The National Catholic Review

In All Things

A group blog by the editors, columnists and frequent contributors to America.

April 2015

  • Apr 27 2015 - 10:40am
    1 comment

    Perhaps the worst mistake was killing Osama Bin Laden. According to all the accounts I have read on the expedition, the target was alone, except for some nearby women, unarmed and could have been easily overpowered, arrested and brought home to a military prison and eventually tried, convicted and locked up for life — the living symbol of an evil life and the correctness of the American justice system. But killing him was easier, and it had the public relations benefit of making President...

  • Apr 23 2015 - 3:09pm
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    Sir Thomas More loses his head in this Sunday’s episode (April 26) of the acclaimed PBS historical drama, “Wolf Hall,” which is not much of a spoiler since that’s what infamously happened to More in 1535 at the hands of King Henry VIII.

    The real suspense now is whether More will also lose his halo.

  • Apr 23 2015 - 12:01pm
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    Yukari Bakracli, a tiny Kurdish village outside the city of Van in Turkey’s southeast, is home to the ruins of a once-famous 11th-century Armenian Christian monastery. Known to Armenians as Varagavank, it thrived as a place of worship until Turkish forces looted it and murdered parishioners in the mass killing sprees of 1915.

    Today, the roof is collapsing. Toppled stone columns lie nearby. And with no signage, there is no acknowledgment it was...

  • Apr 23 2015 - 11:34am
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    When Francis Cardinal George died from cancer on April 17th, the historian/biographer George Weigel wrote an appreciation of the cardinal for the National Review’s website (“Cardinal Francis George, R.I.P.”) It covered the cardinal’s life and legacy, as well as his impact on the church, inside and outside of Chicago. That is usually the case when a noted churchman—or any...

  • Apr 22 2015 - 7:15am
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    Mary Doria Russell (Jeff Rooks)

    Mary Doria Russell is an American Jewish novelist who is the award-winning author of The Sparrow and Children of God, a pair of science fiction works featuring Jesuits...

  • Apr 20 2015 - 2:59pm
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    When I first spotted David Brooks’s “A Moral Bucket List,” an excerpt from his new book on morality, The Road to Character, which appeared in the New York Times (Apr 12), I zipped through it quickly without giving it a chance to sink in. Today’s letters page (Apr 19) with 8 responses sent me back to a slow reading of the original.

  • Apr 19 2015 - 9:35pm
    8 comments

    Cambridge, MA. Here in the Boston, as in many other cities around the country, the Church is of necessity rethinking parish structures, often drawing parishes together in collaboratives. Much of this has to do with the declining number of priests and diminishing congregations. Yet this rethinking, despite all the problems it raises, also presents an opportunity to think about how small Christian communities — including parishes — can best fulfill their mission.

  • Apr 17 2015 - 12:41pm
    4 comments

    I’m so proud of my brother Jesuit, Damian Torres-Botello, SJ, for speaking out on an important issue in our church: the welcome of LGBT men and women. I’m also proud of him for openly admitting that he himself is gay. While such an admission is commonplace in some circles, Damian’s public statement—in this case online—is rare. Why? Not because of any aversion to honesty in the religious orders and the priesthood.

  • Apr 16 2015 - 1:46pm
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    Robert McElroy was installed yesterday as bishop of San Diego. Below is the complete homily (a Spanish version here) from his installation Mass:

  • Apr 16 2015 - 10:49am
    5 comments
    LCWR leaders meet with Pope Francis today.

    The Vatican’s “mandate,” in which it oversaw the running of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, has ended—two years earlier than anticipated.  In a joint statement today from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the LCWR, both parties said that the goal of the oversight had been “accomplished.”

  • Apr 16 2015 - 10:20am
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  • Apr 16 2015 - 9:57am
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    America is pleased to co-sponsor "From Nuclear Deterrence to Disarmament: Evolving Catholic Perspectives." 

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    6:00-8:00 pm

    Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
    170 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10065

    Featuring

    Desmond Browne, vice chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative

    Rev. Bryan Hehir, Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor...

  • Apr 15 2015 - 2:12pm
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    The Vatican is set to host a major conference on climate change this month that will feature leading researchers on global warming and an opening address by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    The meeting, which the Vatican detailed on its website on April 14, is another sign of Pope Francis’ “green agenda” and another potential red flag for conservatives who are already alarmed over an expected papal teaching document on the environment that is scheduled for release this summer.

  • Apr 15 2015 - 8:38am
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    Mark and Louise Zwick (photo provided)

    Mark and Louise Zwick are the founding directors of Houston Catholic Worker in Texas, a local affiliate of the Catholic Worker movement founded in New York City by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933. In 1980 they rented a building where they started Casa Juan Diego mission to provide emergency food, clothing and shelter to the city's predominantly Hispanic immigrants. Casa Juan Diego now serves as the city’s...

  • Apr 14 2015 - 2:30pm
    3 comments

    Ever since Aug. 1, 2013, the cool, young face with its wild hair and the beginnings of a moustache and beard of Dahokhar Tsarnaev, now better known as Jahar, the Boston Bomber, has been staring at me from the cover of my Rolling Stone, as I tried to figure out what to do about him. Is there anything we—or I—can say or do about this weird and terrible life story?

  • Apr 10 2015 - 5:31pm
    1 comment

    Cambridge, MA. More than a year ago, I published a book entitled His Hiding Place Is Darkness: Toward a Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013). Various factors - sabbatical, availability of respondents, Boston's massive snow storms - delayed our discussion of the book at Harvard for many months, but it will finally be discussed at the Center for the Study of World Religions on April 20 at 5:15pm.

  • Apr 8 2015 - 4:38pm
    2 comments

    Two notable obituaries this week: Robert McClory, a Chicago journalism legend and NCR contributor, passed away at 82, and Robert Blair Kaiser, whose coverage of the Second Vatican Council for Time magazine informed a generation of Americans, died on April 2 in hospice care in Phoenix at 84.

    I was fortunate to have known Mr. McClory in Chicago, a kind and long-legged gentleman; he was incorrigibly pleasant and a jovial enthusiast for young journalists and all things Catholic.

    ...

  • Apr 8 2015 - 12:57pm
    1 comment

    This month—April—will mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the conflict that has come to be known as the American Civil War. Also called “The War Between the States,” it was also referred to as the “War between Brothers.”  While the war was fought on many fronts, militarily as well as diplomatically, it was also fought on the moral plane, and particularly between clergymen and those interested in the public affairs and social issues of the time. And this was especially true when it came...

  • Apr 8 2015 - 11:15am
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    Congratulations to America editors James Martin, S.J., and Kerry Weber, who double-teamed the Christopher Awards today.

  • Apr 8 2015 - 8:15am
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    Bishop Dominic M. Luong, Auxiliary Bishop of Orange, is the first and only Vietnamese American Catholic bishop. Appointed to the California diocese by Pope John Paul II on April 25, 2003, he was ordained a bishop on June 11 of that...

  • Apr 7 2015 - 9:49am
    0 comments

    Timbuktu is so remote it’s become famous because of it. Its back-of-beyond reputation holds an exotic appeal, which is one reason I wanted to see the film “Timbuktu.” I’d heard good things about it, and I thought the chance to see shots of the ancient city in Mali was itself worth the price of the ticket. Indeed, the beautiful cinematography in this quiet and powerful film is stunning. The light, the river, the desert, the city’s earthen mosques and houses shimmer in a golden haze that seems...

  • Apr 5 2015 - 9:30am
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    Cambridge, MA. As you know by now, the Bhagavad Gita is a complex, multi-level text that explores the nature of self, the world, action, and God, and proposes as its ideal — or one of its ideals — detached action, playing one’s role in the world, without care for personal benefit or fear of personal loss. For many, this works at the level of a robust, active devotion: do all for God, for Krsna, and all will work out.

  • Apr 3 2015 - 9:26am
    2 comments

    Dear Saint Joseph of Arimathea,

  • Apr 2 2015 - 10:21pm
    0 comments

    Cambridge, MA. In the past weeks of Lent I have used passages from the Bhagavad Gita to gloss, illumine, shadow, enhance texts and themes familiar from the Lenten season. (Find here the most recent, which contains links to the others.) Underlying it all, however, is really an invitation to read the Bhagavad Gita during Lent: find a recent translation, read it, and hear it in the background as you...

  • Apr 2 2015 - 12:01pm
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    Dear Saint Dismas,

  • Apr 2 2015 - 10:54am
    0 comments

    When “The Bible” miniseries premiered two years ago, controversy swirled around its depiction of a dark-skinned Satan who some said resembled President Obama, as well as its portrayal of white main characters in the Moroccan landscape.

    Fast-forward to the premiere of the sequel, “A.D. The Bible Continues,” on Easter Sunday (April 5), and you’ll see a decidedly more multicultural cast, the result of “honest” conversations between black church leaders and the filmmakers, Hollywood power...

  • Apr 2 2015 - 10:49am
    43 comments

    Bad news about the family alarms both government and religious leaders. More than ever it is obvious that only effective families can ensure a population’s health, economic and social welfare. The church also knows that it depends upon families for faithful future members. In the United States today the breakdown of marriage and family is producing deep concern, particularly over the future of children.

  • Apr 1 2015 - 7:30am
    1 comment
    Kathy DiFiore (Day 28 Films/Rishon Films)

    Kathy DiFiore is the founder of Several Sources shelters in New Jersey, a network of four residential shelters for homeless teenage mothers and one daytime shelter for homeless and abused women. She also operates a 24-hour national hotline (1-800-662-2678) and...