Finding the good news in the news

One of the first questions a news editor asks when hearing a story idea is, "Is it news?" Generally speaking, if the story is about something ordinary, for instance, "Dog bites man," the answer is often no. If it's uncommon, "Man bites dog," then the story is one step closer to clearing the hurdle of newsworthiness.

The Irony of Two Miles and 50 Years

If we think we live in demanding times now, look back at events in our lifetime. Some may drift into history and then provide comfort. Nuclear War and Civil Rights are two events that come to mind. In each, the church had a role with thoughtful teachings on the issues speaking to the moral questions involved.

National unity can emerge from national difference

I tend to think of myself as a United Stater. Not that I'm un-American or not proud to be an American, but I think all who share the part of the planet where I live should be mindful of the fact that there are South Americans, Central Americans and some North Americans who, like Canadians, are not United Staters. We U.S. citizens hold no monopoly of ownership on the name "American."

Set aside a ‘Super Bowl’ day for serious discussion

Football's Super Bowl is remarkable for its ability to have gained such a secure place on the national calendar. Since it began in January 1967, it is all but a national holiday. The Super Bowl has proven that Americans will dedicate a full day to concentrate on a game. What would it take to replicate the same intensity to another event of more importance, say a National Day of Reflection?

Great inventors come in all ages

What do you do when you or someone you know has a problem with no solution? Every life-changing invention -- from the ancient advancements of agriculture and the wheel to the things we take for granted today, such as airplanes, cellphones and the Internet -- came into being because someone, somewhere, had a major problem they needed to solve.

Focusing on food waste as Lent nears

According to a study by Britain's Institution of Mechanical Engineers, up to 2 billion tons of food are wasted annually. This happens in a world where close to a billion people go to bed hungry. In my own city, while I indulge in an extra cookie I don't need, lots of little kids face hunger daily.

What’s good about a Catholic education

There were no Catholic schools in the farm town where I grew up. So, at our mission parish, the priest would travel to another town to bring religious sisters to teach catechism on Saturday mornings.

Time to consider national service for young people

What if we had a national service program in the U.S. today that included not just military service but elder care, child care, resource conservation, rebuilding the decaying urban infrastructure and more? What if we made the national service law applicable to all American men and women, ages 18 to 20?

Sacrifice for the State of the Union

A recent column I wrote on the necessity for gun control in light of the Connecticut elementary school killings resulted, not unexpectedly, in sharp reaction. One reader headlined his comment, “Off the Mark.” He’s right. Perhaps the earlier column was off the mark by not adequately explaining the degree of sacrifice that must be undertaken […]

Like a Connecticut pastor, young people can be heroes for Christ

Editorial Msgr. Robert Weiss, the pastor who was one of the spiritual first responders on the scene of the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School became somewhat of a hero in the media, recounting some of the words of comfort he spoke to families and friends of the slain and as important, his presence with them. For someone seeking to make a difference in the world, to live a life of high purpose but with humility, the priesthood or religious life may be the vocation to which God is calling them.