Guest Columnist | Don't let the complexity of health care reform keep us from making good decisions

The United States can handle complexity. However, this health-care crisis offers a challenge on many levels. When, for example, in the land of the free, can government make someone purchase health insurance? When is it safer to provide preventive care to all to avoid the spread of communicable diseases to some?

Politics adds to the complexity if some seek to treat the health-care debate as a tool to strengthen their political party and weaken another's.

"Twenty Something" | Heeding Heidi: the empty gains of plastic surgery

Heidi Montag has given new meaning to the concept of one-stop shopping. The 23-year-old reality TV star -- one of those who is famous for being famous -- underwent 10 plastic-surgery procedures in one day, as pinpointed in People magazine and now scrutinized online.

Guest Columnist | Catholic schools are truly 'Good News in Education'

On Jan. 25 we began the annual observance of Catholic Schools Week. This is a time to celebrate our many accomplishments and give thanks to all who make this great gift possible, in spite of the many challenges. No other educational institution has served the children in the St. Louis area longer than the Catholic schools, nor has anyone done it better. In 2018 we will celebrate 200 years of educational excellence to the St. Louis community.

Priests and permanent deacons share strong collaborative efforts in apostolic ministry

In this, the "Year of the Priest," I would like to write about permanent deacons.

As a priest of the archdiocese and now as the director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, I point out the strong and essential connection that exists between priest and deacon, rooted deeply in the earliest days of the Church.

In light of this intimate connection, perhaps there is no better occasion than the "Year of the Priest" to consider the great importance of the collaborative relationship between priest and permanent deacon.

Lord, please don't let us hear this type of canned prayer - yet again

Recently, I was jolted out of my morning fog at 8 a.m. Mass when the deacon offered this petition:

"For those who are considering abortion: May our prayers and the intercession of the Holy Innocents whom we honor today help them choose life as the best option, let us pray to the Lord."

I can't remember whether I blurted "What?" loud enough to be noticed by my faithful companions at daily Mass -- many of whom wear hearing aids -- but I know I certainly didn't answer with the prescribed "Lord, hear our prayer."

Finding important firsts on the social network

There are many firsts we look forward to while growing up. From our first bike ride without training wheels and our first childhood sleepover to our first date, these are moments we'll look back on fondly.

Some firsts are legal in nature: Driving and voting are both restricted until a certain age.

There are even firsts that are important not for what they are but for what they represent. Some people look forward to turning 25 because it means they can rent a car. For some, that freedom represents the last hurdle to true adulthood.

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