Our broader culture is now so disconnected -- both from the lives of habited nuns and from the concept of hunting -- this story was simply bound to take off.
Commentary: All eyes are on Speaker Paul Ryan, a politician who has been unusually candid about the way his Catholic faith influences his policy proposals and philosophy of government.
Commentary: Francis could do something meaningful about child sexual abuse — change canon law by abolishing the pontifical secret over allegations of the sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious.
Commentary: The synod on the family should begin with a proclamation of the Good News to the poor, with God’s simple invitation repeated again to everyone -- come and eat.
Commentary: Bishop Michael Bransfield's response to Pope Francis' encyclical seems less informed by the pope's pastoral statements than by coal industry talking points.
Americans of all stripes bemoan political polarization. For people who claim to derive their political values from their religious traditions, polarization raises vexing questions. More than perhaps any other group, faithful Catholics struggle to reconcile their church's teachings with the platforms of the two major parties.
Commentary: As presidential candidacies multiply and campaigning accelerates, we can expect much tawdriness to occur. These are difficult times in American democracy.
Deah Barakat took my class "Islam in the Modern World" at N.C. State University a few years ago. He was curious about Islamic history, contemporary spiritual and political movements and was great in class discussions. I've taught thousands of students in the last 11 years here, but Deah stood out for his enthusiasm, kindness, calm demeanor and obvious charisma.
It looks like the death penalty may be on life support.
January was set to be the deadliest month for U.S. executions in 2015, but nine of the 15 executions were stopped. In an unprecedented wave, three of the deadliest states -- Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- stopped executions planned for last month. February has just begun, but nine of its 12 scheduled executions have been halted.
Last year was not a good year for the death penalty, either, as death sentences hit a 40-year low and executions were at a 20-year low.
Commentary: Here's my take on what Francis might say to a polarized Congress and a nation in need of moral vision, aware of the chutzpah needed to channel this pope.