Of Many Things
May 23-30, 2016
Living as I do in a very large glass house, I am reluctant to throw stones. In fact, I don’t even permit them on my property. I say this because spring is a good time to take stock of the moral quality of one’s relationships and general environs, to get a better idea of how one is or is not a part of the world’s problems. In recent years, in addition to the indispensable, unbelievably patient grace of God, I have come to rely on a more this-worldly...
May 16, 2016
Given my vocational choice, it is perhaps unsurprising that one of my favorite movies depicts an activist priest in pitched battle with the forces of injustice. “On the Waterfront,” Elia Kazan’s 1954 masterpiece starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden, is based in part on the life of John M. Corridan, a Jesuit priest who took on the mob-controlled labor unions on Manhattan’s West Side docks. The pivotal scene of the movie is when the priest, played by Malden, is standing over the...
May 9, 2016Eighth-graders in Catholic schools in Chicago a half-century ago had a lot on their minds. Beyond coping with being a teenager and surviving adolescence, deciding which high school to attend loomed large. Often family tradition was decisive. Other times it was where friends decided to go. That’s how I ended up at St. Ignatius. At 13, I had made a life decision. Back then we did not hear much theory about Jesuit education. We just lived it. It got into religion courses, of course, but also into...
May 2, 2016
We learned on Good Friday that the family of five refugees from Afghanistan would be arriving at my parents’ house the next day. The Catholic Charities liaison told us the basics: Use the traditional Muslim greeting, as-salamu alaykum . Serve tea. No hugs.
My mom and I excitedly prepared for their arrival. Do we need to get the bacon out of the fridge? Is it O.K. to give Easter baskets to the kids? Should we bring out...
April 25, 2016
Freddie Gray died one year ago. The 25-year-old African-American man had been arrested for possessing what the Baltimore Police Department described as an illegal switchblade. The officers put him in handcuffs, locked him in the back of a police transport van and took him for what The Baltimore Sun describes as “a rough ride”—a form of police brutality “in which police vans are driven to cause ‘injury or pain’ to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees.” The...
April 18, 2016
At precisely noon on May 17, 2011, the 85-year-old daughter of the last king of Ireland touched down at Casement Aerodrome, a military airfield southwest of Dublin. For the first time in a century, a reigning British monarch set foot in what is now the Republic of Ireland but for centuries had been the impoverished vassal of its English overlords. The royal visit marked the full realization of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the international...
April 4-11, 2016
One of the greatest Christian writers who ever lived is the unknown author of this ancient homily from the second century, a meditation on Holy Saturday. Happy Easter from the editors and staff of America .
Matt Malone, S.J.
What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great...
March 28, 2016
Last Saturday, hundreds of protesters briefly disturbed the conscience of the island paradise of Palm Beach, Fla. Led by Mrs. Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the peaceful cavalcade wended its way under a brilliant blue sky through a 2.5-mile route, across the Royal Park Bridge and past the trendy shops and coiffured lawns of the 1 percent. At 87 Mrs. Kennedy is as spry...
March 21, 2016
The news that Nancy Reagan had passed away left me wistful, almost nostalgic for the 1980s, so I spent the better part of an hour last weekend looking at old news clips on YouTube, reliving those supposedly halcyon mornings in America. One video clip making the rounds is of Ronald Reagan at a 1980 Republican presidential debate in Texas. Mr. Reagan was asked about his immigration policy. He responded: “I think the time has come that the United States and...
March 14, 2016
For most of his life my father has been a man who “votes for the person, not the party,” even if that person is more often than not a Republican. This has always made sense to me, for Dad is a conservative guy (lowercase c); he generally needs to hear a good reason for changing something that seems to have worked well for quite a while. Yet he is also an undogmatic, critical thinker, pragmatic and independent. You’re never going to see him on the floor of a G.O.P. convention wearing a...