The National Catholic Review

Books

  • July 6-13, 2015

    Polite conversation tends to avoid the issues of war and peace. Many believe that conflicts leading to war are tragic but inevitable. A less common conviction, one often maligned as naïve, insists that conflicts can be addressed nonviolently. Without intelligent discourse about resolving conflicts, we are left with a widespread acceptance of war and romantic links to patriotism, sacrifice, honor and glory. We fail to see war as a short-term solution to...

  • July 6-13, 2015

    Imagine you are separated from the person you love most by an insurmountable distance. Your life, however strange and disorienting, is filled with possibilities and hope, while your love faces only devastation and death. Your faith grows stronger, while she has lost hers. What do you do?

  • July 6-13, 2015

    In the last two decades, 1,600 Catholic schools have closed. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, for example, closed 48 schools in 2012. Similar steep statistics on Catholic school closures can be found for other dioceses, including Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis. The number of students attending Catholic schools has decreased from a high of 5.2 million students in the late 1960s to only 2.1 million today. Many of these school closures have been of inner-city...

  • June 22-29, 2015

    I find it interesting when a writer who is as eloquent, longsuffering and respected among his peers as Wendell Berry becomes almost irrelevant in public discourse. He isn’t trying to sell us anything. He doesn’t seem concerned about his image. He doesn’t scream or get arrested or perform. And we don’t even have to tune him out; his writing goes out on a frequency that is rarely even heard.

  • June 22-29, 2015

    If the United States Constitution is determinative in the life of the United States, to conceive of the nation as being “under God” has to be not a matter of law but of sentiment. Were it a matter of law, civil authorities would have to penalize that large minority of citizens who do not believe in God or who do not want to be measured by the formal invocations of God in public life. To say that the “under God” claim is a matter of sentiment is not to...

  • June 22-29, 2015

    Václav Havel, playwright, dissident and president of both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic successively, was one of the most inspirational human beings to have walked the earth in our time. I met him once when he received a group of visiting scholars at Prague Castle, and have long been aware of the seminal role he played in the history of his own country and as a thinker who grappled with the deepest challenges of the modern world.

  • June 8-15, 2015

    When I received the go-ahead to review Karl Ove Knausgaard’s latest book, my editor asked me to “deal with the big question so many have: What is so great about this guy?” What is so great about this Norwegian writer that would prompt critics and his fellow writers to almost universally praise his work? That would compel his fans during last year’s book tour to line up around the block to see and hear him read?

  • June 8-15, 2015

    In February at the Academy Awards Neil Patrick Harris made the quip that “Edward Snowden couldn’t be here for some treason.” In 2013 Snowden more or less gave up his life so that the world could find out about the extensive and illegal surveillance measures of the United States government. Two years later, most of that is still happening, and he’s just a punch line. LOL.

  • May 25-June 1, 2015

    For all its popularity, the Internet is raising very important social, cultural and political questions. Headlines remind us that texting while driving can have lethal results. University professors find themselves competing unsuccessfully with student smart-phone use in class. Parents find it necessary to place filters on computers to protect their children from exposure to pornography and violence. Hackers invade nations and corporations, leaking secret...

  • May 25-June 1, 2015

    The word “shame” appears twice on the first page of John Boyne’s novel of Irish priesthood, A History of Loneliness. The Rev. Odran Yates’s shame is both personal and institutional. As he tells his story in a scrambled chronology that covers his life from 1964 to 2013, he confronts the sources of the failure that marks his 35 years as a priest.