guest columnist

Slowing down to see the divine in our lives

Erica Tighe was 26 when she made the leap: She would set out on her own to be a calligrapher. Full time. In order to pay her $800 rent and cellphone bill and $1,000 college-loan payment and also hopefully afford some food.

She had a sociology degree and lingering burnout from teaching in Brooklyn, her latest stint. She'd recently moved to Los Angeles, but after a few months of looking for a nonprofit job, she couldn't find one that would cover her rent and college debt.

For Earth Day 2018 and beyond, say no to plastic bags

I saw a lot of fantastic sights on a recent trip to Ireland. But it was only after I came home that I realized there was a seemingly common staple of life that I hadn't seen there.

This year's Earth Day theme is "End Plastic Pollution," and upon doing some research, I discovered that Ireland had passed a plastic bag tax in 2002. It was then I realized I hadn't seen any plastic bags in Ireland.

VIEWPOINT | Important takeaways from the presynod gathering in Rome

The very fact that more than 300 young people — joined by another 15,000 virtual participants via social media — produced a document to be read and studied by bishops around the world in preparation for the Vatican's 2018 synod on "Young people, the faith and vocational discernment" is no small feat.

The near-unanimous consensus on a range of issues facing young people in the Church today offers an example to the rest of the Church at a time when some established leaders, continuing to fight old battles, are adding to the climate of polarization rather than overcoming it.

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.

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.

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