A Novena to St. John Paul II for Brittany — Please Pray

Pope St. John Paul II

We’re coming up on the very first feast day of St. John Paul II.  In 2011, just ahead of his beatification, I had the opportunity to interview his biographer, George Weigel, who called his priestly death the pope’s last encyclical. I would argue that, of all the great teachings we have from our former Holy Father – pages upon pages […]

Asking Tough Questions in the Wake of Tragedy

There is no shortage of disturbing images in the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.  The grand jury report is not for the faint of heart.  And while I ardently disagree with the decision by most news organizations to – at least initially – not cover the trial, I can still understand why they wouldn’t want to talk about the […]

Making “Sense” of Suffering

On Suffering

A few weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a 2-year-old girl who died tragically in a drowning accident.  The funeral was heart-wrenching, particularly when the priest – wiping away tears that he couldn’t manage to stop – said to the family, “I am not about to stand here and give you a reason why this tragedy happened, because anything […]

The Room of Tears

Pope Francis, Prayer on the Loggia, March 13, 2013

Just ahead of the Papal Conclave, the so called “Room of Tears” popped up quite a bit in many news stories and reflections, as reporters began marking the days ahead of the pope’s election.  In this room, we were reminded, the newly-elected pope dresses in a fresh white cassock, signs his papal name, and prays for the first time as […]

Let’s Focus on What He Actually Said

"Christ the Consolator" by Bloch

When I was studying for my history degree, I learned early and often that one of a historian’s biggest pet peeves is the counterfactual.  Basically, it’s when you imagine what could’ve happened if something in history had been different.  If Robert E. Lee had decided to fight for the Union instead of the Confederacy, the Civil War would have been […]

Pilgrimage

The Pietà (1499), a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo and displayed at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, is an example of the Catholic Church's support for the arts.

Let’s Regroup Sometimes when you find yourself on your heels fighting a tough battle, it’s best to step back, regroup and join forces with your allies.  We are in that situation now, as our very way of life – indeed, the very meaning of who we are as women and men – is under attack.  We need to regroup, and […]

Heaping Burning Coals on the Media

Doesn’t an event that draws nearly a half a million protestors deserve media coverage?  If you’re a Catholic news reporter, it doesn’t get much bigger than the March for Life, but the mainstream media apparently disagree.  The major players all seem to go out of their way to avoid adequate or even minimal coverage of an event that drew more […]

Use Words When Necessary

You know what I think is one of the biggest cop outs we hear in the Catholic Church? “Preach the Gospel always. Use words when necessary.” There are many variations on this adage, almost always wrongly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, and it’s a nice sentiment: The idea that we need to live in such a way that people […]

Make Me Holy

The first time I was invited to speak at a Catholic event was for local youth retreat called Credo, for which I was asked to give a talk on our universal call to holiness.  At the time I was a traffic reporter in Cincinnati, and I wasn’t much exposed to the documents of the Church – nor was I very […]

Heart of Jesus, Help Me

I’m not sure exactly when it is that each of us actually becomes an “adult” – not by age, but by maturity. I think one possibility is when you are deemed “old enough” by parents or other adults to be informed about various adult problems in your family’s circle of relatives and friends. For all I know, the problems may […]