The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

  • April 6, 2015

    Students at a Hindu-run school for the blind joined a nationwide outcry over the gang rape of a nun in her 70s. The 50 students at the Helen Keller School near the convent where the nun lived chanted “Mother we cannot see, but we can feel your pain,” on March 17, after news of the incident three days earlier reached them, Bishop Joseph Gomes of Krishnagar, India, reported. Demonstrations throughout India called on authorities to hasten their investigation of...

  • April 6, 2015

    Catholic Relief Services was coordinating closely with Caritas Oceania agencies in an emergency response in Vanuatu, a remote island nation in the South Pacific devastated by Cyclone Pam on March 15. • As Kuwaiti legislators debated a law banning any new church construction, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said on March 17 that it was actually “necessary to destroy all the churches” of the Arabian Peninsula...

  • April 6, 2015

    Pope Francis came out squarely against the death penalty on March 20, calling it “unacceptable” regardless of the seriousness of the crime of the condemned. Pope Francis met with a three-person delegation of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty and issued a letter on the occasion urging worldwide abolition of the penalty.

  • April 6, 2015

    At a parish on Chicago’s North Side, Charles Dahm, O.P., finishes reading the Sunday Gospel, the familiar story of a woman accused of adultery who is threatened with public stoning until Jesus intervenes. Father Dahm then launches into a homily that surprises many.

    “Today I would like to speak about women who are abused in their own homes, who suffer in silence and secret,” he says. “How many of you have ever heard a sermon...

  • April 6, 2015

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel snatched victory out of what pollsters had predicted would be a shock defeat by ending his campaign with a rejection of a two-state solution for the 67-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by raising an alarm over Arab-Israeli voters that many condemned as racist and by promising to continue building settlements in annexed East Jerusalem in defiance of international law.

  • April 6, 2015

    U.S. and Canadian bishops joined their Latin American counterparts who came to Washington to testify about the environmental and social ills wrought by extractive industries like mining and logging. The bishops testified on March 19 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a bid to heighten awareness of the degradation of land, water—and people’s lives—brought about by...

  • April 6, 2015

    Catholic advocates are pressing Congress to make the needs of poor and vulnerable people a priority as legislators hammer out a federal spending plan for 2016. They want to prevent trillions of dollars in social services spending from disappearing over the next decade as Congress seeks to balance the federal budget and reduce the nation’s growing debt.

  • March 30, 2015

    In a joint statement, representatives of more than 60 countries have recognized that Christians are particularly endangered in the Middle East, and they called on the international community to reaffirm the human right to freedom of religion. The violence carried out by terrorist groups “creates the risk of complete disappearance for the Christians” in the region, they said.

  • March 30, 2015

    Things could not be worse in Venezuela. No, actually, they could be—and probably will be.

    Despite its prodigious oil wealth, Venezuela is heading over a financial cliff, and it is heading there faster thanks to the plunging price of crude oil. The socialist revolution founded by the late Hugo Chávez, once the populist patron of Latin America, is now a corrupt and mismanaged economic basket case best known for hyperinflation...

  • March 30, 2015

    Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications, surprised America’s church correspondent Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., with the prestigious St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association in Albany on March 12. • On March 12 a human rights group reported at least 500 confirmed cases of Christian and Hindu girls kidnapped by Muslims and forced to marry over the past 18 months in...