The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

February 2015

  • Feb 27 2015 - 12:55pm

    Leonard Nimoy has died at 83. In a lovely convocation address (h/t Catholic Dems) to Boston University in 2012, he described his connection to Jesuit learning:

  • Feb 26 2015 - 2:40pm

    On Aug. 5, 2014, I began a poetry series for this site that aims to focus on poets whose work centers on the struggles of often-marginalized peoples within the United States. I started the conversation with Rigoberto Gonzalez on his collection Unpeopled Eden, concentrating on the elements of loss, grief and immigration found in the work....

  • Feb 26 2015 - 10:30am

    Those of you with long memories might have recognized that Sean Salai, S.J., a former associate editor, is the second Jesuit scholastic to interview Camille Paglia for America.

  • Feb 25 2015 - 8:45am
    Camille Paglia (Michael Lionstar/Penguin)

    Camille Paglia is an American cultural critic who serves as the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she has taught since 1984. She received her B.A.

  • Feb 24 2015 - 9:31pm

    Cambridge, MA. I doubt if you are holding your breath, but at the end of my last posting, on Jesus’ transformative encounter with a leper in Mark 1, I mentioned that I would be blogging on the Bhagavad Gita during Lent. Now we are a week into Lent, so I had better start. The idea came to me while commenting on Mark 1, since the Gita too tells the story of a man in trouble who rises up renewed to his...

  • Feb 24 2015 - 4:58pm

    Even in Washington there are things more important than politics. There are losses more profound than an election defeat or the failure of a piece of legislation. When we lose someone who reminds us of what is important and what is not, there are lessons for personal, public and religious life. For me, and apparently many others, my youngest brother, David Carr, was such a person.

  • Feb 24 2015 - 2:47pm

    ‘Twas back in 1845 when you went across the wide Atlantic

    To see for yourself what oppression in another place was like

    You were a freed Black man who put foot in a country not your own

    But one for which you quickly came to have the greatest empathy for

    (despite your Anglophile sympathies).

    You had left America after the publication of your life’s book

    And it was your friends who thought best that you tour for a time

    those British Isles and...

  • Feb 23 2015 - 11:34am

    This Washington winter has not brought us much snow. There have been repeated waves of Arctic cold for several days at a time, punctuated by some strikingly mild days. In one break 10 days ago the mercury climbed to 67 degrees and then plummeted again into the teens and 20s. Most of our precipitation has come in those brief mild breaks.

  • Feb 23 2015 - 8:51am

    Pope Francis has declared Armenian poet and monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Universal Church.  Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints on Saturday ahead of his departure for Aricca on Lenten retreat, the Pope confirmed the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation to confer the title of Doctor of the Universal Church on the 10th century saint.

  • Feb 21 2015 - 6:51pm

    Forgive me, Father, for I have said winter’s four-letter word.

    I have said it many, many times, day in and day out—and I cannot stop.

    All through this season, and everywhere I go, there are piles of it:

    Up and down, to the left of me, to the right of me, it’s always there.

    The white stuff in abundance, enough to hydrate a desert and it’s driving me batty.

    There are potholes in the driveway and on the road, too.

    The icicles have formed their sharp...

  • Feb 20 2015 - 3:26pm

    It wasn’t until I actually stood upon that porch of Mount Vernon—or the “piazza,” as it is called—that I finally came to appreciate and understand the man who was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” It never would have occurred to me that one day I would actually be standing there, walking around that porch, situated in such a beautiful setting, overlooking the glistening Potomac in the summer sun, only to rethink what I thought about “the man in the...

  • Feb 20 2015 - 2:30pm
    1 comment

    Nadia Bulkin, 27, the daughter of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, spends “zero time” thinking about God.

    And she finds that among her friends — both guys and gals — many are just as spiritually disconnected.

    Surveys have long shown women lead more active lives of faith than men, and that millennials are less interested than earlier generations. One in three now claim no religious identity.

  • Feb 20 2015 - 10:22am

    Congress should reaffirm the principle that government “should not force anyone to stop offering or covering much-needed legitimate health care” because of a conscientious objection to abortion or other procedures, said Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.

  • Feb 20 2015 - 9:34am

    The weekly blog “Seek First the Kingdom,” by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., last week had a superb post on dissent, “The Pope, Touchstone of Faith and Unity.”

  • Feb 19 2015 - 2:34pm
    1 comment

    I spent my first morning in Cuba listening to Cuban diplomat Ricardo Alarcon talk about the new thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Alarcon served for nearly 30 years as Cuba’s permanent representative to the United Nations and was president of the parliament, the National Assembly of the People’s Power, from 1993 to 2013. As such, he was one of the most powerful men in Cuba. Though clearly pleased with the diplomatic breakthrough, Alarcon voiced criticisms of statements coming from the United...

  • Feb 18 2015 - 8:30pm

    On its 15 previous pilgrimages, the Catholic gay rights group New Ways Ministry drew maybe two-dozen people to visit holy sites in places like Assisi and Rome.

    This year, the number of pilgrims unexpectedly doubled to 50.

    Chalk it up to the so-called Francis Effect, where the pope’s open-arms acceptance is giving new hope to gay and lesbian Catholics who have felt alienated from their church for decades.

  • Feb 18 2015 - 8:56am
    Father Romanus Cessario, O.P. (photo provided)

    Father Romanus Cessario, O.P., is a Dominican priest who serves as professor of theology at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and as a fellow of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He holds an S.T.D. from the Université de...

  • Feb 15 2015 - 8:30pm

    Cambridge, MA. We are on the brink of Lent, but like others, I hope, I’ve found the Gospel readings of the last four Sundays powerful invitations to spiritual renewal: to follow Jesus unquestioningly, to listen to him as you’ve never listened to anyone else, to come to him with every care and concern, and finally – today, February 15 – invite, even dare, him to make you well, and then to use that wellness, being-healed, in a way that perhaps surprised Jesus himself.

  • Feb 15 2015 - 8:02pm

    To use Abraham Lincoln’s formulation, he was born some ten score and six years ago in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky—which comes out to be some 206 years ago. In historical terms, that stretch of years isn’t much; but for the ordinary person studying the man and his times, it is another world. When he was a youngster, he had scribbled some doggerel about someday being famous, not knowing “where or when” and wondering whether his life would amount to much or have any meaning after...

  • Feb 13 2015 - 4:31pm

    Brian Williams draws my sympathy. The NBC anchorman sits in the awkward position of having to be an easy-to-look-at newsreader and a model of absolute trust. He never graduated from college, though he did a stint at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. But, like other newsmakers, is supposed to opine like a grand scholar. He is expected to captivate us every night but relies on producers and researchers to do his work.

  • Feb 12 2015 - 3:44pm

    On Feb. 12, 2005, two hired gunmen killed Sister Dorothy Stang, 73, as she read aloud from the Bible in a remote settlement just off the Trans-Amazonian Highway.

    As a tireless advocate for the poor and landless in Brazil for more than three decades, the Ohio-born nun came into conflict with ruthless landowners who tried to enact their own violent rule over swaths of the Amazon rain forest.

  • Feb 11 2015 - 9:37am

    It all started with Richard Harding Davis, the 1890s to World War I Hearst war correspondent-novelist-playwright so famous that it was said that wars were not allowed to start until he arrived—so rich (earning as much as $3,000 a month), handsome and well dressed, even for battle, that he represented what it was to be a man for the men and boys of his day. His spirit was still around during World War II when the Murrow’s Boys, the team recruited by CBS’s Edward R.

  • Feb 10 2015 - 6:43pm
    Rudy López (Interfaith Worker Justice)

    Rudy López is the newly appointed Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. Born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana, he grew up with a migrant farmworker father who was a union member at Inland Steel Co. and an immigrant mother...

  • Feb 9 2015 - 6:49pm

    Pope Francis on Feb. 9 began what could be a key week for his reformist papacy, starting with meetings with his hand-picked kitchen cabinet of nine senior cardinals, who are developing plans to overhaul the Roman Curia, the papal civil service that has been plagued with crisis and dysfunction.

    The three-day gathering was preceded by intense talks among his economic advisers, who are trying to revamp the scandal-plagued Vatican bank as well as instituting other reforms aimed at...

  • Feb 6 2015 - 1:58pm

    A new series of profiles on the blog for the Sisters of Mercy offers a moving look at the lives of women who have spent decades embodying Mercy in their communities and in the church and who now, in the face of serious illness, find grace in accepting this mercy from others.

  • Feb 4 2015 - 1:25pm

    Pope Francis’s daily homilies offer spiritual nuggets. He offered one sleeper on January 26 when he said that it is women who transmit the faith. The concept has been offered before, but sometimes it has seemed to be a mere platitude to appease women who may feel underappreciated in the church. I think it is more.

  • Feb 4 2015 - 9:29am
    Father John Lager, O.F.M. Cap. (FOCUS)

    Father John Lager, O.F.M. Cap., has been the National Chaplain of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) since September 2013. He previously served the Capuchins as vocation director, associate pastor, high school campus minister and as the order's...

  • Feb 4 2015 - 1:03am

    Those serene-looking saints we see depicted in those plaster (or wooden) figurines on exquisite pedestals in our churches can be very deceiving. Looking at their calm demeanor on their fine-crafted faces can lull one into thinking that the sainthood process is a rather placid affair: a sudden expression, an outburst of holiness and then sainthood is conferred and declared and a feast day is entered onto the universal church calendar and everybody is happy.

  • Feb 3 2015 - 2:54pm

    The morning of Sunday, January 18 saw numerous accidents on the roadways. By the time I left my home at 8:30 several ambulances were responding to calls from people splayed on icy sidewalks in my neighborhood. That my six block walk to our nine o’clock morning Mass would constitute a treacherous journey was clear the moment I locked the door behind me and slid down the front steps, only saved from disaster by the handrail. Common sense cautioned me to go back indoors and pray the Mass in my...

  • Feb 2 2015 - 6:51pm

    Cambridge, MA. Given today’s new snowstorm – it may be February 2, but no chance of even seeing the groundhog here, at least—it seems hard to believe that two weeks ago I was still in India. Time flies, climates change quickly. But today’s storm, which has almost closed Harvard, has given me time to sort out a few more things from my trip, including some of the books I brought back with me and that have been piled up on my desk.

  • Feb 2 2015 - 12:58pm

    For a lot of reasons I had put off seeing “American Sniper.” The thought of two hours watching a guy with a beard, rifle and telescopic sight on a rooftop gain honor and fame by bumping off a minimum of 160 men, women and children would neither entertain me nor make me love my country more. But when it became controversial and was nominated for an Oscar I knew I had to see it if I wanted to talk about it.

  • Feb 2 2015 - 9:00am
    1 comment

    It’s time to head to Hallmark for Valentines. I’ve got my list of those to whom I want to send hearts of appreciation.