The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

July 2016

  • Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine still supports the ban on using federal money to pay for abortion known as the Hyde Amendment. The clarification comes after days of uncertainty about where the Catholic candidate stood on the ban—and puts him at odds with his party’s official position.

    "I have been for the Hyde Amendment,” Kaine told CNN on Friday. “And I have not changed my...

  • This week, the Democratic Party for the first time in its history adopted a platform that vows to end the so-called Hyde Amendment, a federal ban on using taxpayer money to fund abortions.

    The news raised eyebrows among some groups of Democrats, including those who consider themselves pro-life and those who while they support access to legal abortion, nonetheless retain some moral qualms about the procedure.

    ...

  • Simcha Fisher with her husband Damien (photo provided)

    Simcha Fisher is a lay Catholic blogger, speaker, wife and mother of 10 children based in New Hampshire. She blogs daily at Aleteia , weekly at National Catholic Register , and writes occasionally for Catholic Digest. Mrs. Fisher is the author of...

  • “Morally unacceptable.” “Especially dismal.” “Destructive.” “A bit like being water-boarded.”

    That is how some Catholic academics active in conservative political circles who signed a letter earlier this year urging their fellow believers to reject Donald Trump are describing November’s election now that the match appears set.

    Back in March,...

  • Hillary Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine as a running mate is an affront to the youthful, vibrant, leftward challenge she faced in the Democratic primary from Bernie Sanders. To those who supported Sanders, as I did, it's a bummer, and it shows something of Clinton's true colors. Yet on one of the issues Kaine is currently being pilloried for, he may come as a blessing in disguise, especially in light of his background in Catholic social teaching.

    The matter in question is the big, bad...

  • With news Friday that Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine as her Democratic running mate, the U.S. Senator from Virginia finds him, and his faith, back in the national spotlight. Like many other Democratic politicians who are Catholic, Kaine struggles with the challenge of living out his personal faith in a party that doesn’t always share his church’s views on complicated issues.

    As a young attorney in Virginia, Tim Kaine offered his legal services free of charge...

  • In one of the Republican presidential primary debates the American people were subjected to this past year, Marco Rubio remarked that Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders would make a “good candidate for president— of Sweden .” This was not a compliment. (Also: Sweden doesn’t have a president.) Rubio could safely assume that Republican primary voters more or less agreed that becoming more like Sweden was precisely not what the United States should be doing.

    George Lakey disagrees. Lakey...

  • “Mommy. I have a question. I’m not sure if you can answer it. Why are people being killed?” This is from my beloved Kiddo (not her real name).

    This is the question set before me in the car, by a kid not long out of a booster seat. Kiddo is being raised in Oakland, Calif., by Catholic parents working to keep her in a Catholic school that she loves. St. Leo the Great has a student population (pre-K to 8th grade) that is...

  • In a recent liturgical conference in London, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, argued that priests should consider turning toward the East for the celebration of the eucharistic portion of the Mass.

    Turning toward the East, or ad orientem , is technical liturgical language for the priest and people facing in the same direction. The suggestion is nothing new. The decision to allow Mass facing the...

  • As the evening wore on at Monday’s opening of the Republican National Convention, I worked on other problems and projects until I turned to my TV in the midst of ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s screaming and arm waving. His voice became more hysterical as he tore into President Obama and Hillary Clinton, the assigned targets of the evening.

    I had never heard Melania Trump speak and I saw her dignified presence as a relief. My guess was that, besides revealing...

  • Catholic News Service has a new leader, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday.

    Greg Erlandson, former president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, has been appointed director and editor-in-chief, a post he begins on Sept. 12.

    “CNS is one of the gifts of the U.S. church to the rest of the Catholic world,” he said in an email to Catholic News Service. “It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of so many great directors of the news service, and I am...

  • Father Kevin O'Brien, S.J. (photo provided)

    Kevin O’Brien, S.J., is an American Jesuit author, attorney and academic who is the outgoing vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. On Aug. 1, he begins his new job as dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, Calif. —a major seminary for Jesuit priesthood candidates and lay students that is the only school west of Chicago...

  • This week, over 1,600 young people from 50 different countries are gathering in Lodz, Poland, for MAGIS 2016. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius and the Jesuits, participants will engage in prayer, fellowship and service ahead of World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland, which kicks off on July 25.

    “You meet someone from North America, then South America, then Australia, and it's like going all around the world,” said Monica Gorpan, who came from Egypt. “So I hope, I really hope,...

  • When the white understudy first says “nigger” in rehearsal, the whole place becomes tense. You can feel it. Not just because of that word but because the actor using it is 10 years old, looks even younger, has wide blue eyes and wears a modified bowl haircut. This child is scripted to say that word.

    It is June 30 in the Lakeview School gym in Greensboro, Vt. We are gathered for the first read-through of a stage version of To Kill A Mockingbird and there is young...

  • Walter V. "Robby" Robinson, Boston Globe editor at large (photo provided)

    Walter V. “Robby” Robinson is editor-at-large of the Boston Globe . Raised Catholic, Mr. Robinson attended Boston College High School and Northeastern University. In 2001-02, he led the...

  • Cambridge, MA.—Religion is much in the news these days, with the bad and the tragic gaining most of the attention. Much more is happening that is good and constructive and hopeful, even if rarely capturing the headlines, as most people of most religions do live together in harmony and mutual support, living out their faith in our complicated world.

    One of the important conversations that does not capture much attention these days is that between Hindus and Catholics here in the...

  • Seven years in the making, Britain’s Chilcot report on the United Kingdom’s participation in the 2003 Iraq war does not offer any big surprises, but it still makes for absorbing reading. The inquiry confirms, authoritatively, what most people long suspected—that there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein, that the war took place before efforts at peaceful diplomacy had been exhausted, that the evidence of weapons of mass destruction was exaggerated to make a case for war,...

  • One of the most delightful surprises of a brief trip to Rome earlier this year was visiting with a number of Vatican correspondents and hearing a group of diverse, hard-driving and ultra-professional journalists more or less melt when I mentioned one person’s name.

    “Oh, I love Father Lombardi!” “You’re seeing Father Lombardi? Please tell him I said hello!” “You’re staying in the same community with Father Lombardi? Don’t you love him?”

    It is not hard to...

  • People take part in a prayer vigil at Thanksgiving Square, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas.. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    At Mass most days, and especially on Sundays, the readings are what they are and no changes are made. Find your place in the lectionary and there you are. Yet often enough, through some kind of providence, the readings meet us where we are and call us to where we need to be.

    Today, they find us on the road to Jericho , where a man was waylaid by robbers, avoided by the good religious people and rescued by a despised...

  • the Good Samaritan

    While in principle we believe that the Gospels shed light on every situation in which we find ourselves, and give guidance on how to act, it would be easy enough to think that nothing in particular would (by chance, by providence) arise from what just happen to be the readings for today, the 15 th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is so even when we hear the words of the scholar of the law in Luke 10, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all...

  • A chalk tribute to Philando Castile marks a sidewalk across the street from the governor's residence as demonstrators gather outside the governor's residence Friday, July 8, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn., where protests continue over the shooting death by police of Castile after a traffic stop Wednesday, July 6, in Falcon Heights. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

    Editor’s note: Paddy Gilger, S.J., America ’s contributing editor for culture and Matt Spotts, S.J., a contributor at The Jesuit Post , found themselves asking what good writing and thinking—on the web, on social media, or anywhere else—does in the wake of the kind of violence experienced in Dallas, in Baton Rouge and in Minnesota over the last few days. They adapted their conversation into this post.

    What good are...

  • The gravestone of Father John LaFarge, a Jesuit priest, longtime associate editor of America, and tireless advocate for racial justice. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Ahern)

    I’m sure that every person of good will is, like me, grieved, frustrated and even overwhelmed by the increasing spiral of violence in the United States. We mourn the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five police officers killed last night in Dallas (whose names I do not yet know).

    It is difficult to know what to say in situations like this, other than it is abundantly clear that racial tensions contributed to all of these senseless deaths.

    What can we do?...

  • In the late afternoon on Independence Day, this July 4th, I went for a walk near a campsite where I was staying with three generations of family in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley. In an open sage-brush plain, with 14,000-foot peaks on all sides of me, I stepped off the dirt road and over a fence into a state wildlife refuge. It’s essentially a playground for hunters, and though it may have been closed to humans for the season, that was clear at the time neither to me nor to the campground...

  • Archbishop Blase Cupich’s star burned a bit brighter Thursday morning with news that Pope Francis tapped the Chicago prelate for a post on the powerful Congregation for Bishops, where the 67 year old will help shape the global episcopate and lend a hand in appointing at least two dozen U.S. bishops in coming years.

    The news is decidedly “inside baseball,” but it could nonetheless have a profound impact on the types of men chosen to lead the church in the United States and,...

  • As a flourishing media ministry, we look to the next generation for renewed energy and new perspectives. If you become an America Associate , you are supporting a number of initiatives to enhance our readership and content and reach a younger audience and the next generation. Here are a few of those initiatives:

    The Joseph O’Hare, S.J., Postgraduate Writing Fellowship was created to...
  • Yaa Gyasi, a Ghanaian writer, is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Homegoing . The book tells the story of two half sisters, Effia and Esi, each born in 18th-century Ghana, among slavery and warfare. In the novel, Ms. Gyasi presents her readers with two distinct storylines. We follow Effia and her descendants as they remain in Ghana and learn to navigate the conflict in their homeland; and we see as Esi and her children migrate to the United States.

    At a...

  • Among the more poignant tributes that have appeared since the death of Elie Wiesel on July 2, 2016, is Eva Fleischner’s open letter to Wiesel published in America in 1988 and now posted on its website . The Austrian-born Fleischner, a Holocaust scholar and pioneer of relations between Catholics and Jews, reflected on Wiesel’s relationship with the eminent French Catholic writer François Mauriac, who had written the preface to...

  • Bishop-Elect David Konderla prays at Holy Family Cathedral during his first stop in Tulsa (Photo credit: Dave Crenshaw - Eastern Oklahoma Catholic)

    Bishop David Konderla is the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa in Oklahoma . From August 2005 until Pope Francis appointed him bishop on May 13, 2016 , he served as the pastor and director of campus ministry at St. Mary's Catholic...

  • My first encounter with Elie Wiesel came with reading Gates of the Forest , for Wiesel, an almost hopeful and, therefore, unrepresentative novel in his mournful body of work. In the preface he tells the story of the revered Hasidic Rabbi Baal Shem Tov.

    The story goes, “When the great Rabbi Israel Baal Shem-Tov saw misfortune threatening the Jews, it was his custom to go into a certain part of the forest to meditate. There he would light a fire, say a special...

  • For many people, summer begins in different ways. For a lot of us, summer began when the last school bell rang, tolling for the freedom of the sun/fun starved students who were finally going to be let out for their seasonal parole. For others, summer began when the calendar said it was so; the knowledge gave refreshment and consolation to those who had borne the dreariness of winter and the oftentimes endured the disappointments of the wimpy spring. However, for me, summer—for as I can long...

  • The conscience of our world has died.

    Elie Wiesel was 87 and his life was marked by the evil he was a personal witness to:

    The Holocaust.

    He was a teenager when that happened.

    At a time of life when one should be preoccupied by school and friends and dreams, the young Wiesel came face to face with the incomprehensible.

    His family was eradicated, along with countless others.

    As a result, he became an eternal witness to that dark Night .

    ...

  • Probably not, but it may well prevent sick people in the global South from receiving treatment.

    My colleagues in the labor movement have criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership largely because some of the nations in this proposed new common market limit, repress or prohibit independent trade unions. It’s unjust that Vietnam forbids workers to form labor unions outside...