October 19, 2015
It was a news story I’ve never forgotten: a Japanese soldier discovered on an island in the Philippines who still thought Japan was at war 29 years after World War II had ended. He and other soldiers on the island had seen leaflets that the war was over but thought the news was enemy propaganda. Over the years his fellow soldiers died or deserted and only he was left to wage a war that everyone but him knew was lost.
October 12, 2015
The economy of Christianity is weird. It doesn’t seem to work the way worldly economies do; the prodigal son gets a party, and the poor will inherit the kingdom. Then again, worldly economies are weird, too. Hard-working people die in poverty, and children go hungry in the richest country on earth.
September 28, 2015
Who wasn’t outraged at the recent news that the required reading for Duke University’s incoming students this August was Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home, and that some students had opted out? The students had taken offense on religious grounds at what they called graphic depictions of same-sex liaisons and promotion of a lesbian lifestyle. Those outraged that students were forced to read such material were soon outnumbered by those outraged...
September 21, 2015
I would guess that most Catholics, old and young, are struggling to attain the “personal encounter with Jesus Christ” that Pope Francis repeatedly preaches. Me too. So what am I to do to facilitate “introducing” my kids to Jesus Christ, when my own spiritual life is so often dry? And how do I approach such a task from the right “platform”?
September 14, 2015
Two years ago an Italian scientist published a book entitled The Mystery of the Shroud, an examination of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the cloth that many believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels. This book asserted that contrary to scientific studies from the late 1980s, the 14-foot piece of linen cloth, which is stored in an underground vault in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, dates not from...
August 17-24, 2015
The nuclear deal with Iran now being debated in Congress represents a rare victory for diplomacy. Americans don’t care much for diplomacy these days. With so much power at our disposal, we prefer threats, economic sanctions, military posturing and coercion to the quiet cultivation of allies and influence.
August 3-10, 2015
The subtitle of Pope Francis’ stunning new encyclical, “‘Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” belies the preference of some that a pontiff not venture into economic matters—Jeb Bush, for instance.
July 20-27, 2015
One of my fondest childhood memories is of Game One of the 1988 World Series. Featuring the Oakland A’s against my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, the game included perhaps the most famous moment in baseball history, when the injured Dodger hero Kirk Gibson came on as a pinch hitter in the bottom of...
June 22-29, 2015
Pope Francis is onto something in his recent linking of the crisis of faith to the crisis in the alliance of the man and the woman and the radical task this link implies. This insight is as old as Genesis; but, as usual, Francis brings old truths to life in new and straightforward ways.
June 8-15, 2015
‘It sounds so Jewish!” one woman exclaimed during our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We were in the Church of the Pater Noster, outside the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem. On this spot, according to tradition (which means it could have happened anywhere nearby), Jesus taught his disciples the Our Father. Our tour guide, a Melkite Catholic from Galilee named Maher, had just recited the prayer in Aramaic, Jesus’ native tongue.