The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

  • September 22, 2014

    Chicago Catholics are as feisty and independent as the wind that famously whips across this city from its lakeshore. In decades past, they enthusiastically embraced the labor and Catholic Worker movements. At some parishes today, lay people give sub-radar reflections at Sunday Mass.

    “Catholics here have a strong sense of the vocation of the laity,” says Greg Pierce, a local publisher and community organizer. “They believe that...

  • September 22, 2014

    Pope Francis’ choice of Albania as the destination of his first international trip in Europe reflects his trademark pastoral approach: head to the peripheries; bring healing to the suffering. But his Sept. 21 visit to the poor, Muslim-majority nation also will highlight, to a world increasingly torn apart by sectarian strife, a hopeful example of Muslims and Christians living in harmony.

  • September 22, 2014

    The State of California’s Corrections Department will end its policy of isolating mentally ill inmates for up to 23 hours a day and instead move them into specialized housing, where they will receive more humane treatment.

  • September 22, 2014

    Amnesty International has issued a devastating report detailing summary executions, child abductions, sexual assaults, forced religious conversions and “ethnic cleansing on a historic scale” committed by the Islamic State militant group as it swept across northern Iraq from its base of operations in Syria.

  • September 22, 2014

    In a technological and cultural first, Pope Francis joined a Google Hangout, video chatting with young people across five continents, including a student in the gang-infested neighborhood of La Campanera, in San Salvador, on Sept. 4. • The cause for canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been suspended indefinitely, according to a statement issued on Sept. 3 by the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., where the archbishop was born.

  • September 22, 2014

    ‘I’m doing this for my future, for my sons to have a union,” Jamne Izquierdo said, holding up a sign demanding a better wage outside a McDonald’s restaurant on 8th Avenue and 56th Street in New York on Sept. 4. Izquierdo has worked at a different Manhattan McDonald’s fast food restaurant for eight years, and earns just $8.20 an hour, a wage that leaves behind each month “a lot of bills, a lot of problems,” she said, shaking her head.

  • September 15, 2014

    Vatican Radio reports that so far this year nearly 1,900 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe—far surpassing the 700 dead recorded in 2013 and 500 in 2012. • Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, a former Vatican official and one-time head of the Archdiocese of Detroit, died at age 86 on Aug. 20 in Novi, Mich. • At 105, the Rev. Jacques Clemens celebrates Mass every Sunday at St.

  • September 15, 2014

    Hunger and panic are spreading among people unable to work because of restrictions aimed at containing the spread of Ebola, say church workers in West Africa. In Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, church groups “are trying to get food and distribute it to families...but movement is heavily restricted and there is little we can do,” said Salesian Father Jorge Crisafulli, provincial superior in West Africa, on Aug. 22, speaking from Accra, Ghana. Neighborhoods in...

  • September 15, 2014

    Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the Middle East denounced attacks on Christians and called upon the international community to work to eradicate terrorist groups. The patriarchs met on Aug. 27 at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, for a special summit to address the crisis in the region.

  • September 15, 2014

    Catholic aid organizations are hopeful that the most recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will hold as they begin to assess the needs in Gaza after 50 days of war. “This is a window of opportunity,” said Sami El-Yousef, Catholic Near East Welfare Association’s regional director for Israel and the Palestinian territories. “Now it is up to leaders on both sides to make it happen, to move beyond” the same political hurdles. The cease-fire that took effect...