The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

July 2015

  • Jul 29 2015 - 6:02pm
    0 comments

    Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, responded on July 29 to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of fetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics.

  • Jul 29 2015 - 3:10pm
    1 comment
    Photo: Donald E. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution

    Excitement over the discovery of a reliquary in the grave of Jamestown founding member Gabriel Archer has gone viral this week thanks first to an article in

  • Jul 29 2015 - 12:23pm
    1 comment

    It is natural to grieve over the senseless loss of Cecil the Lion, the beloved black-maned mascot of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Cecil was killed by an American hunter, after his local guides lured Cecil out of the national park.

  • Jul 29 2015 - 9:46am
    0 comments

    Dawn E. Hawkins serves as executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), where she has developed a national strategy uniting conservative, women’s rights, child advocacy and religious groups, as well as bipartisan political leadership, to work together to raise awareness about the harmful effects of pornography.

  • Jul 27 2015 - 11:56am
    0 comments

    A federal judge in California ruled on Friday that the Obama administration's family detention policy violates a 1997 settlement that bars immigrant children from being held in unlicensed facilities. In response to a surge at the border of immigrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement expanded the number of detention facilities to house up to 3,700 unaccompanied minors and mothers with young children (1,700 are currently being held).

  • Jul 27 2015 - 10:58am
    19 comments
    The Satanic Temple’s template for a statue of Baphomet is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters June 27, 2014. REUTERS/The Satanic Temple/Handout

    One of the most frightening books I’ve ever read was Possessed, the real-life account of an exorcism in 1949, in St. Louis, Mo. It served as the basis of the popular novel and film “The Exorcist.” Performed by some no-nonsense Jesuits, the exorcism, unlike the film, reached its conclusion when the possessed boy (not girl, as in the book and film) was wheeled in a gurney past a statue of St.

  • Jul 23 2015 - 2:52pm
    5 comments

    Pope Francis has spent much of his papacy embracing people. He’s visited slums and welcomed immigrants; he’s worked to include people from the margins and made an effort to live a simple, humble life. This has made a lot of us feel pretty good about him and about the church. “Ours is a...

  • Jul 23 2015 - 11:03am
    2 comments

    Yesterday a Kenyan Jesuit posted a delightful video to his Facebook page produced by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, featuring a variety of Kenyans saying “Welcome” (“Karibu”) to President Obama, on the occasion of his visit to the East African country, which begins today. 

  • Jul 22 2015 - 6:20pm
    19 comments

    Growing conservative disaffection with Pope Francis appears to be taking a toll on his once Teflon-grade popularity in the U.S., with a new Gallup poll showing the pontiff’s favorability rating among all Americans dropping to 59 percent from a 76 percent peak early last year.

    Among conservatives, the drop-off has been especially sharp: Just 45 percent view Francis favorably today, as opposed to 72 percent a year ago.

  • Jul 22 2015 - 12:55pm
    0 comments

    This morning, the hashtag #IfICouldTalkToGod started showing up in Twitter's trending list for the United States.

    As far as I can tell, this started with a tweet about fighting giraffes:

  • Jul 22 2015 - 9:43am
    0 comments
    Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi (Ave Maria Press)

    Monsignor Peter J.

  • Jul 21 2015 - 1:04pm
    30 comments
    Screenshot from video included in post

    The Center for Medical Progress has released a second undercover sting video of a conversation with a Planned Parenthood official discussing arrangements and financial compensation for obtaining fetal organs and tissue from abortions. In this video, the haggling over the price-per-specimen is more blunt and obvious than in the first videos, as is the discussion of whether the actual technique used for an abortion can be modified to increase the chances of recovering intact tissue. 

  • Jul 20 2015 - 9:45pm
    0 comments

    Fifty-four years ago, on a July day in 1961, the world awoke to the horrendous news that a giant of American literature had died at his own hand, from a shotgun blast to the head, just days short of his 62nd birthday. Only the world wasn’t told that exactly that at first; the truth wouldn’t come out until much later. The official version was that he died from a mishap; that he had been killed from an accidental discharge from handling the weapon, possibly as he was cleaning it.

  • Jul 20 2015 - 5:53pm
    1 comment

    Pope Francis is not planning to allow "Laudato Si'" to suffer the fate of other papal documents, filed away to be dusted off by academics, high school social ethics teachers and DREs as the spirit moves them. At mashable.com, Andrew Freedman has a terrific report on how the Vatican is trying to keep the momentum going on the green encyclical.

    Freedman...

  • Jul 20 2015 - 4:55pm
    19 comments

    Donald Trump, in the middle of being excoriated from all sides for his comments about John McCain, has just upped the ante: 

  • Jul 20 2015 - 1:26pm
    0 comments

    On hand for the historic opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington today was Catholic New Service correspondent Rhina Guidos.

    She writes

  • Jul 18 2015 - 2:39pm
    0 comments
    Pope Benedict XVI looks through a microscope during his visit to the headquarters of the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, in this Sept. 16, 2009.

    In a recent news story shared here at America, it was reported that George Cardinal Pell, Vatican Secretary for the Economy, offered a critique of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” In an interview with the ...

  • Jul 15 2015 - 4:26pm
    0 comments

    Please donate to America Media to support our great work.

    The second year of the papacy of Pope Francis has proven a remarkable time in the life of church. His pastoral approach, focused on mercy and compassion, continues to change the way people are thinking about our faith, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

  • Jul 15 2015 - 4:14pm
    2 comments

    Among the many challenges confronting Pope Francis as he assumed the papacy was the issue of the Vatican Bank. Francis could have taken the decisive step of closing the Institutes for the Works of Religion, as the bank is officially known, but, instead, he mandated operational reforms. By replacing key administrators and insisting on implementation of policies and procedures required by the European Union in the post-9/11 world, Francis sought to shore up the bank.

  • Jul 15 2015 - 10:04am
    69 comments

    Updated: At the bottom of the original text, I have appended a response to commenters who read this post as a defense of Planned Parenthood.

  • Jul 15 2015 - 9:26am
    0 comments

    James Kubicki, S.J., is a Milwaukee-based priest who has served as national director of the Apostleship of Prayer since 2003. He holds an M.A. from Saint Louis University as well as an M.Div and a Theology Masters from the Weston Jesuit...

  • Jul 14 2015 - 9:24pm
    0 comments

    Like almost every avid reader, I was fascinated by the story of the release of a newly discovered book by Harper Lee, author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  Her novel Go Tell a Watchman, released today by HarperCollins, tells the story of "Jean Louise," also known as Scout, one of the most beloved of all characters in American literature.  Today we conducted a brief interview with Michael...

  • Jul 14 2015 - 5:08pm
    3 comments
    Screenshot of Dr. Deborah Nucatola from the Center for Medical Progress's undercover video

    An undercover sting video released today shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, discussing their practices and processes for obtaining medical specimens from aborted fetuses.

  • Jul 14 2015 - 2:10pm
    3 comments
    Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Asuncion to Rome July 12. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

    “It’s an error of mine,” said Pope Francis yesterday, en route from his visit to South America back to the Vatican. The Pope’s in-flight media conferences have become a genre in themselves, a vivid example of the “New Evangelization,” and journalists have learned to expect the casual bombshell. His comment “Who am I to judge?” referring to gay priests, was first uttered during one of these...

  • Jul 14 2015 - 1:02pm
    3 comments

    To paraphrase a joke that circulates in Jesuit circles: Pope Francis is the best at humility. He proved it again on his plane ride home from South America when he frankly acknowledged that “it was an error of mine” not to have said more about the struggles of the world’s middle class. A sharply worded criticism of unfettered capitalism in Bolivia had been only his most recent denunciation of a throwaway economy and a demand for greater systemic attention to the continuing plight of the world...

  • Jul 14 2015 - 9:21am
    3 comments

    I found much prudential and sensible pastoral exhortation in America’s editorial on the Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage (“After Obergefell,” 7/20). And that, in my view, is both its strength and its weakness.

  • Jul 13 2015 - 9:48am
    1 comment

    On July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Following the decision Alicia Garza, a community organizer and the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, expressed her outrage in a series of Facebook posts. She blamed institutional racism in the United States for placing “[Black] babies in cages and 6 feet under the ground” and refuted the often-cited claim that if communities of color were to “just do better...

  • Jul 11 2015 - 1:56pm
    0 comments

    Georgetown's Kalmanovitz Center has performed an extensive review of the union campaign among adjunct faculty there. The report covers the entire process, from the first discussions among the instructors about their conditions to the ratification of a first contract. The authors found that the university's "Just Employment Policy" -- rooted in Catholic social teaching and established long before the adjuncts considered seeking a union -- ensured that the organizing effort moved forward in an...

  • Jul 9 2015 - 4:02pm
    1 comment

    In an address that is likely to raise at least eyebrows in economic and political power corridors around the world, Pope Francis will speak this evening before the World Meeting of Popular Movements.

  • Jul 8 2015 - 2:59pm
    0 comments

    In a letter to Congress today, the U.S. Catholic leaders came out in strong support for the Second Chance Act (S. 1513), legislation aimed at assisting the reintegration of men and women exiting America's prisons, jails and detention centers, and hoping to stay out permanently. "Our Catholic tradition supports the community's right to establish and enforce laws that protect people and advance the common good," wrote Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on...

  • Jul 7 2015 - 3:58pm
    1 comment
    Bishop Michael C. Barber waves to the congregation after being installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., May 25, 2013, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The 58-year-old Jesuit priest was previously the director of spiritual formation at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Aguirre, The Catholic Voice)

    Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., is the fifth and current bishop of Oakland. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and earned his B.A. in history and philosophy from Gonzaga University in 1978. He received M.Div and S.T.B.

  • Jul 5 2015 - 9:33pm
    0 comments

    Cambridge, MA. Even in mid-summer, when our attention wanders from the news, questions of leadership keep impinging on our consciousness. We wonder about how well (or not) Alexis Tsipras is leading the Greek people in the current fiscal crisis. We saw not long ago the fall of Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, the world football organization. Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio are fighting out battles of good government in New York. And, of course, the list of candidates for president grows, just this...

  • Jul 3 2015 - 7:46pm
    0 comments

    On this Independence Day, when the flags are unfurled and whipping in the summer breeze and the bunting is put out and the picnic tables are festooned with the arrangement of hamburgers and hot dogs, the pickles and the pretzels and potato chips, macaroni and potato salads (and don’t forget the cole slaw!), the soda and the lemonade, centered by that quintessential apple pie and vanilla ice cream that just oozes Americana, it would behoove everyone to take a few minutes to reflect about the...

  • Jul 2 2015 - 4:54pm
    0 comments

    Getting older is about to get a lot tougher, if a recent article in The Irish Times is to be believed. According to bureaucrats, politicians and social scientists in Japan, the latest phenomenon to become worried about is the problem of how to handle the increasing growth of what is called the “silver influx”—that is, the increasing rise in population of the elderly in that country.

  • Jul 2 2015 - 4:53pm
    0 comments

    Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, took “Laudato Si’” on the road, presenting the “green encyclical” from Pope Francis to a packed audience during a special conference at the United Nations on...

  • Jul 1 2015 - 1:58pm
    3 comments

    At this moment four new books on or by Pope Francis—four in an endless flood, several every week, of pope publications which have swept across my office desk in the months since the publishing world decided there was no limit to the market for a man who in the earlier stages of his career declined to call attention to himself, to give interviews, to join the world of celebrities—defined by Gertrude Stein as someone “well known for being well known.” So now we have a growing number of little...