When the Mass is draining

The Mass is ended. The closing procession makes its way down the aisle at a pace slower than a funeral march. The priest is lost in his hymnal, following along a little farther back. You make your way out of the pew and down the aisle and out onto the steps of the church to…

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Warmer weather

The NFL Draft is taking place in Philadelphia this week, and I think wrapping up this weekend or sometime soon. What’s happening at the same time here is the arrival of warm weather.  I took this photo yesterday when leaving my office—it shows Mace’s pub, a small place with a little patio right along the…

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Reflecting, then acting

David Leonhardt writes on George Shultz and living intentionally: When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only…

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Satisfying curiosities

On Abraham Flexner’s impact, and particularly on his insight into the usefulness of apparently useless knowledge: Flexner’s Institute for Advanced Study is one of the greatest second acts in educational history. His first major triumph, of which we continue to be the beneficiaries, was the upgrading of medical education through tougher admissions and graduation standards,…

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Pope Francis’s TED talk

Pope Francis has talked of the “God of surprises,” and just as often turns out to be a pope of surprises. That’s true of his surprise (pre-filmed) TED appearance in Vancouver last night. I’ve been following along with the TED conference through Snapchat from a few people I follow, so already felt somewhat connected to…

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Death of a White Oak

Bruce Shipkowski reports from Bernards, New Jersey (an hour west of Manhattan) on an incredible White Oak tree that lived for more than 600 years and became a part of American history: A white oak tree that has watched over a New Jersey community and a church for hundreds of years began its final bow Monday… Crews…

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First visits to Ave Maria

I was looking back through my old writings, and found the following reflection that I wrote in mid-March 2012 after visiting Ave Maria for what I think was my first or second visit there. I’m on my way back to Philadelphia, riding Amtrak’s Silver Meteor northward from Ave Maria, Florida. On the way down I…

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Journalists should be skeptics

Walk into almost any news room or journalism class in the country and probably a majority will say something about the importance of objectivity in reporting. It’s not that they think they don’t have biases, but rather that they believe they will be impartial in their reading of events, placement of data, and interviews with sources as…

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Cato: A Tragedy

Reading Joseph Addison’s “Cato: A Tragedy.” A few of my favorite parts: Juba: Honour’s a sacred tie, the law of kings, The noble mind’s distinguishing perfection, That aids and strengthens Virtue where it meets her, And imitates her actions where she is not Sempronius: Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome Can raise her senate…

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Bias against elderly people

I’m sure that young and old have been at odds since human beings emerged on the scene. Right now that’s playing out in terms of “Baby Boomers v. Millennials” complaining. That’ll change someday, and then it will be my generation’s fault, and we’ll criticize young people for their excesses. These aren’t unique thoughts, but they’re two things I thought…

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