June 13, 2019

Is there a sustaining philosophy for idealistic young adults? Is there a creative path that cuts through the inanity of social media, of most TV programming, of the self-help industry? Is there a comprehensive outlook that resists cynicism and resentment? Is it possible to access a fountain of inspiration while maintaining a busy work schedule and keeping up with family obligations? World War I ended in 1918, only to be followed by the Great Depression which began in 1929. In… Read more

May 30, 2019

There are new rules for electing players to the All Star teams. As in a presidential election, fans now vote in a primary and then in a conclusive election. The primary determines the top three players at each position for each league (each league’s top nine outfielders are grouped together). The fan’s conclusive vote determines the starters. Then MLB players have a ballot, plus the All Star managers and the commissioner have some discretion. Thus some players will be in… Read more

May 16, 2019

Secular culture and the liturgical calendar cooperate to make Christmas an extended feast. It begins on Thanksgiving (November 28, 2019)—no sooner than that, please. It includes Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Football Day, Epiphany, Baptism of the Lord and Super Bowl Sunday (February 2, 2020). Easter too is an extended feast, but only on the liturgical calendar. Next year it begins on Ash Wednesday, which is February 26, 2020 (according to the Latin Rite). It… Read more

May 14, 2019

Our Chicago White Sox are “in rebuild mode,” according to their front office. Progress is uneven. Two promising pitchers are out for the season. A left-handed slugger is back in the minor leagues. Defense is spotty. Yet, a couple infielders are hitting. The pitching is coming around. And once the clouds clear, the ballpark is sparkling. The Chicago Cubs are the prototype for rebuilding. They won the 2016 World Series in November of that year and thereby “broke the curse.”… Read more

April 2, 2019

The fire occurred in March 1911. Someone failed to fully extinguish a cigarette in New York City’s Asch Building (now known as Brown Building, owned by N.Y. University). “After just 18 minutes, 144 people were dead,” writes Christine Seifert in The Factory Girls (Zest Books, 2017). Two more died subsequently. The top three floors of the building were used by Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to assemble blouses. There were heroes during those frantic minutes. For example, NYU students spotted the fire… Read more

March 16, 2019

  Christianity highlights certain dogmas during Lent. These dogmas relate to Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. However, one Lent theme—though not a dogma—needs to be set aside; namely, the substitute atonement theory. Christians rightly believe that Jesus’ redemptive suffering, death and resurrection is the world’s salvation. The substitution theory says that for some reason God needed Jesus’ suffering and death. This widespread notion is often harmful and in its casual expression it can be heretical. The substitution theory has a… Read more

March 5, 2019

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (www.kul.pl/21.html) just published The Catholic Social Ethic by St. John Paul II (1920-2005). This two-volume text of 500+ pages dates from the 1950s, when Fr. Karol Wojtyla was a young parish priest/teacher. Scholars have long known about the text. In fact, about 300 copies were circulated among students and others in the 1950s. Jonathan Luxmoore, an expert on Catholicism in Eastern Europe, reported on the text a dozen years ago. He recently… Read more

February 21, 2019

Name any social policy and there is sure to be a religious leader who has an opinion. The religious leader states his or her position in absolutes. For the religionist, the issue is a matter of high morality; no alternative position is acceptable. These religious leaders and the general public routinely fault the daily give-and-take in partisan politics for putting opportunism, gridlock, grandstanding, obstinacy and hypocrisy above moral principle. The legislative process is a moral endeavor, says President John Kennedy… Read more

January 11, 2019

This month’s celebration of Rev. Martin L. King (1929-1968) is of course about more than King. The civil rights era is about more than the Montgomery boycott that began in December 1955. It obviously includes Rosa Parks (1913-2005), who courageously refused to give up her seat on a bus. Keep in mind, Parks’ disobedience was not a momentary impulse, but was the outcome of much preparation. In recent times several scholars have drawn attention to “the longer civil rights movement.”… Read more

January 5, 2019

As early as the mid-1800s, novelists, artists, philosophers, essayists and prophets questioned the great promise of modernity. Does progress always mean improvement? Can production and technology cause poverty? Is science always good? Is the rat race inherently unhealthy? Is there any meaning to life? Is truth anything more than a temporary construct? Fr. John O’Donohue (1956-2008) succinctly summarizes the downside of modern life: “The traditional shelters no longer offer any shelter. Religion often seems discredited… Politics seems devoid of vision… Read more

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