The National Catholic Review

Culture

August 2015

  • August 19, 2015

    Masha Gessen has written a thought-provoking and disturbing book about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and those deemed responsible, the brothers Tamerlan and Jahar Tsarnaev. This topic must have been particularly compelling for her as someone who came to the Boston area from the Soviet Union as a girl and upon adulthood spent 20 years as a journalist covering post-Communist Russia, with special attention to the violence in the Caucasus.

  • August 19, 2015

    In November 1941, just before Edith Halpert exhibited Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration of the Negro” at her Downtown Gallery in Manhattan, Fortune magazine published 26 of the 60 panels in the series. With a limited palette of brilliantly saturated colors and in an abstracted, expressionistic style, the relatively small panels (12 in.

  • August 19, 2015

    Preparing to enter the Jesuit novitiate in 1868, Gerard Manley Hopkins famously incinerated the poems he had written up to that point. Hopkins later quipped that “brilliancy does not suit us” (i.e., Jesuits), a lapidary distillation of the tension he and others have seen between deploying one’s talents (particularly artistic talents) and heeding a call to communion with God in religious life.

  • August 19, 2015

    Pope Francis’ announcement that he will canonize the Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra, founder and father president of the mission system of Alta California from 1769 to his death in 1784, has fortuitously coincided with the recent appearance of three biographies of this controversial figure: Steven W.

  • August 6, 2015

    Eugene Gladstone O’Neill never wanted for adversity or drama. The neglected offspring of a detached but overbearing father and a sullen, morphine-addicted mother, he was marked in adult life by alcohol-fueled depression, tempestuous serial romances and bouts of misogynistic rage. Yet according to Robert M.

  • August 6, 2015

    The influence of a particular pope lingers on long after that particular pope has died or resigned. The pope most often cited in the documents of Vatican II, for instance, was Pius XII. Similarly the influence of Joseph Ratzinger—Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—will endure far beyond his life time. Reportedly, towards the end of his papacy Benedict considered his theological writings far more important and enduring than whatever he might have been able to accomplish as pope.

  • August 6, 2015

    Thomas Cromwell stands out after Henry VIII himself as the most prominent figure in the Henrician Reformation of the 1530s. Tracy Borman recounts persuasively and engagingly the tale of the meteoric rise of this complex commoner to the highest offices and dominant influence at the court of Henry and his just as meteoric fall from grace and execution.