The National Catholic Review

Of Many Things

  • February 9, 2015

    I started out from the center of Rome. Passing close enough to touch the outer walls of the towering Baroque church dedicated to the founder of the Jesuits, I traversed the cobbled streets that wind their way through this ancient quarter, emerging at last into the Piazza Venezia, the frenzied circus where several Roman roads converge. I then passed beneath the balcony from which Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States in 1941.

  • February 2, 2015

    I well remember where I was on the evening of July 16, 1984. I had settled into our modest living room in Massachusetts to watch the Democratic National Convention with my Dad. He wasn’t a Democrat, but he had nurtured a lifelong interest in politics, one he bequeathed to his fourth son. By 1984, at the age of 12, I was following the comings and goings of the U.S. Senate the way my brothers followed the box scores for the Red Sox.

  • January 19-26, 2015

    As this issue goes to press, preparations are underway for the March for Life, the annual gathering of pro-life activists, clergy and civic leaders in Washington, D.C. From our founding in 1909, America has advocated for a consistent ethic of life in all our private choices and public decision-making.

  • January 5-12, 2015

    Last month marked the 51st anniversary of the “Decree on the Means of Social Communication,” (“Inter Mirifica”), promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. In that document the council fathers considered how social communications “contribute greatly to the enlargement of people’s minds and to the propagation and consolidation of the kingdom of God.” The decree also addressed the essential role of Catholic journalists in “employing the means of social...

  • December 22-29, 2014

    This year has been quite a journey for America, an unprecedented period of growth and change. I am very proud of the editors and staff who continue to bring you this smart Catholic take on faith and culture, not just each week in print, but every day online and every hour through social media.

  • December 8-15, 2014

    As they have done for more than 800 years, Parisians crossed the narrow bridges leading to the eastern half of the Île de la Cité last month. They were en route to Sunday Mass at Notre Dame, the 12th-century cathedral that is the pride of Paris, the most magnificent building in a city with a surplus of splendor. The skies were lisping rain, turning the cobblestoned streets into a slippery hazard for the many tourists who filled the plaza in front of the...

  • December 1, 2014

    What do you get when you take a handful to a dozen of the most energetic and inspired students from almost every Jesuit high school or college in the country and bring them together for one weekend? You get the “Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice,” an annual event held this year from Nov. 15 to 17 in the Washington, D.C., area. If you could bottle the energy from that weekend, and give it in small doses to apathetic Catholics across the country, it...

  • November 24, 2014

    On one long wall of my office in New York, arranged in two rows, are the portraits of of my predecessors, 13 in all since 1909. Among them are some of the most accomplished churchmen in U.S. history, a daily reminder that I stand on the shoulders of giants. The third portrait from the right, on the bottom row, is that of George W. Hunt, S.J., the 11th editor in chief. A native of Yonkers, N.Y., Father Hunt entered the Society of Jesus in 1954 and was...

  • November 17, 2014

    Last month I attended the 2014 Erasmus Lecture sponsored by First Things, the journal of opinion founded by the late Rev. Richard John Neuhaus. The lecture was given by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia; his theme was “Strangers in a Strange Land,” a thought-provoking account of the current state of the church in the United States. America’s readers will know that this journal has expressed different opinions from those held by...

  • November 10, 2014

    Thurston N. Davis, S.J., America’s editor in chief from 1955 to 1968, once described this review as “a weekly raid on the City of God in order to publish, in the City of Man, a journal that talks common Christian sense about the world of human events.” Father Davis would have been the first to admit that this self-understanding sounds a bit pretentious.