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  • Catholic leaders in Nebraska have a message for their flock: There’s no need to bring back the death penalty.

    “We want to let Catholics all throughout the state know that the death penalty is not necessary to protect public safety,” Tom Venzor, head of the Nebraska Catholic Conference , said during a press event on Sept. 29, “and for that reason, we urge to vote to retain the repeal of the death penalty.”

    Nebraska voters face an...

  • Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
    What the numbers can and cannot tell us about Pope Francis and the church

    “Has Pope Francis Failed?” asked First Things literary editor Matthew Schmitz in a recent New York Times op-ed. The numbers he cites from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate seemed to suggest “...

  • Pope Francis was on the plane again on Sept. 30, beginning a whirlwind three-day journey that takes him to predominantly Orthodox Georgia and overwhelmingly Muslim Azerbaijan, countries that were once part of the Soviet Union and that today have complicated relations with Russia.

    On the eve of the pope’s visit, Cardinal Pietro Parolin summarized the message Francis will deliver: “Don’t turn differences into sources of conflict, but of mutual enrichment.”...

  • Though Pope Francis did not actually wag his finger at Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila at their meeting in Rome on Sept. 26, by all accounts the event was tense. This is unsurprising given that presidential elections due in November were recently suspended and that violent protests have broken out over both the delay and a court’s decision to let Kabila hold onto power until another election could be scheduled. This, and ongoing massacres in Congo’s North Kivu province...

  • I remember very well the first time I met Dennis M. Linehan, S.J., in America House. I had just been hired to work for Patrick Samway, S.J., as his literary assistant back in the 1990s, and as part of my responsibilities I was to be the “house librarian,” that is, to manage the periodicals and books that are shelved in the library on America House’s sixth floor.

    It wasn’t very big; it just had two tables, one center table for the daily newspapers and their readers, plus two wall-...

  • Each week, a big pile of books comes across my desk. Very rarely, however, does one rock me back in my chair.

    Recently it was William H. Dubay’s The Priest and the Cardinal, Race and Rebellion in 1960s Los Angeles . In the tumultuous mid-1960s, depending on one’s stance on the controversies that rocked the church, Mr. Dubay was one of the most admired or...

  • The Board of Directors of America Media and the Board of Trustees of the Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale University are proud to announce the 2016 recipient of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters: Elizabeth Dias. Ms. Dias will receive the Prize and deliver an original lecture at the Thomas Golden...

  • The literary critic for The Spectator, Mark Mason, referred to Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel A Man Called Ove as “a novel for men who don’t read novels.” That turned out to be a lot of men (and women). The book took off from its native Sweden, swept in readers from all over Europe, and emerged as an American paperback in 2015. Now a film adaption, written and directed by Hannes Holm, is opening in the United States already loaded down with Swedish awards.

    It has caught on, perhaps,...

  • The call from my friend and colleague, Irish Jesuit Kevin O’Rourke, wasn’t one I expected. I confess now to wondering at first if my leg were being pulled, ever so gently and softly, by this genial but persuasive son of Erin. But he was for real: Would I join the team of Jesuits and fellow-workers at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, in the Irish midlands?

    That week looked comparatively light in my diary, I knew nothing of rural Ireland, let alone...

  • Does going to Mass each week make American Catholics fall in line with church teaching on issues like contraception, abortion and L.G.B.T. rights? Not necessarily.

    That’s according to a Pew Research Center report released Sept. 28, which measured the attitudes of Americans on three culture-war fronts that in recent years have clashed with religious liberty: whether...