The National Catholic Review

Books

  • August 18-25, 2014

    These two books come from cultured and urbane Catholic professors of theology, one at Boston College (Imbelli) and the other at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London (Bullivant). Neither needs to raise his voice to make his case effectively. Both are concerned, albeit in different ways, to contribute to the new evangelization of post-Christians or “resting” Christians in the North Atlantic world. Their writing draws energy from the radiant vision of the...

  • August 18-25, 2014

    One of the hallmarks of the young papacy of Pope Francis has been his repeated critique of what he calls the contemporary “economy of inequality and exclusion.” Some commentators have seen this as an indictment of the present moment, but the pope’s stance would be misinterpreted if it is seen as only a punctual concern rather than as a perennial one. His experience of inequality and its pernicious effects was formed in the crucible of decades accompanying his...

  • August 4-11, 2014

    I admire the gumption of Richard J. Regan, S.J., who attempts and pretty well succeeds at making sense of the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the First Amendment’s free exercise and establishment clauses. Those few words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” have generated more judicial ink than any other part of our Constitution.

  • August 4-11, 2014

    When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, many exiled Iraqis expressed the cautious hope that the U.S. occupation would wind down in a few years and that the country would become a viable democracy. For Zaid Al-Ali, whose family had left Iraq before he was born, this meant leaving a lucrative commercial litigation and arbitration legal practice in Paris in 2005 to work for the United Nations in Iraq drafting a legal framework for the Iraqi parliament,...

  • August 4-11, 2014

    In this collection of interrelated, multigenerational stories, A Kind of Dream, Kelly Cherry explores themes of family, creativity and mortality. Though it is the third of a trilogy, preceded by My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers and The Society of Friends: Stories, A Kind of Dream is intended to stand alone and self-contained, as its separate narratives and varied points of view eventually resolve themselves into the consciousness of...

  • July 21-28, 2014

    One of the many expressions of the “Francis effect” is the renewed prominence of “mercy.” Pope Francis, of course, is not the first pope to speak of mercy in the context of God’s relationship with humanity, but it is certainly his signature tune—the word occurs more than 30 times in “The Joy of the Gospel.”

  • July 21-28, 2014

    While scholarly literature about the Holocaust is vast and continually expanding, writings about the members (admittedly very few in number) of the resistance are still quite rare. Men and women familiar to scholars, like Gertrud Luckner, John M. Oesterreicher, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri de Lubac are often viewed as isolated heroes, presciently calling into the void alone.

  • July 21-28, 2014

    We know for sure that someone is permanently relevant when his or her name becomes an adjective. In the week—last week of March 2014—I finished the most recent of the very many intellectual biographies of George Orwell, his adjectived name appeared twice in Brooklyn (in our diocesan newspaper and in the Playbill for a performance of “King Lear” at the newly completed Polanski Shakespeare Center), as well as in a New York Times op-ed essay. In this respect at...

  • July 7-14, 2014

    What better way to introduce our readers to more black Catholic writers than to ask a selection of black Catholic intellectuals to tell us about their favorite books by their fellow writers? We are happy to present this rich cross section of men and women and a mix of history, biography, liturgy, music and fiction that presents a broader picture of creativity and the Catholic Church in the United States.

  • July 7-14, 2014

    Successful political biographies offer insight both on their individual subject and the time in which that person lived. More rare is the biography that teaches something about who we are as Americans. Jordan Goodman’s latest biography, written with the subtlety and humility befitting a black renaissance man, lifts a mirror to America.