The National Catholic Review

Faith in Focus

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  • August 1-8, 2016

    There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war—at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake. —Daniel J. Berrigan, S.J.

    My second son, Crispin, turned 16 this year. He got his first job, which means soon he will be paying for his own cell phone plan and guitar lessons. Also, he has a driver’s permit, with license and driving privileges to follow this summer, if...

  • August 1-8, 2016

    Among the mor e poignant tributes that have appeared since the death of Elie Wiesel on July 2, 2016, is Eva Fleischner’s open letter to him published in America in 1988 and now posted on its website. The Austrian-born Fleischner, a Holocaust scholar and pioneer of relations between Catholics and Jews, reflected on Mr. Wiesel’s relationship with the eminent French Catholic writer François...

  • July 18-25, 2016

    This past May, as part of his ongoing Fridays of Mercy ministry, Pope Francis paid a surprise visit to the Il Chicco L’Arche community in Ciampino, Italy, just outside of Rome.

    In each of the 147 L’Arche communities around the world, people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together. During his visit the pope “sat with residents and shared a snack with them and the volunteers who live with them,” Vatican...

  • July 4-11, 2016

    I can’t stand the stuff in my home. I don’t seem to be alone in this evaluation. Most people think that too much stuff is no good for us as a species. We all know the reasons. Stuff prevents us from doing the things we should be doing. Stuff is bad for the environment. And the more stuff we make, use, own and bury, the worse things get. Having too much stuff is that rare thing all of us—faithful, secular and agnostic—appear to agree on, which in and of...

  • June 20-27, 2016

    Sons are often defined by their fathers and necessarily reflect on the man who gave them life: Here he came up short; here he came up full. For me, there was much more gained than lost by his fatherhood.

    For 50 years my father worked in his tiny flower shop in a section of Philadelphia called Paradise, 10, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, unless, of course, it was a holiday—Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day....

  • June 20-27, 2016

    I recently encountered an Orthodox priest who was taking a group of well-known Russian iconographers to look at religious art at the St. Louis Art Museum. I had met him a little earlier when visiting his parish. He introduced me to the group, in Russian, as a “uniate priest.” He likely never intended anything disparaging by this, but the label rang in my ears.

    The term uniate , while sometimes used by Eastern Catholics...

  • June 20-27, 2016

    What is that ratty-looking, dog-eared thing they’re trooping up and down the stairs with, clamping under an elbow and carrying everywhere? It’s dragged out to the family not-so-mini van for long car trips and down to the bus stop to read on the way to that dreaded place of doom, middle school. Pored over at night before bedtime, overly loved, pages turned and pulled so often they’re finally falling loose from their gluey mooring. Is it Diary of a Wimpy Kid...

  • June 6-13, 2016

    I walked with my 12-year-old nephew that balmy June afternoon through the manicured green Georgian campus of the The Gilman School in Baltimore. My sister had already rushed ahead to find us seats; my brother-in-law was parking the car; and my young companion’s older brother and soon-to-be-Hoya was long gone to assemble with his fellows for the graduation ceremony. I supported Matthew as he limped along because of a tense Achilles tendon. Dressed in my best...

  • May 16, 2016

    I recently reconnected with a friend I had not seen in over a decade, since our oldest children were toddlers. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “I’m just at home.” It turns out she is “just at home” raising three children, volunteering for multiple organizations and taking care of an ailing and widowed mother in a city four hours away. Her answer is surprisingly common. Often these days, if you ask someone what they do, and if they are not at the pinnacle of a revered...

  • May 23-30, 2016

    “In the year 2525 if man is still alive…” went the old song. Adapting it to Michigan today, the refrain would be: “In the year 2025, if Flint is still alive....” I certainly think that Flint is going to still be around a decade from now, but the key question is: “What will it—and other similarly distressed cities—look like?”

    In the life of a city, a decade can matter a lot. I was born in Detroit in February 1957, and it had a distinct look and flavor to it then...