The debate in favor of legalization has largely been framed in the language of personal freedom. Our personal freedom exists in the context of the communities to which we belong. As Catholics, we believe we have a responsibility to one another and to the wider community. Personal freedom that is not balanced by sensible regulation for the common good destroys the communities that are the guarantors of our personal freedom.
Anchorage’s Holy Rosary Academy is once again back among a select group of U.S. Catholic high schools honored by The Cardinal Newman Society for excellence in Catholic identity and education. The Cardinal Newman Society is a non-profit organization seeking to renew and strengthen Catholic identity in education. In September it announced the winners of its Catholic High School Honor Roll competition.
Planning for end of life situations is important. We should put in place an advance directive before our health takes a serious turn for the worse and we are no longer able to indicate our own wishes or make our own decisions. Advance directives can be of two types: living wills and health care agents.
Brokenness is something I know a lot about. Maybe we all do. We speak about brokenness in many ways. Broken promises. Broken hearts. Broken marriages. Broken lives. Broken bodies. Broken spirits. Broken minds. Brokenness is all around us. The world at times seems so broken. Out of order. It is a witness of original brokenness called original sin.
Longtime Alaskan and servant to the church in the Fairbanks Diocese Ursuline Sister Maria Clarys died on Sept. 9 in Fairbanks. Born in Belgium in 1936, she later attended school for fashion and design. In 1962 her life took a different course when she joined the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union at Boxtel Brabant, the Netherlands, where she made first profession on April 26, 1965.
The Little Sisters of Jesus, with a unique charism and a long history of service to Western Alaska, have left their longtime home in the Nome area. The religious order has been a quiet presence in remote places like Diomede, Nome and King Island’s fish camp at Woolley Lagoon since the 1950s. Today, Alaska’s nine remaining Little Sisters live in an Anchorage convent, most in the St. Anthony Church area.
On the evening of Sept. 12, 2006, my wife and I were dining in Cracow with Polish friends when an agitated Italian Vaticanista called, demanding to know what I thought of “This crazy speech of the pope’s about the Muslims.” That was my first hint that the herd of independent minds in the world press was about to go ballistic on the subject of Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Lecture: a “gaffe”-bone on which the media continued to gnaw until the end of Benedict’s pontificate.
Catholic Social Services just completed the reaccreditations process by the Council on Accreditation (COA) this summer. A team visited us in August and had many positive things to say. Their report emphasized three elements: Our excellent continuous quality improvement program; our engaged and knowledgeable board of trustees; and the strong sense of teamwork they observed with people respecting each other and focused on delivering outstanding services.
Harper Lee was notorious for avoiding journalists, and now she, or her representatives, say she gave no authorization for the book. But clearly, Mills spent months fishing, feeding ducks and drinking coffee with the reclusive writer. As part of her arrangement, Mills agreed to avoid certain subjects, and consequently the book seems a little banal. She says Lee is the best conversationalist this side of the Mississippi, but she offers few good examples. The book’s best quote, an African proverb, came from a friend of Lee’s, and is actually the point of this column: “Every time an old man dies a library burns down.”
I suspect there may be at least some people in the world who, unlike Peter, do dream about the best that life can offer: the best food, finest home and the most expensive wine. But, as my friend Peter admitted, all that does get a bit stale after a while. There must be something deeper and more lasting in this life than the taste of wine.