The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

July 2014

  • Jul 29 2014 - 1:25pm

    Here's an AP lead you don't see every day: 

    Members of Congress are falling over one another to show their support for Israel.

    While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations.

  • Jul 29 2014 - 11:19am

    Pope Francis is well known for his early resistance to Liberation Theology. Less well known is his vocal critique of capitalism following the Argentinian debt crisis of 2002. This week, thanks to the U.S. courts, Argentina may undergo its second debt default in a decade. While its impact on the debt of nations may turn out to be less than some fear, its impact on the poor may be more damaging, undoing more than a decade of debt relief begun by Saint John Paul II in the Great Jubilee of 2000...

  • Jul 29 2014 - 9:15am
    1 comment

    Father C. John McCloskey, a priest of the prelature of Opus Dei and member of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, is a writer and spiritual director based in Menlo Park, Calif. A former Wall Street broker, he holds a B.A. in economics from Columbia University and an S.T.D. in theology from the University of Navarra in Spain. He is also a ...

  • Jul 28 2014 - 8:55am

    Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., is a Canada-based Basilian priest and journalist.

  • Jul 27 2014 - 9:06pm

    Cambridge, MA. There was an interesting piece in today’s (July 27) New York Times (Sunday Review) by the (always interesting) T. M. Luhrmann: “Where Reason Ends and Faith Begins.” She begins with a report on her visit to a seminar of some sort, where people were giving talks on all kinds of marginal realities, ranging from UFOs and reports on experiences of...

  • Jul 27 2014 - 9:03am

    The Most Rev. Frank Caggiano is bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. A Brooklyn native, he graduated from Regis High School in 1977 and attended Yale University briefly before deciding to study for the priesthood. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from...

  • Jul 26 2014 - 9:45am

    Dale S. Recinella is a lawyer and lay minister who serves on behalf of the Catholic bishops of Florida as Catholic Correctional Chaplain to Florida's Death Row and Solitary Confinement population. Together with his wife, Dr. Susan Recinella, who is a psychologist specializing in mental illness, he is a lay minister to the families of executed prisoners and of murder victims. He holds a J.D. from Notre Dame University Law School and an M.T.S. degree in theology...

  • Jul 25 2014 - 10:52am
    1 comment

    The Most Rev. Macram Gassis, M.C.C.I., retired last autumn as bishop of the El Obeid Diocese in southern Sudan, North Africa. He served as bishop from March 12, 1988 to October 28, 2013.

  • Jul 24 2014 - 8:21am

    James Lee Burke is an American Catholic crime novelist who grew up on the Louisiana-Texas gulf coast and is based in Missoula, Montana, and in New Iberia, Louisiana. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Missouri.

  • Jul 23 2014 - 11:13am

    If you enjoy, as I do, a weekly excavation of the Sunday New York Times, you no doubt have come upon the commentary of Arthur C. Brooks, recently named a Times op-ed contributor.  

  • Jul 23 2014 - 8:42am

    Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., and Father Paul Mueller, S.J., are American Jesuit planetary scientists for the Vatican Observatory based at the pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy.

  • Jul 22 2014 - 12:32pm

    Bishop Tony Palmer, the evangelical preacher who befriended Pope Francis and died Sunday in England, was described today as a beloved pastor who was like a son to the pope.

  • Jul 22 2014 - 11:15am

    The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land want “an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza “and the restart of peace negotiations,” Bishop William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem told me in an exclusive interview today, as the toll of deaths and destruction continued to escalate.

  • Jul 22 2014 - 9:44am

    New York, N.Y. (July 22, 2014) - Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor in chief of America, announced today the appointment of America correspondents in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Beijing. This first round of appointments is the latest move in the most dramatic expansion of America's domestic and international coverage in 30 years. "We are delighted to welcome this distinguished team of professional journalists and writers to...

  • Jul 22 2014 - 9:04am

    Paul Elie is an American Catholic writer, literary critic and editor based in New York City. He is a contributor to the Atlantic, Commonweal, and The New York Times and a senior research...

  • Jul 22 2014 - 8:32am

    Another birthday has just passed me by in the rearview mirror of life. It came and went so fast I hardly had time to notice it. The candles on the cake are piling up so and are increasing in number, that I’m left to wonder, will I be able to see the cake through the forest of candles? Will the time come when just one candle will do, as the time of my first birthday when I sat in my highchair before a humungous cake, with some curls on my head and not much more teeth than that in my head? Lo...

  • Jul 21 2014 - 5:33pm

    USCCB Chairmen Respond to ‘Unprecedented and Extreme’ Executive Order

    July 21, 2014

  • Jul 21 2014 - 4:36pm

    One of the toughest political calculations in Washington is balancing competing claims of gay rights with the traditional prerogatives of religious freedom. After a number of setbacks on that front, President Obama may have finally found a small patch of middle ground with Monday’s (July 21) move to bar federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

  • Jul 21 2014 - 9:30am

    Father Terrence Curry, S.J., is a teacher, architect and craftsman.  A 2001 Loeb Fellow of Harvard University, he completed his architecture studies at the Pratt Institute.

  • Jul 21 2014 - 9:00am

    There are two great days in a person’s life,” said William Barclay, “the day we are born and the day we discover why.” That’s a very profound statement to say about life, but surely Mr. Barclay was proscribing the number of “great days” a person can have.

  • Jul 20 2014 - 11:11am

    Father James V. Schall, S.J., is a California-based Jesuit teacher, writer, and philosopher.

  • Jul 19 2014 - 9:37pm

    Cambridge, MA. We are all familiar with the phenomenon of “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) as an increasingly common characteristic of our descriptions of ourselves. Just as the number of independents has grown phenomenally and the Democratic and Republican parties declines, and just as, by the title of Robert Putnam’s well-known book, today we bowl more than ever, but join bowling leagues more rarely than ever. The “Nones” (“none of the above”) are quickly growing communities.

  • Jul 19 2014 - 7:30am

    Mary Gordon is a New York-based American Catholic writer and English professor at Barnard College. She is best known for her novels, memoirs and literary criticism on a wide variety of topics from religion to biography. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College...

  • Jul 18 2014 - 8:23am

    George Weigel is a Washington, D.C.-based Catholic theologian and writer, ...

  • Jul 17 2014 - 5:43pm

    After a brief ceasefire on Thursday, the Israel Defence Forces have begun a ground incursion on the Gaza Strip. I can't find any updated statement so far from the White House or the State Department but U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had this to say during a press conference that had been called to introduce the new Special Envoy and Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura and Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy.

  • Jul 17 2014 - 8:52am
    1 comment
  • Jul 16 2014 - 10:26am

    Michael D. O'Brien is a Canadian Catholic author, artist, essayist and speaker on faith and culture. He and his wife Sheila live near Combermere, Ontario, and they have six children and eight grandchildren.

  • Jul 15 2014 - 5:40pm

    Almost 27 years ago I attended a debate between Rowan Williams and Graham Leonard in Christ Church, Oxford. It was on the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood. Of course, Pope John Paul had ruled that the Catholic Church was not competent to change the tradition and moreover had forbidden any further discussion of the question at least in the Catholic Church. But sometimes questions cannot be settled prematurely even by papal or episcopal fiat.

  • Jul 15 2014 - 3:28pm

    In comments in a university hall in Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, on July 5, Pope Francis offered more evidence that he intends a serious challenge Pope Benedict's standing as the "green pope." Speaking before a group of students, struggling farmers and laid-off workers (Reuter's description) who had assembled to hear...

  • Jul 15 2014 - 9:15am
    1 comment

    Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., is an American Jesuit scripture scholar, author and television host based in Alabama. He currently hosts two primetime cable TV programs, “EWTN Live” and “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in Irondale. He also hosts the EWTN Radio show “Openline” on Wednesdays.

  • Jul 14 2014 - 9:27am

    As the sun rose on the morning of July 13, each side's body count, since the discovery of the corpses of the kidnapped boys, was accounted for: dead Palestinians, 140 plus; dead Israelis, 0. Saturday’s targets in Gaza included a mosque, a home for the disabled and the police chief’s house, where the Israeli strike killed about 18, including all his children.

  • Jul 14 2014 - 9:21am

    The Diocese of Baton Rouge has protested a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that a Catholic priest must either break the seal of the confessional in a sex abuse hearing or face jail time.

  • Jul 12 2014 - 8:51am

    James Carville is a New Orleans-based political pundit and media personality who is a major figure in the Democratic Party. Nicknamed "the Ragin' Cajun," he rose to national fame as the chief political strategist of then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton’s...

  • Jul 12 2014 - 5:09am

    Uluru, Australia. The waning days of my sabbatical have seen me in Australia again, and again at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne (and more briefly in Sydney and Brisbane), where I have served for the past month as a visiting research fellow. It has been a privilege once more to interact with the ACU faculty, particularly those engaged in interreligious dialogue and comparative theological studies, and it may turn out that I visit again next year.

  • Jul 11 2014 - 11:15am

    New York, N.Y. (July 11, 2014) – Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor in chief of America, announced today the appointment of Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., as U.S. Church Correspondent. Sister Walsh is the current Director of Media Relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and will step down from that post this summer. In her new role, Sister Walsh will be responsible for planning and producing America’s coverage of...

  • Jul 11 2014 - 9:28am
    1 comment

    Pope Francis is well on the way to achieving a total and radical reform of the Vatican’s finances. That became abundantly clear on July 9 when the Australian cardinal George Pell, the man he appointed to spearhead that reform, presented the New Economic Framework for the Holy See at a crowded press conference in the Vatican.

  • Jul 11 2014 - 7:00am
    1 comment

    Ramesh Ponnuru is a Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor for National Review magazine. He is a regular contributor to Time magazine and ...

  • Jul 10 2014 - 12:00pm

    The Catholic bishops of Israel and Palestine made a renewed plea for peace today, issuing a call for "radical change" as Israeli military retaliation against Palestinian rocket strikes intensified.

  • Jul 10 2014 - 9:42am

    A White House report has indicated that 24 state legislatures chose not to opt into the Obamacare Medicaid expansion this year, implying an ongoing GOP resistance that Southern Catholic leaders fear will hurt the working poor.

    According to the report, relesed on July 2, only 26 state legislatures have so far opted into the Affordable Care Act’s offer of financial assistance for states that expand Medicaid coverage to include non-elderly family members whose incomes are below 133...

  • Jul 10 2014 - 9:18am
    1 comment

    Oh God, who do I root for now?

    Should I pick the German team from the native land of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? Or root for the Argentinian squad from the homeland of Pope Francis? Do I go for the Latin American or the Bavarian Catholics?

    Maybe I need to go to confession for scrupulosity. I can hear myself now. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been four days since my last World Cup game.”


    “Yes. I took the World Cup in vain five times this week...

  • Jul 9 2014 - 10:43am
    1 comment

    The arrival of many thousands of unaccompanied immigrant minors to our southern border has reignited fierce debates over who is to blame, how they got to the border and what to do about it. We have witnessed the vociferous standoffs in Murietta, Calif., where the Border Patrol intended to process several hundred of this minors.

    The clashing groups of pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant people required the Border Patrol to find another location for processing—less public and not near main...

  • Jul 9 2014 - 7:10am

    Dawn Eden is a Catholic convert, author and speaker known for her work on sexuality and chastity. She is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who seeks to share her healing process with others.

  • Jul 8 2014 - 12:11pm

    In recent months, Pope Francis has come back time and again to the thought that Christians—and Christianity—are still being persecuted in the world that all of us sinners live in. It conjures up tales of the Middle Ages and the long ago, when martyrs were made from those who went about bravely professing the Christian faith against “fire and sword.” It is hard to fathom that this is the case in our supposed modern world. Yet, this is the case in the Middle East today.

  • Jul 8 2014 - 7:56am

    Many of the greatest Hollywood movies traffic in themes of lust, guilt and obsession. Whether it’s the moral corruption of Don Corleone in “The Godfather” or the lust for power of “Citizen Kane,” sin fascinates us as a focal point of our collective imagination. Sin sells.

  • Jul 7 2014 - 3:31pm

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Declaration of Independence

  • Jul 7 2014 - 10:00am

    My sister calls it the trifecta, although without the happy connotation of that word: the window of time every year from Father’s Day in June to our dad’s birthday in July. In between is Independence Day, the date of our dad’s death. The trifecta covers about a month. It is our yearly time of intensified grief, when we are reminded that we are fatherless, and we relive the days leading up to his death, and we regret that there are no more of his birthdays to celebrate. I’m always glad when...

  • Jul 7 2014 - 9:01am
    1 comment

    Father George Rutler, S.T.D., pastor of St.

  • Jul 5 2014 - 8:20am
    Elizabeth Nolan Brown is a Washington, D.C.-based Staff Editor for the libertarian magazine...
  • Jul 4 2014 - 6:10am

    The family is at the heart of church and society. There’s nothing new in that sentiment. Nor is there any great shock in the recognition that ‘family’ here is defined as the traditional family envisioned by the church for generations as imitating the Holy Family. When something is so central to what binds us, tighter definitions are approached with caution. As Catholics we know this all too well. When Pope Paul VI issued "Humanae Vitae" in 1968 he was writing to a church united in its...

  • Jul 3 2014 - 5:11pm

    Like many Americans, I enjoy a good historical film on the Fourth of July. But as a Catholic, I sometimes have a hard time finding a movie on Independence Day that tells America’s story from a Catholic perspective.

    Many of our beloved July 4 classics retell American history from the victors’ standpoint, glorifying the Great Protestant Men who long shaped our nation’s destiny. Our founding fathers were undoubtedly great men, but sometimes it’s hard to cheer for these films. At times,...

  • Jul 3 2014 - 4:59pm

    Dear King George III,

  • Jul 3 2014 - 8:26am

    Eve Tushnet, a writer in Washington D.C., blogs at the Patheos Catholic portal. Born in 1978 and raised with some Jewish religious influence, she graduated from Yale University in 2000. In 1998 she surprised her family and friends by converting to Catholicism as a 20-year old Yale sophomore. Describing herself as an “openly lesbian and celibate Catholic,” Ms.

  • Jul 2 2014 - 9:31am

    It’s starting to feel like 2014 is the year of faith-based movies.

    At the very least, 2014 is the year Hollywood decided to court the Judeo-Christian film market for the first time in several years. Although “Son of God” and “Noah” have received most of the box office and press, small Protestant apologetic dramas like “Heaven is For Real” and “God’s Not Dead” have also slipped through theaters, with considerably less successful results.

    And we still get to see Christian Bale as...

  • Jul 1 2014 - 4:33pm

    When the Supreme Court on June 30 issued a split decision narrowly backing the right of for-profit corporations to deny contraception coverage to their employees for religious reasons, many assumed that faith-based nonprofits would have it easy when their own cases eventually reach the high court.

  • Jul 1 2014 - 12:11pm

    Advocates for religious freedom won a major victory in the Supreme Court of the United States on June 30. Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the court in Burwell v.

  • Jul 1 2014 - 9:00am

    I asked the middle-aged man across from me, “Who was the last good American president?”

    It was the year 2000. As a 19-year old college journalist studying history and political science, I was eager to know my drinking partner’s response to this question. He had just finished railing against Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Bush '41. At this point, I was wondering if he liked any U.S. president at all.

  • Jul 1 2014 - 7:18am
    1 comment

    The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 30 in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, the companies seeking an exception, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (R.F.R.A.), from the Obama Administration’s contraception-coverage mandate. Justice Kennedy, the key fifth vote, joined Justice Alito’s majority opinion but also wrote a concurrence emphasizing the limits of the decision. Indeed, Hobby Lobby...