The National Catholic Review

Current Comment

Pages

  • May 23-30, 2016

    In early May, Reuters reported that the secret court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act approved every one of the 1,457 electronic surveillance applications the government brought before it in 2015. This continues a remarkable streak for the government; the FISA court’s last denial was in 2009. According to data collected by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the court has denied surveillance orders only 12 times since 1979...

  • May 23-30, 2016

    Last month in Ontario, Canada, James Bay, the chief for the Attawapiskat First Nation, declared a state of emergency after the indigenous community of about 2,000 people had 11 suicide attempts on a single day, April 9. Sadly, the indigenous communities in Canada have long struggled with high rates of suicide. In the Manitoba First Nation communities, five people have killed themselves since Christmas; and since last fall, over 100 people have attempted...

  • May 23-30, 2016

    On April 8, the world witnessed a great leap forward for human spaceflight when a rocket landed on a ship at sea. After delivering cargo to the International Space Station, SpaceX successfully landed the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship. The importance of this accomplishment toward changing the economics of spaceflight cannot be overstated. Most of the cost in getting something into orbit is in building the very expensive rocket, which...

  • May 9, 2016

    In early April, a $160-billion deal between the pharma-ceutical giants Allergan and Pfizer fell apart when its tax advantages disappeared. Originally, Pfizer had planned the merger as a tax inversion—a maneuver that would have shifted Pfizer’s tax residency to Ireland, where Allergan is headquartered and subject to a 14 percent corporate tax rate instead of the 35 percent rate Pfizer faces in the United States. New Treasury Department rules, however, would...

  • May 9, 2016

    In “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis reminds readers that while new technologies can be a force for good, they can also place the most vulnerable at risk. “We cannot ignore the risks that these new forms of communication pose for children and adolescents,” Francis says, adding that technology “exposes them more easily to manipulation by those who would invade their private space with selfish interests” (No. 278). According to a study from the GSM Association...

  • May 9, 2016

    A proposed new bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Canada has drawn strong opposition from an impressive coalition of religious voices. Standing together at a press conference on April 19, Catholic, Jewish, evangelical and Muslim leaders registered their grave concern about the measure proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and made an admirable pledge: “Our churches, synagogues and mosques are committed to comfort and care for those who are...

  • May 16, 2016

    A Jesuit priest, poet, activist, scholar, writer, fugitive and inmate, Daniel J. Berrigan was one of the most influential Catholics of our time. His place in American Catholic history is beside the other two giants of the 20th century: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, both of whom were his friends. Father Berrigan inspired generations of men and women in the battle for social justice and put himself on the front lines in the war against war. He was perhaps...

  • May 16, 2016

    In literature and cinema, when survivors of a sinking ship or a plane crash huddle in a rubber raft in the ocean surrounded by sharks, a common theme is the interdependence of people who were once strangers. But misfortune is not a prerequisite for solidarity. Indeed, the great reward of foreign travel has long been encounters with strangers not like ourselves who may become lifelong friends.

    But travel is changing. For...

  • May 16, 2016

    A U.S. district court last month upheld a 2013 North Carolina law that ostensibly targets voter fraud by requiring photo identification at the polls, eliminating same-day registration and reducing early-voting periods. Opponents had argued that the changes disproportionately burdened low-income and minority voters who lacked driver’s licenses, but Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled that...

  • May 2, 2016

    In “The Joy of Love” (“Amoris Laetitia”), Pope Francis urges Catholics to consult their consciences for guidance when making moral decisions. He might be glad to hear that a recent study found many Catholics already are doing just that. According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of Catholics “look to their own conscience ‘a great deal’ for guidance on difficult moral questions.” The statistics demonstrate that the exhortation is not simply a...