The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

September 2016

  • I remember very well the first time I met Dennis M. Linehan, S.J., in America House. I had just been hired to work for Patrick Samway, S.J., as his literary assistant back in the 1990s, and as part of my responsibilities I was to be the “house librarian,” that is, to manage the periodicals and books that are shelved in the library on America House’s sixth floor.

    It wasn’t very big; it just had two tables, one center table for the daily newspapers and their readers, plus two wall-...

  • Each week, a big pile of books comes across my desk. Very rarely, however, does one rock me back in my chair.

    Recently it was William H. Dubay’s The Priest and the Cardinal, Race and Rebellion in 1960s Los Angeles . In the tumultuous mid-1960s, depending on one’s stance on the controversies that rocked the church, Mr. Dubay was one of the most admired or...

  • The Board of Directors of America Media and the Board of Trustees of the Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale University are proud to announce the 2016 recipient of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters: Elizabeth Dias. Ms. Dias will receive the Prize and deliver an original lecture at the Thomas Golden...

  • The literary critic for The Spectator, Mark Mason, referred to Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel A Man Called Ove as “a novel for men who don’t read novels.” That turned out to be a lot of men (and women). The book took off from its native Sweden, swept in readers from all over Europe, and emerged as an American paperback in 2015. Now a film adaption, written and directed by Hannes Holm, is opening in the United States already loaded down with Swedish awards.

    It has caught on, perhaps,...

  • Andreas Munoz as St. Ignatius of Loyola in "Ignacio de Loyola" (Paolo Dy/Jescom)

    Paolo Dy is a Filipino Catholic filmmaker who directed and co-wrote “Ignacio de Loyola” (2016) , the first English-language feature film about St. Ignatius of Loyola that opened in limited U.S. theatrical release on Aug. 26. Produced by Jescom, a Jesuit-founded Catholic media ministry in the Philippines , the $1.2 million production was...

  • Edinburgh—I spent only one day here and so will be content with a brief post. The city is lovely, much larger than St. Andrews and not quite so old. It was laid out in the 19th century, I think, and in most directions there are great vistas, avenues leading to imposing buildings. It is a city of imposing government buildings, including several great castles, but it is proud of its intellectual heritage. There are statues of the economist Adam Smith and the philosopher David Hume, and of John...

  • We at America Media are grateful for the continued generosity of America Associates. With your support, we are able to enhance our content and bring new audiences into the conversation at the intersection of the church and the world.

    One of our exciting new initiatives is Women in the Life of the Church. America Media will produce special content across our platforms on the role of women in the church and will continue to feature the voices of Catholic women in...

  • America asked some of our editors and frequent contributors to reflect on the first presidential debate on 2016. Additional contributions will be posted during the day on Tuesday.

    Clinton talks about the common good, Trump touts change

    In a debate that got bogged down on issues of “temperament” and devoted little attention to poverty or economic inequality, Hillary Clinton made some attempts at arguing for the common good. When Donald J. Trump essentially bragged...

  • St Andrews, Scotland—No one might expect that a short trip to Scotland would generate more than one posting, but I cannot resist a brief report to supplement Saturday’s post .

    I had gone to the 5 p.m. Mass at St. James on Saturday, in the rather small cathedral a little distant from the center of town (a size and location in part due to Reformation era disputes). Then, on Sunday...

  • Cathedral, St Andrews Scotland

    It is hard to get away from campus during the semester, and the end of September is a busy time at Harvard. Nevetheless, I have traveled to St Andrews, on the Northeast coast of Scotland, for a series of events marking the completion of a “Year of Interfaith Dialogue” hosted by Professor Mario Aguilar at the venerable St Andrews University, founded in 1413. Aguilar , a Camaldolese Benedictine hermit in the Benedictine...

  • The importance of Russia in the U.S. presidential campaign has been bizarre. Not the least bizarre part of it is The New York Times’ role in amplifying it. Last week the Times published a front-page story about Russia extending its influence in Europe through the Russian Orthodox Church. The reporter Andrew Higgins described the church as fervently opposed to “homosexuality and any attempt to put...

  • I’ve noticed that when concerned Catholics talk about “engaging” with the online universe, they usually restrict the discussion to

    whether to do so or not, and how to do so in a way that doesn’t overmuch disrupt one’s private piety.

    We’re stuck, therefore, on that first-step level of finally admitting that being religious doesn't entitle us to forgo basic religious responsibilities with regard to the internet. We furthermore tend to simplify the challenge of practicing faith online...

  • Refugees are not Skittles. Plain and simple.

    Comparing human beings to candy robs people of their God-given dignity. Plain and simple. http://www.americamagazine.org/content/all-things/refugees-are-people-no...

    Posted by America Magazine on Tuesday, September 20,...

  • At 7:55 a.m. this morning, my phone wakes me to a nightmare. The blaring emergency alert jolts me from my sleep and tells me a 28-year-old suspect connected to Saturday night’s explosion in New York City that left 29 people injured is on the loose.

    I flash back to a different nightmare, three years prior. It is a Friday in April of 2013, and I am sheltered in my dorm room. Boston is on lockdown. An entire city is looking for two men who attacked the Boston...

  • Four years ago, before his breakout role in “Selma,” David Oyelowo told BET , “I turned down a lot of easier opportunities in order to go for the things that I really and ultimately wanted to do. And what’s really nice is that it’s starting to work.”

    Mr. Oyelowo’s discipline has paid off, and now he is able to focus on films demonstrating the themes that are most important to him. The...

  • “Reinventing Catholic Schools,” by Charles Zech (8/29) , is accompanied by a photo of the entrance to a large, run down building with broken windows. The picture reflects the bleak message of the entire piece, which fails to mention the incredible work being done in Catholic schools across the country today. As the superintendents of Catholic schools and members of the National Catholic Educational...

  • A report released Monday by Georgetown University's The Bridge Initiative offered a sobering look at Catholic-Muslim relations in the United States. Only 14 percent of U.S. Catholics surveyed held favorable views of Muslims. Another 70 percent of those surveyed said they did not know a single Muslim. (While there are 1.6 billion Muslims...

  • Hallie Lord (photo provided)

    Hallie Lord is a lay Catholic writer, speaker, radio host and convert . Co-founder of the Edel Gathering, a conference for Catholic women , she lives with her husband Dan and their seven children in South Carolina.

    Mrs. Lord’s latest book,...

  • On Sept. 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur died in a hospital in Las Vegas after he was shot in a drive-by shooting six days earlier. Twenty years later, while his legacy as a rapper and entertainer is still debated in barbershops and Twitter feeds, his impact is undeniable.

    Shakur was born in Harlem, N.Y., on June 16, 1971 to Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland, active members of the Black Panther Party. Growing up around activists involved in black liberation movements would...

  • The big news out of the Vatican last week was the publication of a book-length interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in which the former pontiff reflects—the first to do so, as popes almost always die in office—on his controversial eight years as pope.

    In the volume, poignantly titled “The Last Conversations,” the 89-year-old Benedict told his fellow German, the journalist Peter Seewald, that he was shocked when he was elected pope in 2005. He also said that while administration...

  • My grandmother wore one. My lovely bride wears one. I carry one in my shirt pocket. Once they were almost ubiquitous in the Catholic world, so common that I would see them peeking from the necks of aunts and uncles, dangling from the necks of men changing their shirts in sacristies and locker rooms, draped on the chests of men and women in their gleaming coffins at their wakes and vigils and viewings. But now even the word “scapular” is a rare sighting, let alone the lovely gentle honest...

  • So you think America began with the Pilgrims? Think again.

    In a speech last week, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said that centuries before English Protestants arrived on the East Coast in the 17th century, Catholic missionaries from Spain and Latin America landed in North America. They brought with them Spanish language and culture—a fact, he said, that should have bearing on the U.S. debate about immigration reform.

    “There has been a Hispanic presence and influence...

  • At a Barnes & Nobles just blocks away from the World Trade Center, Tom Rinaldi, an ESPN reporter and author of the new book The Red Bandanna , stepped up to podium last Thursday to pose a simple but penetrating question.

    What would you do in the last hour of your life?

    Against our primal instinct of self-preservation, a young man named Welles Crowther demonstrated his answer on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Give it away, he professed.

    The story of The Red Bandanna...

  • Fifteen years ago, it began as a beautiful, sunny, cloudless September day. It was a somewhat cool and brisk morning: it gave a hint of the seasonal changes that were to come and the invigorating feeling it offered was a welcome way to begin the post-summer period.

    When I walked through the front door of America House that day and stood by the elevator waiting for a lift to my third-floor office, I could not help but think about the beautiful New York skyline I...

  • In June, I wrote a column about Georgetown University’s efforts to come to terms with its slaveholding past. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the university convened a task force to examine the past. The goals of the task force included examining the university’s slaveholding past and educating students and other members of the Georgetown community about slavery. The group, known as the Working Group on Slavery...

  • “Lord, take me where you want me to go. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say and keep me out of your way.” Father Mychal Judge wrote this prayer and lived out its message. The New York Fire Department chaplain was focused on serving all those in his charge, including many of those lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 .

    “9/11 cannot be...

  • We writers love when a reader gives us positive feedback on something we’ve written. We eat it up. Since we usually spend our writing time in isolation, in an empty house or undercover in a cafe or behind an office door, we delight in knowing that our words recorded in solitude have made it out into the world and touched another heart. (Conversely, the sting of one negative comment left anonymously online can cancel out the balm of a dozen positive ones. We like to think we have...

  • Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. (Ignatius Press)

    Joseph D. Fessio, S.J., is the founder and editor of Ignatius Press in San Francisco. A graduate of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, he studied civil engineering at Santa Clara University for three years before entering the Society of Jesus in 1961. He holds a Th.D. in theology from the University of Regensburg, where then-Father Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI)...

  • The literature and legends of wars occasionally include those moments when foes who encounter one another on the battlefield are seized by an instant of empathy. Soldiers have been trained to kill the enemy, because that is all he really is. Nevertheless, in All Quiet on the Western Front , the hero, to escape the shelling, tumbles into a bomb crater where his companion is the corpse of a German soldier whom he comes to respect. In the film “Joyeux Noel,” soldiers on both sides...

  • Jerusalem : Jesus of Nazareth, the Galilean preacher whom admirers call the “Messiah” visited the town of Nain yesterday, trailing crowds of well-wishers. He was also trailed by growing controversy over his ministry, his so-called healings and his association with some wealthy benefactors.

    The visit to Nain, a village near his hometown, was meant to be a stop for a weeklong rest for the Nazarene and his followers. But while there, according to several eyewitnesses, Jesus came upon a...

  • You probably know that 125 years ago Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (1891), in which he praised “workingmen’s unions” and fervently wished that they become “more numerous and more efficient.” Did you know that hundreds of Catholic institutions are putting that call into practice right now?

    Catholic institutions employ roughly one million Americans, so the church is in a good position to evangelize the world through our labor relations practices. Just in time for...

  • Cambridge, MA. I have been graced to meet a number of saints in my life—God’s holy people, living lives of faith and hope and love, going beyond the bounds where most of us stop. And these have been fellow Catholics and Christians, and people in other faith traditions as well; if we have eyes to see, we are meeting them every day.

    But I have never met and spoken with a canonized saint, though I have been in the presence of two. St. John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979 when I was a...