As ‘The League’ Begins Its Centennial Season…

By the Gargantuan standards of the 21st-century National Football League, Gino Marchetti, who died this past April 29, was undersized at 6-foot-4 and a mere 245 pounds. But he was arguably the greatest pass rusher in pro football history. The official record, 22 and a half quarterback “sacks” over sixteen games, was recorded by Michael Strahan in 2001. But a review of a year’s game film by Baltimore Colts’ coaches, before the “sack” stat was officially kept, once disclosed 43 sacks by Gino in a twelve-game season.

In Praise of Today’s Seminarians

If you’re feeling a bit down about the future of Catholicism in the United States, ask yourself these questions: Why haven’t American seminaries emptied over the past 16 months, as Crisis 2.0 continues to roil the U.S. church and an aggressive media regularly put Catholicism in the worst possible public light?

Getting Beyond Darwin

Bishop Robert Barron and others working hard to evangelize the “Nones” — young adults without religious conviction — tell us that a major obstacle to a None embracing Christianity is the cultural assumption that Science Explains Everything. And if science explains it all, who needs God, revelation, Christ, or the Church? To be even more specific: if Darwin and the Darwinian theory of evolution explain the origins of us (and everything else), why bother with Genesis 1-3 and Colossians 1:15-20?

Heroism and Priesthood, Dachau and Amazonia

In late June, I visited the concentration camp at Dachau, located in a wooded suburb a few miles from downtown Munich. The camp site struck me as rather too neat. There was little of the miasma of raw evil that remains at Auschwitz and Birkenau, even though Dachau was the prototype for those extermination factories. The Dachau camp site’s Chapel of the Agony of Christ, built after the war, is touching. But, to my mind at least, its stark modernism somehow fails to register the suffering it is intended to commemorate — and transfigure.

Together We Can End Hunger and Homelessness

by Crystal Teresa WolfeFrom Scriptures we know we all have a purpose under heaven. We are born to use our gifts to help others and to glorify God. Because God wastes nothing, we are also meant to transform and transcend our painful experiences and circumstances for the benefit of others. When we know there is suffering and injustice around us, I believe we can be used as God’s hands on this earth to alleviate that suffering. Hope can be found in the solutions, and every problem has a solution.

A Contemporary Lesson

Forty years after Pope John Paul II bent the course of the 20th century in a more humane direction during his first pilgrimage to his Polish homeland in June 1979, new information continues to emerge about what happened behind the scenes, shedding further light on those epic events.

Father Augustus Tolton: A Sign for Today

by Elise Italiano UreneckI recently participated in a conference that explored the church’s sexual abuse crisis and the effect the crisis has had on the church’s witness in the public square. Midway through the conference, as we were turning our attention to the role of Catholic faith in public life, one of the organizer’s quipped, “Well, even if things are going badly in the church, at least things are going well in the country.”

Lessons in Virtue From Apollo 11

Fifty years ago this week, the crew of Apollo 11, the world’s latest heroes, were doing decidedly unheroic things: napping, drinking beer, playing cards, reading magazines, and otherwise killing time in the Manned Spacecraft Center’s “Lunar Receiving Facility,” where they were quarantined to ensure that no lethal bugs had been brought back from the Moon’s surface by Neil Armstrong (who saved the mission by taking personal control of Eagle and landing it safely after overflying a vast field of lunar boulders), Buzz Aldrin (who memorably described the moonscape as one of “magnificent desolation”), and Michael Collins (who, orbiting the Moon in Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin were on its surface, was more alone than any human being since Genesis 2:22). The Lab was perhaps the least glamorous (and, as things turned out, least necessary) of NASA’s Apollonian inventions. For as Charles Fishman vividly illustrates in “One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon,” just about everything involved in effecting that “one small step….[and] one giant leap” had to be imagined, and then fabricated, from scratch.

Mother Cabrini’s Legacy of Service Lives On

by Msgr. Gregory MustaciuoloWhile there are differences in approaches and solutions, there is broad agreement that more needs to be done to improve health care in our nation. The same is true for this state we call home.