The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

January 2015

  • Jan 23 2015 - 9:42am

    The feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, February 8, has been designated as the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. Last year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration designated such date as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking. Later that year, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General at the Vatican, that the 2015 event will also be...

  • Jan 22 2015 - 5:11pm

    After a decade as president of Catholic Charities USA, Father Larry Snyder planned to step down on Jan. 31 and return to his beloved Minnesota.

    On Feb. 2, he was to become vice president for mission at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. At Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, Va., Father Snyder headed the national office of more than 160 local Catholic Charities agencies that serve more than 9 million people a year.

  • Jan 22 2015 - 12:00am

    Today, Jan. 22, 2015, The George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters officially begins accepting and reviewing applications. The prize is co-sponsored by America: The National Catholic Review, and The St. Thomas More Chapel and Center at Yale University, and is made possible through the generosity of Fay Vincent Jr., former Commissioner of Baseball and a longtime friend to Fr. George Hunt.

  • Jan 21 2015 - 3:04pm
    1 comment
    Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, chairperson of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, speaks during Vatican press conference for release of final report of Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious, Dec. 16, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

    Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., is chairperson of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious and superior general of the...

  • Jan 21 2015 - 11:03am

    New Delhi — As you know from my two previous posts in recent weeks, I’ve been on a lecture tour of sorts, giving the Westcott-Teape Lectures in Chennai, Kolkata, and here in New Delhi. As I explained previously, this lectureship was endowed more than 60...

  • Jan 21 2015 - 10:28am
    Randy Boyagoda (Image Books)

    Randy Boyagoda is a Canadian writer-critic and Associate Professor of American Studies in the English Department at Ryerson University, where he serves as Director of Zone Learning. He holds a BA (1999) from the University of Toronto as well as an MA (2001) and PhD (2005) from ...

  • Jan 20 2015 - 11:31am

    I recently received a notice that the last week in January will be known as “National School Choice Week.” Centered in Florida, the celebration would spread throughout the country with 11,000 events in 50 states, the largest in U.S. history, in order to “shine a positive spotlight” on education options for children. The celebration includes, it says, traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online...

  • Jan 19 2015 - 3:48pm

    In a Rose Garden ceremony that was held on November 2, 1983, Coretta Scott King, widow of the famed civil rights leader, was present (along with other dignitaries) to witness the signing into law by President Ronald Reagan of a bill that would create a Federal holiday in honor of the life and work of her late husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. It would be officially observed for the first time on January 20, 1986 and the holiday became known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In 1992, President...

  • Jan 19 2015 - 12:15pm

    In an address to students at the University of Notre Dame on February 7, 1968, a good man said this: “We need to make a national examination of conscience. Why do we need a national examination of conscience? Because suddenly we Americans seem to be panicking. It’s time to stop moaning and wringing our hands. It’s true; the country is in a crisis. We ought to thank God we are. Because then we always have something to test us—like a piece of steel that stays strong precisely because it is...

  • Jan 18 2015 - 12:37pm

    On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals from cases decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that held the 14th Amendment does not require states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states. The Supreme Court previously denied requests to hear appeals from four other circuit courts that held there is a constitutional right to same-sex...

  • Jan 18 2015 - 10:30am

    An increasingly influential German cardinal spoke to a packed auditorium at Stanford University on Jan. 15 about the challenge of organizing a free and open society that is linked with the common good.

  • Jan 17 2015 - 5:07pm
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    Yesterday I traveled to Florence, Arizona, to a federal detention facility one hour north of Tucson, where we celebrated Mass with 50 men who rarely have a chance to attend Mass, and who are separated from their family and friends. We sang hymns together, prayed together and exchanged the sign of peace. I tried to follow along in Spanish. At the end of the Mass, a few came up to greet us, shaking hands and thanking us for coming.

  • Jan 16 2015 - 4:51pm

    On the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday—Jan. 15)—just as the civil rights drama “Selma” was nominated for best picture in the Oscar race, one fact of American life was little changed.

    Sunday morning remains, as King once observed, the most segregated hour in America. And, against a backdrop of increased racial tensions, new research shows that most Americans are OK with that.

    Two in three (66 percent) Americans have never regularly attended a place of worship where they...

  • Jan 16 2015 - 3:17am

    Kolkata, West Bengal. I am writing this post from Bishop’s College in the heart of Kolkata (Calcutta), the great city that was for an era the “second city of the British Empire” and still is, despite its size and complexity, a wonderful center of culture and literature, religion and art. Yesterday I visited the temple for the goddess Kali at the Kali Ghat (whence the city’s name, it is said), that temple to the fierce goddess, Kali the mother. At least yesterday (unlike my earlier visits...

  • Jan 15 2015 - 7:48pm

     Why not write a gender autobiography to help understand the emerging LGBT movement? We can remember our own growing up, and imagine how it might have been different—or even tragic if we did not conform to the reigning group norms.

  • Jan 15 2015 - 9:36am
    The nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards were announced on Thursday, Jan 15. America spent a lot of time at the movies this year and brings you these reviews. And the nominees are for Best Picture are...
    Up The Mountain: The powerful message of ‘Selma,’ John Anderson 
  • Jan 14 2015 - 11:13am

    Leah Libresco is a writer and school systems analyst based in Washington, D.C. A former atheist blogger and writer for the Huffington Post, Ms. Libresco stunned her readers in summer 2012 when she announced that she was converting to Catholicism. Raised in an atheist household on Long Island, she had graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a B.A. in political science.

  • Jan 13 2015 - 3:30pm

    With the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday, January 11th, the Christmas season officially came to an end.  The multi-colored lights of the festive Christmas trees have been turned off and all the decorations have been taken down. The holly and the ivy have disappeared and have become but a colorful memory.

  • Jan 12 2015 - 4:55pm

    In an early morning walk on Fifth Ave. across from Central Park I was caught at the French Embassy by an improvised shrine—a bundle of flower bouquets wrapped in cellophane to protect them from the 18-degree freeze, bunched around burning candles, as if this were a sidewalk altar, and a sign: “We Are Charlie.” I’ve seen displays like this in poor neighborhoods, memorials to young victims of accidents or gang murders, but not on Fifth Avenue. On Sunday, Jan.

  • Jan 12 2015 - 4:46pm
    1 comment

    President Obama’s recent proposal to pay tuition of many community college students thrusts the cost of college front and center again. It’s a popular topic as college acceptances draw attention nationwide, followed by the topic of how to pay for them.

  • Jan 9 2015 - 11:35am

    It is a Sunday morning in 1992, and I am ten years old and visiting relatives in the midwest. We head to church, pile into a pew, sit, stand and then sing the entrance hymn at Mass. I happen to look up from my missalette just as two girls who are about my age walk up the aisle; they are wearing robes and their light brown hair is pulled back into ponytails. My eyes widen and I look at my mother. She gives me a look that says, “I know. We’ll discuss later.” But throughout Mass the questions...

  • Jan 8 2015 - 4:25pm

    In the fourth installment of "The Living Word" lecture series, New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine will present "Jesus’ Parables: Jewish Stories, Christian Interpretations, Universal Lessons."

    The event will take place Wednesday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the American Bible Society in New York.

    RSVP to ...

  • Jan 8 2015 - 12:33pm

    Regarding the massacre yesterday in the streets of Paris, as a member of the profession, I feel a mixture of dismay for the manner of the deaths of these journalists and cartoonists and admiration for the courage they exhibited (and not a small amount of wonder if I would have the same fortitude). This is a job which can sometimes place a person into potentially dangerous situations—risks usually accepted with forethought and preparation—but sitting in my office banging away at a computer is...

  • Jan 8 2015 - 4:36am

    Tirupati, India. Tirupati is a temple town out in the middle of the plains of Andhra Pradesh. From those plains seven hills arise, green and cool, all the more powerful with their craggy cliffs. At the top of the hills — the Tirumala, holy mountain — sits what is said to be the most popular temple in India, and the wealthiest religious site (“second only to the Vatican”), the site known at Tiruvenkatam, the holy place of Lord Venkateshvara...

  • Jan 7 2015 - 1:41pm

  • Jan 6 2015 - 12:42pm

    A period of prayer, penance, and pilgrimage, January 17-25, 2015, will mark the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy. The “9 Days for Life” novena encourages nationwide solidarity in prayer for daily intentions, including for couples experiencing infertility, those mourning the loss of a child through abortion, children in need of adoptive homes, and for an end to abortion and use of the death penalty. Resources for...

  • Jan 5 2015 - 4:53pm

    Number crunchers at the Pew Research Center have released their breakdown by faith of the members of the incoming 114th Congress.

    Turns out that in 2015 most of them are Republicans!

    Wait, scratch that, Christians remain the number one religious group in Congress no matter which party controls the House and Senate (and tomorrow  for the first time since the...

  • Jan 5 2015 - 12:47pm

    For many years now, I’ve resolved to include in my Advent and Christmas reading Caryll Houselander’s The Reed of God, but the usual distractions have prevented me, until this year. It’s a simple, modest little book of meditations on Mary and the Incarnation and what it all means in our ordinary everyday lives. The mediation I read early this morning, on the unity of body and soul and the importance of the sensible environment, seems particularly pertinent in light of the imminent...

  • Jan 2 2015 - 11:15am

    Three-term New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 82, only hours after his son Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated in Manhattan for a second term as governor. “He couldn’t be here physically today, my father,” Andrew Cuomo said during his inaugural address. “But my father is in this room. He’s in the heart and mind of every person who’s here.”

  • Jan 2 2015 - 9:36am

    To much of the country, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been the conservative face of the American hierarchy, the happy warrior with a big pulpit who led the American bishops during their toughest battles with the Obama administration over contraception policies and gay rights.

  • Jan 1 2015 - 10:18am
    A woman hugs a New York Police Department officer Dec. 22 next to a makeshift memorial near the site where two police officers were assassinated in their patrol car Dec. 20 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police said Ismaaiyl Brinsley allegedly ambu shed officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, fatally shooting them before committing suicide inside a subway station. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) See NYPD-MURDERED Dec. 22, 2014.

    A Catholic sister I know, on her way to yet another street protest for police accountability, emailed me the other day with “an idea for a column,” as her subject line read. This crisis of racism in policing, she wrote, seems familiar. Could it be that there is some connection between prosecutors protecting killer police officers and bishops protecting abusive priests?