The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

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  • Visits by foreign heads of state do not turn heads on the streets of London as they once did, probably because we are so media-saturated, security is tight and because few leaders, in this technocratic age, are endowed with all that much charisma. But President Obama just visited town, and he certainly turned heads.

    He and the first lady, Michelle Obama, breezed in on Air Force One, landing at an out-of-the-way Essex airport, then continued on the Marine One helicopter straight to a...

  • May 2, 2016

    It was announced on April 12 that Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Christophe Pierre , apostolic nuncio to Mexico since 2007, to be the new apostolic nuncio to the United States. • Urging more action on the second anniversary of the abduction of 219 school girls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria, Bishop George Dodo of Zaria said, ”That they are still within the custody of their abductors after two years does no credibility to the corporate image of Nigeria as a nation.” •...

  • May 2, 2016

    Religious nonprofits challenging their participation in the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act filed a legal brief on April 12 that could end the standoff with the Obama administration. In the brief, objectors to the mandate agreed with a U.S. Supreme Court proposal that such coverage be provided through an alternative health care plan without involving the religious employers. The brief said that as long as any alternative plan offering...

  • May 2, 2016

    What’s worse than squeezing a few more productive years out of one of the nation’s oldest nuclear power plants, one that’s within radioactive spitting distance of a major American city and about a mile from an earthquake fault line? How about running a high-pressure natural gas pipeline—you know, the kind known to spectacularly detonate every once in a while—110 feet or so away from it? Did I mention the 40 years worth of radioactive fuel rods stored on site...

  • May 2, 2016

    Pope Francis brought a message of love and inclusion during his five-hour visit to the Greek island of Lesbos on April 16 in a way that resonated across the world. And in what has become typical for this papacy, he did so by both words and gestures.

    While the decision to take three Syrian refugee families—all Muslims whose villages had been bombed by ISIS—with him back to Rome was the most significant and spectacular gesture...

  • May 2, 2016

    The fight against H.I.V./AIDS is being hampered by a continued stigma on those who are infected, a lack of access to appropriate medical care and fake antiretroviral drugs pedaled on the black market, said activists taking part in a Caritas Internationalis conference. Caritas brought together representatives of faith-based groups from all over the world to hammer out a “road map” to indicate the best ways to promote or provide early diagnosis and treatment...

  • May 2, 2016

    Heading back to Rome following his moving visit with refugees in Greece on April 16, Pope Francis confirmed to reporters that he had met with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders that morning as he was leaving his residence. Sanders and other participants at a Vatican conference were staying in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the pope lives.

    “It was polite” for Sanders, who knew when the pope was leaving, to go downstairs to greet...

  • May 2, 2016

    Church officials in Pakistan have backed a government plea to the international community not to demonize all Muslims because of acts of terrorism committed by a few extremists. Negative news and publicity against Muslims by the Western media are helping extremists fuel hatred against Muslims worldwide, they said. Targeting the whole Muslim community helps the aims of terrorists, the Rev. Aftab James Paul, former director of the Faisalabad Diocesan...

  • April 25, 2016

    At a conference sponsored by the Holy See Mission to the United Nations, the message was clear: ending human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery is within global reach, but the complete abolition of these contemporary scourges remains frustrated by a lack of leadership, cross-border coordination and the commitment of global resources adequate to the task. Many of the panelists at “Ending Human Trafficking by 2030: The Role of Global Partnerships in...

  • April 25, 2016

    Commenting on the apostolic exhortation during a press discussion a few hours after its formal release on April 8, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, said, “Amoris Laetitia” was focused on “reaching people not in the abstract, but in the concrete realities of their lives.”

    Bishop Malone described as “a critical question” the impact the new...