May 9, 2016
Among the signature moments of Reggie Jackson’s baseball career is one he would rather forget: a ninth-inning showdown in the 1978 World Series against the Dodgers’ reliever Bob Welch. The Yankee slugger had earned the nickname Mr. October for his World Series heroics against the Dodgers the year before, including one game where he hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches, and Welch was just a 21-year-old rookie who couldn’t throw much beyond...
May 2, 2016
D ivorce! Catholics!
Needless to say, the 263 pages of “The Joy of Love” (“Amoris Laetitia”) treat a great deal more than these two topics. Here in the United States, we should pay particular attention to those sections that intersect with several of the deepest cracks in the foundations of our marriage and family lives, even a few topics that cause many to squirm.
First, it will come as a great relief to everyone who worries especially...
April 18, 2016
‘Coarsened” is a word you’ve probably heard more and more frequently in the past few years. It’s most often applied to the state of public discourse in our country, particularly in the political sphere.
Lately, some of our political candidates have been calling one another names, using schoolyard taunts and shouting over one another during televised debates. There have even been articles written that used insights from child...
April 4-11, 2016
Love him or loathe him, people can’t stop talking about Donald J. Trump, almost always in hyperbolic terms.
As I write this, Mitt Romney has just uttered his very unlike-Mitt Romney cri de coeur about the intolerable impending fate the Republican Party is about to meet if Mr. Trump becomes its presidential candidate. Now that the unlikely may become the inevitable, Republican leaders are in full-throated cry that the end of...
March 28, 2016
Perhaps some among those who saw it, defying the eye-blink memory of the news cycle, remember a fuzzy screenshot from the Republican debate in Texas on Feb. 25 that spread around the Internet. To the left, Marco Rubio grips his podium firmly with his right hand and glares into the camera; Ted Cruz, to the right, is talking with his fingers firmly clasped together, refusing to relinquish the floor while Donald Trump, eyes closed in a blink, taunts him from...
March 14, 2016
How many divisions does the pope have? This famous question, asked by Joseph Stalin in 1935, was perhaps the most blunt expression of an opinion held by many a practitioner of realpolitik through the centuries: that all things considered, the pope should not stick his nose into politics. Centuries before Stalin, Napoleon Bonaparte recognized that military might was not the only kind of influence, instructing his envoy to Pope Pius VII to “treat with His...
March 7, 2016
The Zika virus is the latest predicate for the argument that we need to make abortion more available to poor women. It’s just tragic all around. Abortion advocates trade on fears that poor women would give birth to children suffering microcephaly, though a review of Colombian and U.S. medical resources indicates that the link is quite uncertain.
Though Zika is new, the argument tying more legal abortion to the plight of poor...
February 29, 2016
There are many mysteries in the Catholic faith.
Some of the less profound, and perhaps even mildly amusing ones, are the conundrums that I ponder every year during Lent: First, why is there so little time between the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Lent? In some years, like 2016, it seems as if Jesus’ hair is hardly dry from his baptism when we start to think about the end of his life. If I were ever put in...
February 15, 2016
Osama bin Laden has been dead almost five years now, but the movement associated with him is still very much around. The Islamic State may have eclipsed Al Qaeda in the terror it holds for Americans, or the attraction it holds for young Muslims flocking to its self-proclaimed caliphate, but the terror group that the United States went to war with in 2001 is alive and well, with branches today in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Central Asia...
February 8, 2016
The doings of Pope Francis have tended to be popular by default, but his Jubilee Year of Mercy is off to an unusually slow star t. Pilgrims aren’t pouring into Rome as expected; media reports have been little better than dutiful. Fears of terrorism might have something to do with the pilgrim count, together with the jubilee’s purposeful avoidance of Rome-centrism. But I...