The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

  • October 6, 2014

    The deaths of up to 500 mostly Palestinian and Syrian migrants and refugees could be an act of mass murder, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said on Sept. 19. Hundreds of migrant workers and refugees from Gaza and Syrian conflicts were aboard a boat that left from the Egyptian port of Damietta and are feared dead at the hands of human traffickers who rammed and sank the boat off the Malta coast.

  • October 6, 2014

    “They claim to know on their own what truth is, but Catholic doctrine is not a closed system, but a living tradition that develops,” Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany told the Italian daily Il Mattino on Sept. 18. Cardinal Kasper was responding to a new book featuring contributions by five cardinals who criticized his proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion. “None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken...

  • October 6, 2014

    For the first time since the Great Recession threw the United States and then the world into an economic tailspin, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the U.S. poverty rate experienced a year-over-year decline, falling from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. The last time the rate declined similarly was 2006. Though an improvement, the 2013 U.S. poverty rate was still 2 percentage points higher than it was in 2007, the year before recession began....

  • October 6, 2014

    According to a Vatican statement released on Sept. 20, Pope Francis has created a “special commission for the study of reform of the canonical matrimonial process” that will seek to simplify the procedure, “making it more streamlined, and safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage.” • Catholic aid agencies in the Philippines were among first responders on Sept. 18 as a downpour inundated Manila and surrounding communities on...

  • October 6, 2014

    Supporters of Scottish independence did not see the result they were hoping for, but it is fair to say that democracy won in a national referendum that included 85 percent of Scotland’s eligible voters. At 8:06 am on Friday morning, Sept. 19, “No” crossed the line. The result, 55 to 45 percent for “No,” a tad wider than some anticipated, is clear but brought no closure to the debate; the conversation moves into even newer, just as uncharted waters.

  • October 6, 2014

    Describing himself as “beyond surprised” by his appointment to the Archdiocese of Chicago, Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich pledged to work with people of faith to “serve the common good” and continue efforts to promote healing in a church community wounded by the sex abuse crisis. During his first meeting with Chicago’s press on Sept. 20, Bishop Cupich said he would “keep the focus on protecting children and healing people who have been abused by Catholic clergy...

  • September 29. 2014

    U.S. bishops visiting the Holy Land on Sept. 11 said an on-the-ground tour about the situation in East Jerusalem heightened their awareness of the settlement issue in the divided city. “The expansion of settlements is quickly driving [the possibility of a two-state solution] off the drawing board,” said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

  • September 29. 2014

    In an address at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sept.

  • September 29. 2014

    Listening to President Obama’s speech on Sept. 10, outlining his administration’s purportedly new strategy for defeating Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, David Cortright found himself wondering what, if anything the United States has learned from its long and costly involvement in the region.

  • September 29. 2014

    President Obama’s decision to delay executive measures on immigration until after the November elections drew sharp rebukes from some of the most vocal advocates for immigrants, while others continued to urge specific actions toward reform and analysts weighed whether the delay hurts or helps candidates in close congressional races.