Viewpoints

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Penance, fried into a celebration of God’s forgiveness

Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and mounds of spaghetti on fried fish.

Look, I'm as surprised to have written that sentence as you may be to have read it. The Lenten fish fry is a cultural phenomena, and the Catholic fish fries in St. Louis are without compare. When I first encountered this curiosity, I quickly realized I was out of my depth. Sure, I have a Master of Divinity and can read Greek, but at a fish fry I'm surrounded by expert-level Catholics who continue to school me on the art of how to do Lent right.

Faithful Fan | For Chaminade grad, no good deed goes unpunished

Recently, there's been a fuss about Chaminade graduate Mike Lewis II, a sophomore guard on the Duquesne University basketball team.

No, he isn't another college player who got in trouble with the law or violated school or team rules.

He gave a pizza and chicken wings to a woman living in her car near his apartment and talked with her, a gesture that was recorded and placed on social media with an uplifting message: "Noticed a lady living in her car the past week and did what I could, don't just walk past people if you can help do so #GodsPlan."

TWENTY SOMETHING | Lessons on reaching out from the ‘Angel of The Gap’

Little did he know what a noble purpose awaited him when Don Ritchie, a former Navy seaman and retired salesman, settled into a house on Old South Head Road back in 1964. Along with his wife, Don was eager to soak in the stunning view of The Gap, an ocean cliff at Watsons Bay in Eastern Sydney.

But just as the vista attracts tourists from across the globe, it also lures desperate souls looking to end their lives with a jump, claiming an average of 50 suicides a year.

A MORE HUMAN SOCIETY | Ending a culture of violence

A horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school placed school violence and gun control at the forefront of public debate.

Proposals include stricter regulations on semiautomatic weapons, a ban on "bump stocks," broader background checks, a higher legal age for gun purchasing, making it easier to get restraining orders against gun possession by some people, and increased investment in mental health programs.

These should be considered in light of the best evidence on what will save lives without violating our constitutional freedoms. In this area, I am no expert.

THEOLOGY OF TECHNOLOGY | Wisdom for the digital age

It was a bad afternoon at the ad agency. I was just finishing up a creative brief for a denture adhesive ad campaign when my boss came by to tell me about a new client, smokeless tobacco from Sweden.

The irony of trying to convince people to buy denture adhesive and smokeless tobacco wasn't lost on either of us, but it wasn't for us to make it an issue. This was business. It was our job to marshal all the persuasive power of media technology and marketing to make sure our client sold more product.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Black History Month … why?

Do you remember when flipping the calendar from January to February seemed to signal "time to learn about black people?"

Teachers scheduled field trips and presentations. Anyone who desired could tune into assorted TV programs, find films and attend stage performances. Librarians extended recommended reading lists to include books by, for and about African Americans. Schoolchildren wrote reports, prepared recitations and explored historical, scientific and cultural achievements of African Americans in the United States.

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