The National Catholic Review


  • Pope Francis has warned against having a hard heart that is closed to God’s mercy.

    Speaking on Tuesday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta before joining the Synod Fathers gathered in the Vatican Synod Hall, the Pope urged the faithful not to put one’s own convictions or a list of commandments before the Lord's mercy.

    Drawing inspiration from the first reading of the Book of Jonah, the Pope pointed out that Jonah is initially resistant to God's will, but eventually...

  • Pope Francis says God has given everybody a Guardian Angel to accompany us and offer advice and protection, an Angel to whom we should listen with meekness and respect. He was speaking during his homily at Mass on Friday (October 2) celebrated in the Santa Marta Residence.  

  • The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in Him we discover who we really are: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflection following the readings of the day at Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. The Holy Father focused especially on the need to cultivate nostalgia – deep yearning – for God in the Christian life.

  • October 12, 2015
    Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct 18, 2015

    In Chapters 40 to 55 of Isaiah, there are four passages known as the Servant Songs. One of them, quoted as today’s first reading, is about the “suffering servant.” One wonders what it was like to read about this suffering servant in Isaiah, where we hear, “It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain,” apart from an encounter with the life and death of Jesus.

  • October 12, 2015

    For decades, I have admired Ron Hansen, the gifted author of many novels, including one of my favorites, Mariette in Ecstasy, about the religious experiences of a young nun in upstate New York. “Luminous” is how one reviewer described the book, and I think of that adjective every time I read it. More than 20 years ago, I met Ron when he came to lecture on theology and fiction at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., where I was...

  • October 5, 2015
    Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct. 11, 2015

    An elected county clerk in Rowan County, Ky., Kim Davis, was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses. She is required by law to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which she refused to do since it affronts her understanding of the nature of marriage as a Christian. The situation has riled up many people. Some consider her a martyr who is being persecuted for her religious beliefs; others consider her a hypocrite for refusing to do her elected...

  • October 5, 2015

    Five years after my first battle with breast cancer, a new one struck. There it was: a dime-sized tumor, spotted by my doctor even though the rest of my right colon was difficult to see. “How presumptuous of me to think that because I had cancer once there would never be another,” I thought after the initial shock. Later, after the surgery, I was concerned I would have to have another colonoscopy right away. “It’s good news,” the surgeon told me. “You don’t...

  • September 28, 2015
    Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), Oct. 4, 2015

    In his teaching on divorce, Jesus claims that the circumstances that allowed for divorce in the Mosaic law were due to the “hardness of heart” of human beings after the fall. These laws were conditional, Jesus says, not God’s intent “from the beginning of creation.” Jesus cites passages from Genesis that reflect the human condition prior to the fall from Paradise. In the Garden, “God made them male and female,” reflecting Gn 1:27, with the intent that “a man leaves his father and...

  • September 28, 2015

    The thing I remember best about Louie is that he said he hadn’t had a peach in 30 years. Louie (not his real name) was a lifer; he was in his 50s and had been in prison for over three decades. On the day he told me this, as he was hanging out in the library where I work, a couple of landscape workers were ripping out two trees in the chapel courtyard. The trees in question had grown from saplings and had turned out to be fruit trees, suspected peach trees,...

  • September 28, 2015

    Last winter I traveled to Florence, Ariz., to a federal detention facility one hour north of Tucson, where we celebrated a liturgy with 50 men who rarely have a chance to attend Mass and who are separated from their families and friends. We sang hymns together, prayed together and exchanged the sign of peace. I tried to follow along in Spanish.

    We were unable to bring cameras or cell phones into the facility, so I will try to...