February 9, 2015
The words poor and poverty seldom appeared in the State of the Union address delivered by President Obama on Jan. 20, but the policies the president proposed would benefit many working and lower income families. The president spoke in favor of expanding child care, instituting paid leave policies for workers and subsidizing community college costs. The speech was met with measured approval from Catholic advocates of social justice, including...
February 2, 2015
In the aftermath of last month’s rampage in France—17 people died at the hands of three Muslim terrorists, who were subsequently killed by French police—many strident supporters of Western civilization turned their anger and fear on the Muslim world as a whole. In Germany record numbers came out for demonstrations against immigration; in France retaliatory attacks struck mosques and Muslim-owned businesses; and in the United Kingdom politicians seized on...
December 22-29, 2014
In some sense the Christmas story is one of borders. The Gospel of Luke tells us that the Holy Family’s journey begins with a population divided, a census of “the whole world...each to his own town” (2:1-3). And, in the Gospel of Matthew, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, then flee to Egypt, then settle in Nazareth—crossing border after border so that the Son of God might one day break them down.
January 19-26, 2015
When America published “Facing Up to Torture,” by Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., just over a year ago (11/11/13), enough was known about the shameful history of torture in the United States to shock the conscience. That report, however, pointed to unfinished business: the declassification of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s definitive report on the Central Intelligence...
January 5-12, 2015
It is a shame that opponents of immigration reform appear ready to erase “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” from the Statue of Liberty rather than come to terms with the undocumented immigrants in our midst.
December 8-15, 2014
In a small Central American country, campesinos agitating for land rights, journalists challenging the status quo and attorneys and advocates working for social justice face continual threats or acts of violence and intimidation. Scores have been murdered, driven into exile or “disappeared” in the night.
December 1, 2014
In Oscar Wilde’s play “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” the character Cecil Graham explains to Lord Windermere that he never talks scandal, only gossip.
“What is the difference between scandal and gossip?” Lord Windermere asks.
“Oh, gossip is charming!” Graham replies. “History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.”
November 24, 2014
Consumers of the news can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the array of choices they face. We can watch any number of cable channels at any time of day, and we tailor our social media feeds to get the latest news from a multitude of sources. But what are those sources, and are they trustworthy? How can today’s consumers, especially but not only young people, learn to distinguish between opinion journalism and objective reporting? Can they tell the...
November 17, 2014
Pope Francis’ trip to Turkey at the end of November comes at a critical time and place in the history of Christian-Muslim relations. Bordering Iraq and Syria, Turkey has in recent months been inundated with refugees fleeing the advance of Islamic State militants. The Christian presence in the Middle East has been on the decline for decades, but today civil war and the rise of extremist groups threaten to expel the tiny minority that remains.
November 10, 2014
Over a remarkable two-week period in Rome this October, church leaders from around the world met to talk about issues that confront and even diminish modern family life. And as in many modern families, the discussion at the Synod of Bishops on the Family at times became heated, disagreements became apparent and much was left unsaid at the table to be taken up at the next family gathering, a year from now in Rome.