In All Things

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

April 2014

  • Apr 24 2014 - 4:47pm
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    It is a poignant coincidence that Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized as Catholic saints on the eve of Yom Hashoah, the international day of Holocaust remembrance observed in Israel and by Jews around the world.

    These two popes’ personal narratives are inseparable from the Holocaust, and their reactions to the systematic genocide of the Jews played a critical role in the revolution in Catholic-Jewish relations during the last half century.

  • Apr 24 2014 - 12:02pm
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    Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be declared saints on Sunday, April 27, the first-ever double papal canonization. Here's a quick guide to making saints in the Roman Catholic Church:

  • Apr 24 2014 - 11:16am
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    Reports that Pope Francis told an Argentine woman civilly married to a divorced man that she can receive Communion "cannot be confirmed as reliable," said Jesuit Father Federico, the Vatican spokesman.

    Julio Sabetta, 50, wrote on his Facebook page that Pope Francis phoned his wife, Jacquelina Lisbona, on April 20 at their home in Argentina, identifying himself as "Father Bergoglio." He said he was calling in regard to a letter she had written him last September about not being able to...

  • Apr 23 2014 - 2:22pm
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    I have been mulling over the dialogue in Robert Frost's classic poem, “Mending.” In it, a neighbor of the narrator of the poem is shoring up a broken wall. His motto rings out: "Good fences make good neighbors." But the poem's narrator has his doubts. "Something there is that doesn't love a wall. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out and to whom I was like to give offence."

  • Apr 23 2014 - 11:44am
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    Photo by Andrew Biraj for Reuters

    Aklima and I are the same age: 20 years old. Yet our lives, lived on opposite sides of the world, have been drastically different. In August of 2008, when I was 14, I began attending a Jesuit high school in Western New York, with prospects of a good education and a bright future. When she was 14, Aklima started working 120+ hours a week in a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, often starting at 8 a.m. and working through midnight, suffering harsh labor conditions, abusive management and...

  • Apr 22 2014 - 4:46pm
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    Hundreds of pilgrims wind their way around St. Peter’s Square as tour guides shout in multiple languages. Beggars have their hands outstretched amid warnings of an invasion of pickpockets from abroad.

    Across Rome, hotels are full, streets are clean and the cash registers in the souvenir stalls are singing as the faithful pour in to the Eternal City for the dual canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on Sunday (April 27).

  • Apr 22 2014 - 4:32pm
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    The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) issued a statement on April 21 that "strongly condemns the targeted killings of civilians based on their ethnic origins and nationality in Bentiu," South Sudan. 

  • Apr 20 2014 - 9:40am
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    Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!

    The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay” ( Mt 28:5-6).

  • Apr 20 2014 - 9:36am
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    In an annual tradition, Thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have issued the following hopeful Easter message this year highlighting the importance of peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land:

  • Apr 17 2014 - 1:10pm
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    Canada's French- and English-speaking Jesuits plan to rejoin into a single Canadian province of the world's largest Catholic religious order of men.

    Father Peter Bisson, provincial superior of the Jesuits in English Canada, spoke about the plans at the annual Jesuit Provincial's Dinner on April 9. The merger, to be realized over the next several years, first needs approval from Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Jesuits in Rome.

  • Apr 17 2014 - 10:16am
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    What does evil look like? In art, literature and the popular creative imagination, Dr. Frankenstein has that mad glint in his eyes, Professor Moriarty’s eyes bulge when he dreams madly of outsmarting Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll’s cool surface submerges his inner monster Mr. Hyde. For the mad doctor, the smooth, even handsome, face is a mask hiding the real self. In some cases it’s the thirst for scientific truth that has corrupted the otherwise decent man or the desire to serve is...

  • Apr 17 2014 - 9:31am
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    Holy Thursday: 
    The Washing of the Feet  
     
    An excerpt from "Jesus: A Pilgrimage"
     
  • Apr 15 2014 - 3:39pm
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    On Thursday evening, in a familiar reprise of an ancient rite, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis., will wash the feet of 12 men, all seminarians — a re-creation of Jesus’ action at the Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples and, according to Catholic doctrine, formally instituted the priesthood.

  • Apr 14 2014 - 5:31pm
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    In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus utters his agonizing prayer, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

    At this grave moment in the life of Christ, when he struggles to discern the will of the Father, we are invited to learn more about Jesus of Nazareth, about God, and about ourselves.

    Who among us hasn’t found ourselves in a situation where the inevitable seems impossible? Where the unavoidable seems...

  • Apr 14 2014 - 4:05pm
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    At this morning's White House Easter prayer breakfast, President Obama talked of yesterday's shooting incidents in Kansas City, this sudden example of the ferocity of anti-Semtitism and the necessity of Americans to be free of fear of such gun violence, particulalry in places of worhsip. He also discussed his recent visit with Pope Francis in Rome and the inspiration he drew from that Vatican introduction.

  • Apr 11 2014 - 3:14pm
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    Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, remains skeptical of Pope Francis on the question of episcopal accountability for sex abuse crimes.

  • Apr 11 2014 - 12:33pm
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    When I graduated from college and worked in an office for the first time, I saw people drinking four, five, six cups of coffee every day. I decided that I never wanted to take up that habit, so I avoided coffee altogether.

  • Apr 10 2014 - 5:47pm
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    A new reminder of the precariousness of conditions in Lebanon because of the Syria crisis comes from the new president of Caritas Lebanon, Maronite Father Paul Karam. He urges the international community to step in to assume the responsibility of establishing and maintaining refugee camps for those fleeing the continuing violence in Syria.

  • Apr 10 2014 - 9:35am
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    Reports today of the authenticity of a fragment of the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which was originally unveiled in 2012 by the Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King, are sure to cause a rash of news stories and opinion pieces on whether Jesus was married.  So here’s my answer: No.

  • Apr 10 2014 - 7:12am
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    Russia is being roundly criticized in this country following its annexation of Crimea. At the same time our two countries seem to becoming more and more alike. This seems true both in the economic and in the political sphere. Russia is now capitalistic and more democratic than in the past, while over the past dozen years the United States has edged closer to becoming a paranoid, overreaching police state. Business magnates in both countries have amassed enormous fortunes, and the societies...

  • Apr 9 2014 - 2:50pm
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    New York, NY (April 9, 2014) – Editor in Chief of America, Fr. Matt Malone, S.J., announced today the appointment of Helen Alvaré as America’s newest contributing columnist in print and online.  

  • Apr 9 2014 - 12:37pm
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    Noah is a timely hero. Whatever Hollywood makes of his story, in the Bible Noah is a just man who believes that catastrophic climate change is upon him, and acts. According to Jesus’ account of the ancient narrative (Luke 17:27) “Everybody kept on eating and drinking, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.” The crucial gospel warning to be heard is that...

  • Apr 9 2014 - 11:47am
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    There are days when doubt clouds my mood.

    But not Tuesday.

    I was headed out to Bensonhurst to scope out a possible column that morning. On the way out along the Grand Central Parkway, I suddenly thought of my friend, Jack, a classic post-Vatican II Irish street priest, with a big personality and a love of people to match. These were no small virtues more than 20 years ago, when his north Brooklyn parish was seemingly beset on all sides by violence and poverty.

  • Apr 8 2014 - 5:13pm
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    Pope Francis offered more evidence today of his commitment to Vatican II era collegiality. In a letter posted by the Vatican news service, the pope announced today that he was elevating the position of the undersecretary of the synod secretariat to the episcopacy to demonstrate that "we can and must seek ever more profound and authentic exercise of collegiality . . .

  • Apr 7 2014 - 10:49am
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    On April 2, the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a historic communiqué asking, “Are Christians being persecuted in the Mideast?” The bishops answer ‘Yes, but,’ because the question ignores the persecution of Muslims as well as Christians (See below).

  • Apr 7 2014 - 10:25am
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    A 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit who refused to leave war-torn Syria, instead staying in Homs to help the poor and homeless, was beaten by armed men and killed with two bullets to the head, according to an email sent by the Jesuits' Middle East province to the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.

    Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt, who had worked in Syria since 1966, declined suggestions to leave because he wanted to help Syria's suffering civilians -- "Christians and Muslims -- anyone in need," said...

  • Apr 4 2014 - 3:00pm
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    On March 20th, Shanesha Taylor of Scottsdale, Ariz., was arrested for leaving her children in a car while attending a job interview. Taylor, who is 35 and homeless, left her two-month-old and two-year-old in a car, which was reportedly also their home. The mother stated that leaving her children in the car was the only option because she had no one to care for them. After the interview, the 35-year-old mother was arrested for child abuse and her children were placed with Child Protective...

  • Apr 4 2014 - 2:48pm
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    Paul Elie's "Everything That Rises" blog continues to make compelling connections between faith, art and life. His take earlier this week on an early REM song "Gardening at Night" is right on point. I was in high school when REM's EP "Chronic Town" was released. It was a time as a young teenager where I felt and yearned a whole lot more than I was capable of articulating. For me, and apparently others, REM's music in those early years practically defined the idea of transcendence.

  • Apr 4 2014 - 1:59pm
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    The Courtyard of the Gentiles is a Vatican effort to advance dialogue with men and women outside any religious tradition. For the first time, the Pontifical Council for Culture and its president, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, will bring the encounter to the United States with a three-day meeting, April 9-11, entitled “Faith, Culture and the Common Good,” at Washington’s Georgetown University.

  • Apr 4 2014 - 10:15am
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    Over at National Catholic Reporter, Josh McElwee is reporting that Pope Francis has asked the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops to look into allegations of sexual misconduct against disgraced Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien. The congregation, according to the report, has dispatched Maltese Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna to "listen to and report the testimony offered by past and present members of the clergy ...

  • Apr 3 2014 - 10:37am
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    Below is a letter written by Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Vatican City. Thanks to Eli S. McCarthy of Georgetown University for sending it to America.

  • Apr 2 2014 - 3:26pm
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    Peace is one leg of the tripod of Pope Francis’ Franciscan agenda: the Poor, Creation and Peace. Already he has made headway in turning the church toward the poor: removing the “Bishop of Bling,” inspiring others to move out of their palatial residences and instructing religious to use their excess properties in service of the poor. He is rumored to be drafting an encyclical on the environment. As to peacemaking, his day of prayer for Syria proved a factor in averting an ill-advised U.S....

  • Apr 2 2014 - 1:10pm
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    Image Courtesy of ThinkProgress.org

    Everyone in my hometown knows him. We always see him dancing on the street corners, wearing flamboyant attire, fighting with light posts, pretending to be a tree. We all know him, but few know what he’s like when not on his medication: instead of his affable, quirky self, we see the darker side of his illness, prone to violent tantrums and potential assaults. This former army sergeant suffers from severe mental illness and, like millions of other Americans, often goes unsupervised and is...

  • Apr 2 2014 - 9:26am
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    Jonathan Schell, who died in Brooklyn on March 25 at the age of 70, was more than a great journalist; he was what every journalist aspires—or should aspire—to be: a moralist, a prophet, a soul of deep integrity. I suppose I should use those adjectives with caution, since I regret that we never met or talked.

  • Apr 2 2014 - 5:00am
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    A recent New York Times story on the birth of the universe produces awe and amazement. “It’s not every day that you wake up and find what happened one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the big bang,” quipped a prominent cosmologist (Science, 3/21).

  • Apr 1 2014 - 5:32pm
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    As the nation continues its apparently endless debate on comprehensive immigration reform, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined together this morning with residents, migrants and advocates at the border in Nogales, Arizona. There they celebrated Mass together to remember the thousands who have perished attempting to find a new life in the United States in the desert border region that has come to be known as “our Lampedusa.”