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In the days that followed Pope Francis' Aug. 18 remarks on U.S. airstrikes earlier in the month against Islamic State, the buzz was about whether the pope had actually given his consent to them.

The more sobering post-buzz reality is how one stops what, in the pontiff's words, is an "unjust aggressor."

Does the United States go in, alone or as part of a broader coalition of nations? Or, to use the language of just-war theory, is the United Nations the "competent authority" to judge these particulars?

Following up on yesterday, wherein I considered the place of an academic inaugural address (essentially a  commencement speech at the beginning, not the end, of college), I remembered a speech from Professor Jacob Neusner that was basically just that.

Included in Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (edited by William Safire), Professor Neusner in 1991 offered a convocation at Elizabethtown College. The speech addresses many of the themes I mentioned yesterday, for example, how students should treat their time in school. He said a few things worth recalling here:

A Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time by Rev. Terrance Klein

The latest (Un)Conventional Wisdom from Robert D. Sullivan

I viewed Janos Szasz’s strange and prize-winning film The Notebook the same week that Israel’s invasion of Gaza, allegedly to punish Hamas for aiming rockets at Israel, reached its ugliest pitch. As this is written 1,650 citizens of Gaza, mostly civilians, including 500 children, and 64 Israeli soldiers have died. In some photographs a Gaza neighborhood is nothing but a pile of rubble. Targets have included homes, schools, power plants, water filtration stations, U.N. buildings—both the homes and all the places to which families flee to be safe.

On the Ignatian Educator, the merits of giving "commencement" addresses to incoming freshman

Very Rev. Monsignor David L. Toups, S.T.D., is the Rector and President of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He assumed this post in 2012 and was subsequently named as a monsignor after serving as pastor at Christ the King parish in Tampa.

“In a selfish world, they epitomize selflessness and compassion.” (New York Times, 9/17) Who’s that? It’s rough out there. Maybe he’s taking about well-trained, kindly policemen.

One of the remarkable cultural developments within the American Catholic Church during the last few years is the emergence of women religious in the public consciousness in a way never before experienced.

William Deresiewicz's 'Excellent Sheep' takes aim at the Ivy League.