The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

July 2016

  • The chapel at Brideshead is based on the chapel at Madresfield Court in Worcestershire, the ancestral home of the Lygon family

    It was the first sign of intelligence you showed, and no one taught it to you. It came, as it were, a gift of God: the smile that you offered when you first recognized a human face. What a basic human experience: responding to the presence of another. Everything changes when we realize that we are not alone. Whatever else we’re doing, we add to it the decision of how to react. It doesn’t matter if the person is friend, family, stranger or lover. Humans respond to the presence of each other...

  • When I first moved away from home, to attend a Catholic high school as a boarding student, my cousin, who had briefly explored religious life as a sister, gave me a vinyl-covered, small blue book of many pages. It bore the title, The Practice of Mental Prayer .

    Thomas More Prep, the school that I attended, was an interesting experiment of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars. Two years earlier, they had combined two high schools, their military academy and their minor seminary. It was the...

  • Like so many in the L.G.B.T. community I am still mourning the loss of 49 lives in the massacre at Orlando on June 12. In my own moments of anger and grief I found myself turning to music, and I was surprised by the amount of comfort I found in songs addressing the Orlando tragedy.

    One of the videos I posted on my own Facebook wall features gay musician Bobby Jo Valentine. From the beginning of trying to sing his song, "The...

  • One has to wonder if ISIS knows what it is doing. The idea behind domestic terror attacks is to sow dissension by exploiting the prejudices of the West, using fear to pry apart communities. Yet the effect is quite often the opposite.

    Consider what happened in the Hernandez home the morning after the shooting at the Nightclub Pulse. In The New York Times Julie Turkewitz...

  • Photographs, printed on paper, have a way of falling out from the books and boxes where we’ve buried them, and, suddenly, the past is again, quite literally, at hand. Digital photos seem superior to those on paper in almost every respect, yet they are so ephemeral that, once having been consigned to a hard drive, disk or cloud, they can easily disappear into the shear infinity of cyberspace. A website is only as alive as its number of hits. But sometimes the past should fall off the shelf....