The National Catholic Review

Faith in Focus

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  • August 29-September 6, 2016

    My godfather grew up with my father in Oakland, Calif., a black man and a white man coming of age together in the 1940s and ’50s, when that might have been unusual in other parts of the country. It seemed normal enough in the Bay Area. They had stayed in touch as my parents raised us, worked and worked some more.

    My godfather spent his career in the United Nations overseeing refugee evacuations around the world. He married...

  • August 15-22, 2016

    We hated Bernards High School. Hated their pretentiously pronounced name, their zone defense and their lanky coach, whose white vest clashed with his team’s red uniforms. The varsity team was going to lose later that night—their losing streak would extend for another full year—but our junior varsity team usually had a chance.

    Not this time. Bernards took J.V. seriously, and they had Colin Kelly. I’d heard whispers of him from...

  • August 15-22, 2016

    I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s in western suburban Cincinnati, where my Catholic identity took shape at Our Lady of Victory Parish. My mother almost always attended high Mass early on Sundays, but my dad and I usually went to the guitar Mass later in the morning. The first floor of our parish’s recently constructed school building functioned as a temporary “new” church, where most liturgies were held, but our pastor decided that the soon-to-be-condemned,...

  • 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...