The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

  • November 3, 2014

    Conditions for Iraqi Christians and Yazidis, who escaped from Islamic State militants into Iraq’s Kurdistan region, remain difficult as winter approaches, and Catholic Relief Services and other church agencies are stepping up their response accordingly. They are helping to “winterize” the sometimes haphazard shelters thrown together by displaced Christians and are beginning to plan for a long-term settlement within Erbil and other communities in Kurdistan...

  • November 3, 2014

    Jordan Becker has close-cropped dark hair, a trim goatee and bulging biceps from lifting weights daily at the gym. Becker did not always look this way. A photograph of Becker at age 4 shows a smiling little girl with ringlet curls in a frilly dress. “My mother had to pay me to wear that dress,” Jordan says.

  • November 3, 2014

    After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the Family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. The assembly failed to reach consensus on the especially controversial questions of Communion for those who are divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of gay and lesbian people that had brought heightened attention to the synod.

  • November 3, 2014

    A five-year court odyssey for a Pakistani Christian mother of five will continue after an appeals court in Lahore, Pakistan, on Oct. 16 upheld a death sentence for “blasphemy.” Asia Bibi, 45, has been imprisoned since 2009 while appealing her conviction. Accused by co-workers after a dispute over a communal water source, she was convicted under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws.

  • November 3, 2014

    The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said on Oct. 14 that it hoped that a $9.95 million settlement of abuse claims “can bring about some closure to those hurt by abuse in the past.”• Alaska’s Gov. Sean Parnell said in a statement released on Oct. 12 that his administration will appeal a U.S. District Court decision that invalidates the state’s constitutional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. • The Catholic Church in...

  • November 3, 2014

    Providing food aid to people in need is not enough to eradicate world hunger, Pope Francis said in a message marking the celebration of World Food Day on Oct. 16. An overhaul of the entire framework of aid policies and food production is needed so that countries can be in charge of their own agricultural markets, he said. “For how long will systems of production and consumption that exclude the majority of the world’s population even from the crumbs that...

  • November 3, 2014

    Ever since Frank Mulbah’s mother died of Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia, in August, no one will go near him. “I went to my relatives after my mother died, but they chased me away, even after I told them that I didn’t have Ebola,” said Frank, 12, who tested negative for Ebola at the hospital where his mother died. As Ebola continues its rampage across Liberia and elsewhere in West Africa, thousands of children are taking a double hit: losing parents to the fatal...

  • October 27, 2014

    Families of 43 students who “disappeared” in Guerrero State in Mexico spend their time praying at the college the students attended. They also worry and wonder about the whereabouts of the students, who were shot at by police in late September and subsequently abducted from a bus. Mass graves containing charred human remains were found shortly thereafter. The disappearance on Sept. 26 of so many students in Iguala has sparked international outrage and soul-...

  • October 27, 2014

    What came ashore on Sept. 23 wasn’t the sort of high-end yacht that usually docks in affluent Key Biscayne. It looked instead like a floating dumpster, and it was carrying nine Cubans who had fled their communist island. But these days that’s not such an odd sight for communities like Key Biscayne, which sits across Biscayne Bay from Miami. This year in fact has seen a remarkable spike in the number of Cubans arriving in South Florida on crude rafts.

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  • October 27, 2014

    Captors released a Franciscan priest who was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey. Father Hanna Jallouf was being held under house arrest in a religious residence in Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, according to a statement on Oct. 9 from the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The statement offered no further details, and there was no immediate word on the others who were abducted...