Bishops turn their attention to preaching

At their November 2012 meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops gave overwhelming approval to a document titled "Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily." They didn't say so explicitly, but the bishops seem to think that we are losing the game in the pulpit, and the people -- those who are still showing up -- are looking for and deserving of much better preaching. As a friend put it to me not long ago, here in the U.S., "we have Saturday Night Live and Sunday morning dead." We can do better. And the bishops are now saying we must.

Help special-needs people enjoy Advent, Christmas events

Holiday celebrations are wonderful for gathering loved ones from far and near. Christmas Masses usually are packed, and other activities, from tree trimming to Advent services, are usually abundantly attended, too. But for all the lights and warmth that illuminate the holiday season, sometimes we inadvertently forget that there are some in our communities who might not be as mobile or otherwise able to fully participate in all that this time of year has to offer. Yet, for these fellow Catholics, the Christmas season is no less important or treasured.

Crossing the borders as Jesus did

If the recent election proved anything, it's that the face of the U.S. is a changing face: younger and more diverse. It's an exciting time to be a citizen, but a challenging one as well.

The real marriage crisis

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the Petraeus scandal. We hesitate to spill more, but we can't help but note that much of the finger-pointing seems a bit off target. What gets ignored is the fact that this isn't just the comeuppance that comes to celebrity. The disregard of marriage vows is widespread in society -- not just in the media and popular culture, but also in our communities. Ask not at whom the finger points. It points at us.

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?