Andy, five years old, is standing on his chair at the dinner table and using his fork to make the sign of the cross. Having coated his spaghetti with grated cheese until it is a lovely paste, he is now draping a strand over his ear. From where I sit, I can see piles of junk mail on the radiator and peeling linoleum in the kitchen.
My wife, a teacher of philosophy at a Catholic university, likes to begin introductory ethics courses with a hypothetical question. If you were to live to be 80, what would you like to be able to say about yourself? Her students, who are mostly Catholics and Lutherans—and often practicing ones—sometimes impress her with sensitive responses about virtue and character.
When Pope John Paul II spoke at World Youth Day in Toronto a month ago, he touched on the current crisis in the Catholic Church, admonishing his young audience to not be “discouraged by the sins and failings of some.” Instead, “think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good.” That most priests and religious are worthy servants of
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