November 3, 2014
Two months ago, the Kurdish journalist Muhanad Akidi was captured by the Islamic State while reporting from the Iraqi city of Mosul. He was 37 years old and worked for a local news agency. On Oct. 13, he, his brother and two other civilians were reportedly executed by militants because they refused to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. His murder follows the death of an Iraqi cameraman, Raad al-Azzawi, who was publicly killed by the Islamic State...
October 27, 2014
First, some perspective is in order. Though this latest outbreak of the Ebola virus has, tragically, claimed the lives of more than 3,800 people, including one victim in the United States, the disease remains terrifying more within the media-stoked American imagination than as a practical threat in most parts of the world. Only one person has become infected outside the West African viral zone, though more desperate people like Thomas Eric Duncan, a...
October 20, 2014
Earlier this year the Minnesota Catholic Conference entered into an unusual partnership. As the state legislature considered two bills that would have legalized commercial surrogacy, Catholic leaders worked together with Kathleen Sloan, an executive board member of the National Organization of Women, to lobby against the measures. The proposed laws, which would have granted judges the authority to adjudicate surrogacy contracts, were ultimately defeated...
October 13, 2014
In confronting the quandary of Iraq and Syria, President Obama is tasked with choosing the least worst among a number of awful policy options. The “new” strategy President Obama described in a speech on Sept. 10 and put into action a few weeks later appears painfully similar to the failed policies of the recent past. For over three decades, four presidents have tried to bomb this complex and troubled region into submission.
October 6, 2014
Discussions leading up to the Synod of Bishops on the Family have largely centered on the pastoral situation of divorced and remarried Catholics, as well as external forces like poverty, migration and changing social norms that challenge modern families. Much less has been said about those for whom the greatest threat comes from within a family or from a loved one.
September 29. 2014
For the moment, the rockets fired into Israel by Hamas have stopped and the American-made F-16 fighter jets zeroing in on the neighborhoods of Gaza are still. Survivors ask: Was it worth it? Some Hamas leaders rejoice that to withstand an Israeli bombardment means to have “won.” Israel takes satisfaction in having punished “terrorists” and closed tunnels. But count the casualties: 2,131 Palestinians killed in Gaza, including 1,473 civilians, of whom 501...
September 22, 2014
The tragedy of divorce has in some way touched nearly every family in the contemporary Western world. Large numbers of Catholics have not been spared. In the agonizing aftermath of divorce, many encounter great spiritual and psychological challenges. They often wonder, for example, whether they will ever love again and even whether they are loveable at all. Catholics who have divorced and entered into a second civil marriage without a decree of nullity...
September 15, 2014
The fatal shooting by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was followed by protests, confrontations, curfews and arrests. For days after the young man’s death, photos of clouds of tear gas, police in riot gear and looters ravaging storefronts dominated newspapers and Twitter feeds. Although these events are important to understanding this ongoing story, perhaps more crucial are the events...
Sept. 1-8, 2014
By noon the parade was over, and the revelers had gathered in a park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They shared cigars, gave speeches and drank from kegs of lager “mounted in every conceivable place.” The occasion was the first Labor Day parade, held on Sept. 5, 1882, and though police feared riots, the day passed without incident. The lively crowd of union workers and supporters represented a burgeoning force in American public life.
August 18-25, 2014
Gaza is being reduced to rubble while the world watches on YouTube and CNN. It has been as dispiriting a display of inhumanity and failure as one can imagine, yet it has not been enough to compel either side to accept a halt to the carnage. Each night new images of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “telegenically dead Palestinians” are paraded across television and computer screens.