Ken Briggs reported on religion for Newsday and The New York Times, has contributed articles to many publications, written four books and is an instructor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennslyvania.
NCR Today: One side points to the character-building benefits of childhood sports. The other side, citing research about head injuries, asks if football's worth endangering kids.
When Cardinal Joseph Bernardin died in 1996, he was mourned by millions as a man of compassion, courage and integrity. By that time, however, his greatest effort to change the scope of Catholic moral thought was already fading from the assault it had received from fellow bishops and the Vatican.
The Vatican has just warned that gluten-free communion wafers are invalid -- no more effective than an Oreo cookie. Of the casuistry behind that I have no doubt. From wherever wafer standards were derived, I'm certain they remain on the books for modern seekers. But obeying the precise letter of that law may inadvertently hand other churches a competitive advantage.