Category: Plain Talk

When Is It Time to Forgive?

April 2014 The first time it happened, I was speechless. A mother had come to the rectory. She didn’t like the answer she’d gotten from the parish school’s principal about the importance of timely tuition payments. When I gave her the same answer, she screamed at me. She called me...

Learning to Walk Again

 March 2014 "The willingness to fall and the ability to fall ‘just right’ are invaluable".    You probably don’t remember your first steps. It’s part of the collage of “firsts” that moms and dads want to record and remember forever. We struggle to stand, wobble, tumble, and then start again—and...

Catechesis of the Heart

February 2014 "Knowledge of Jesus is not the same as belief in him or love of him." While we lament the closure or consolidation of many parochial schools over the past twenty-five years, we can also celebrate that another area of Catholic education, faith formation, has come into its own....

The Precious Present

 January 2014 "Despite the diversity within the Church, are we culturally insensitive?"  The church custodian calls 911 because two men are lingering in the church after lighting candles at our Lady’s shrine. The church has experienced a few robberies at the poor box, and the custodian says the two dark-skinned...

New and Improved

November 2013 "Has technology made us disengaged?" Years ago I stopped wearing a watch; a watch hanging on my wrist annoys me. As a result, I often ask people for the time. I stop someone, ask the question, look them in the eye, and listen carefully to their response. I...

More Than Just a Good Idea

September 2013 "Most of us have never lived in or experienced a “missionary” Church." Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have something in common other than the papacy: a focus on the new evangelization. Paul VI popularized the term in his 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. John Paul II explained...

Beyond Gun Control

July-August 2013 Michael couldn’t wait to tell his second-grade friend what had happened to him. “A policeman pointed a gun at my head this morning!” Michael’s friend was scared, so he told the teacher, who told the principal, who called Michael’s parents. His parents explained that their home had been...

Rights vs. Entitlements

May-June 2013 A faded sign in the window of a small storefront church near my home declares, “We offer a hand-up, not a hand-out!” A Salvation Army social-service center offers food vouchers; a stone’s throw away, the Catholic Worker offers a free clinic. Churches and church organizations have been in the...

An Out at the Ball Game

April 2013 "Good morale, economic stability, and the American dream have a hefty price tag." Opening Day is April 1!      In Cincinnati, a hot dog at the ballpark is $1, while in Tampa Bay it’s more than $5. A ballpark beer Arizona is $4; at a Phillies game, it’s a...

It’s All Grace

We’re constantly amazed at what science tells us about the world. From the complexity of galaxies and solar systems to the intricacies of atomic particles, science explores the what and how of the universe. However, it humbly backs away from the questions of who the intelligence behind creation is and...