Fortnight for Freedom: Time for Catholic witness

By now most Catholics are aware of the mandate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring employers to provide health services such as contraception and sterilization, even if such services violate the employer’s deepest moral principles. The health care reform measure of the Obama administration also so narrowly defines a religious organization […]

The ‘troublesomely urgent’ advocate

I read the Catechism of the Catholic Church with a dictionary close at hand. The section about prayer (CCC 2613) uses the word “importunate” to describe two parable characters: The first, “the importunate friend,” invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock and it will be opened to you” (cf. Luke 11:5-13). The second, “the importunate widow,” […]

Parish mergers a painful reality

The plan announced last month to merge 12 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was the result of months of discussion and review by parishioners, pastors, deans and regional bishops on up to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who gave final approval. As thoughtful and inclusive as the process was, no one is happy with the result, […]

Death penalty perpetuates violence in society

Two hundred and five Pennsylvanians currently sit on death row. In Pennsylvania, even though hundreds of people have been sentenced to death, only three people — those who waived their right to appeal — have been executed since 1978 (the year the General Assembly reinstated the death penalty). Further, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on […]

HHS Mandate: The More It Changes, The More It Stays the Same

Since the announcement of the Department of Health and Human Services mandate that would force religious employers to violate their consciences and pay for abortion-causing drugs, sterilization and contraception, much misinformation has been bantered about regarding health care, Catholic Church teaching and the impact this new regulation will ultimately have. On Feb. 10, the Obama […]

Lenten sacrifice an act of ‘living for others’

The beautiful and familiar “Peace Prayer” attributed to St. Francis of Assisi concludes, “It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” This prayer, although timeless, offers all of us a directive for Lent. It touches on the […]

What are you going to give up this Lent?

The Lenten rules about fasting from food and abstaining from meat have been considerably reduced in the last forty years, but reminders of them remain in the fast days on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and in the abstinence from meat on all the Fridays of Lent. Beyond these common sacrifices that unite us spiritually […]

Never stop telling the stories

Many years ago, I was listening to a homily, where the priest urged the congregation: “Never stop telling the stories.” He was reminding us that it was our responsibility, some as the elders, and some as someday to be elders, to tell the story of our history; to tell the story of our heritage. We […]

School choice: If not now, when?

The recent announcements of the Blue Ribbon Commission in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have motivated many people to action on the issue of school choice. The need for major restructuring in Catholic schools is a vivid example of why school choice is necessary: Current parents are struggling to choose the best school for their child. […]

The Need for Scholarships in Philadelphia County

If you have been reading about Senate Bill 1: The Opportunity Scholarship Act (SB1) that is making its way through the state legislature, you may question whether or not children in your community need scholarship aid, or could use a voucher-based school choice program like the one proposed in the bill. Based on my experience […]