldn't, was how wise she was about making family memories. She was the one who realized how precious and fleeting these moments become, and how important it is to spend time together and take advantage of each summer.

Drones: Effective, accurate but moral?

President Barack Obama's speech in which he presented his long-awaited policy for use of drones in targeted strikes has shifted the focus from the policy to how well it may be observed and enforced. The president, in a May 23 speech to the National Defense University, said the new policy will restrict how and when the U.S. will launch targeted drone strikes as part of counterterrorism activities to target only imminent threats and limit civilian casualties.

Finding the good in the nation’s capital

The news these days is anything but praiseworthy of Washington, D.C. Congressional investigations of corruption and mismanagement, Republicans and Democrats at each other, financial bickering, gridlock and career-ending scandals are a routine diet on which our nation imbibes. To make matters worse, dedicated staffers to the Congress have mournfully confided, "The last few years have been a total waste."

FOCUS meeting draws 200 to learn about New Evangelization

This year, FOCUS chose Philadelphia to be one of four cities to host REACH. The goal was to “reach” out further into the Catholic community to offer those in attendance an opportunity for encountering Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, for gathering in prayer, for hearing from inspiring speakers -- including Archbishop Charles Chaput -- and for being equipped to take part in the New Evangelization.

Putting the talents of parish youth to work

When I was a teenager, my mother worked as the youth minister at my parish, so I ended up going to every service project and every prayer service we hosted. We weren't a big group. There were four of us on the core committee, with others coming in and out when they needed service hours for confirmation or graduation. I remember having a lot of fun. While we ran service projects, such as collecting coats for the homeless in the fall and painting Habitat for Humanity houses in the spring, a lot of other groups in the parish requested our help, too.

Looking into the natural world can lead us back to God

About a year ago, when I was living in a new city far away from the home I'd loved, I read a Mary Oliver poem called "The Place I Want to Get Back To." Like most of Oliver's poetry, its starting place was nature, and this was about an encounter with deer. I read it over and over. I loved the ending lines, "I live in the house near the corner, which I have named Gratitude." It spoke to me of the gratitude growing within me toward my new home.

Immigration reform debate reviving age-old biases

The flight attendant was giving the usual safety instructions, the language as unchanging and familiar as if reading from a prayer card. She concluded with directions on using an oxygen mask for those traveling with small children. The attendant went off script and ended by saying "if you are traveling with more than one child, determine which has the most potential and apply the mask to him or her first."

Decentralization without communication will never work

As we happily bid goodbye to a command-and-control, top-down way of doing things in many organizations, including in some instances church organizations, we have to come up with a culture of communication to make sure things work well in the future.

Don’t pretend: Forced sex, casual sex are in same discussion

At the Catholic University of America, where I serve as president, we have been working on some revisions to our code of student conduct. We're finding that it's challenging because we need to send students two different messages about sex that can at times clash awkwardly.