The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

May 2015

  • May 28 2015 - 4:07pm

    Are we an “awe-deprived” society? Does such deprivation come at the cost of altruism? Psychologists studying awe voice their concern and describe their research in a recent article in the New York Times. Awe is defined as “that often-positive feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world.” Awe spontaneously arises from collective...

  • May 28 2015 - 3:50pm

    The next time you are about to throw out that half-eaten container of fast-food take-out, consider these facts: about one-third of the world’s food production and consumption  systems either gets lost or wasted—that comes to about 1.3 billion tons, the value of which comes to the astronomical sum of $1 trillion. And this in a world where one in every nine people go hungry: an estimated 900 million people.

  • May 28 2015 - 10:57am

    Pope Francis seems to describe his life in the Vatican almost as if he were in prison—at least as far as his freedom of movement goes. But that is not the first thing he cites when he talks about what he and prisoners have in common.

    When visiting a prison, he said, "I think to myself, 'I, too, could be here.' That is, none of us can be sure that we would never commit a crime, something for which we'd be put in prison."

  • May 27 2015 - 11:05am
    Gregory Popcak (Image)

    Gregory Popcak is an American Catholic author, psychotherapist and teacher. The director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an internationally-recognized, Catholic counseling practice,  he is also an adjunct professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville...

  • May 25 2015 - 7:50pm

    The closing day of the four-day conference at Georgetown University celebrating the close of the Second Vatican Council was devoted to the council’s opening to other faiths, especially Judaism and Islam. It was also a day for tough questions and cautionary observations from interfaith interlocutors.

  • May 25 2015 - 7:46pm

    Cardinal Walter Kasper offered the highlight speech of this Memorial Day weekend’s Georgetown University/Marymount University conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke Saturday morning at Washington’s National Cathedral, the event’s third sponsor and chief ecumenical partner. 

  • May 24 2015 - 3:37pm

    The day after a city and a country celebrated the beatification of Oscar Romero, the city of San Salvador is quickly returning to normal, though here and some posters advertising the beatification ceremony have escaped the memorabilia-seekers--and the water-bags with Romero's likeness stamped on them are still everywhere, missing their precious cargo.

  • May 24 2015 - 11:10am

    He had wanted to be a veterinarian, but at the time one couldn’t study veterinary science in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, his affection and love for the animal world, especially cats, never faded, as is evidenced by the subject matter of so much of his near-professional quality photography. 

  • May 23 2015 - 2:29pm

    The full text of Pope Francis' message to the Archbishop of San Salvador, read at mass today: His Excellency José Luis Escobar Alas Archbishop of San Salvador President of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador Dear Brother:

    The beatification of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez, who was Pastor of that dear Archdiocese is a cause for great joy for the Salvadoran people and for those who rejoice by the example of the best children of the Church. Archbishop Romero, who built...

  • May 23 2015 - 1:46pm

    When Blessed Oscar Romero's relic (the shirt he was wearing under his vestments when he was murdered) was carried into the Beatification Mass this morning, I ran back to the press tent to watch the procession on screen (and to wait for my own video to upload). It would have been a moving experience anyway, even watching on screen--to see the hands reaching out to touch the tabernacle holding his bloodied shirt, to see the obvious devotion. But in the press tent there was something else:

  • May 23 2015 - 9:50am

    With three hours still to go until the mass of celebration for the beatification of Oscar Romero, the Plaza El Salvador del Mundo and the surrounding streets are filled with people, some of whom slept in the street overnight through the downpours and the lightning. The mood is celebratory but the guns are everywhere--both hidden and in plain sight. We were not one hundred yards into our 5am trek to the Plaza from our hotel a mile away before we ran into our first soldier, armed to the...

  • May 23 2015 - 1:45am

    While the beatification ceremony for Oscar Romero will be held on Saturday in Plaza El Salvador del Mundo in San Salvador, many pilgrims are also visiting La Capilla del Hospital Divina Providencia, the small church where Romero was assassinated while celebrating mass on March 24, 1980. Some of Romero's bloodstained vestments can still be seen in a nearby museum.

  • May 22 2015 - 6:12pm

    Marquette University released a statement on May 19 mourning the sudden death of Rev. Lúcás (Yiu Sing Luke) Chan, S.J., assistant professor of Theology. Father Chan died on Tuesday, May 19, at the age of 46. 

    A visitation will be held Thursday, May 28, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Church of the Gesu. The funeral Mass will begin at 4 p.m. with a reception to immediately follow in Eckstein Hall.

  • May 22 2015 - 2:54pm

    Two years ago I was in El Salvador and asked a fellow Jesuit priest if he thought that Archbishop Oscar Romero—famously slain while celebrating Mass in 1980—would ever be beatified. The Salvadoran Jesuit’s answer: only when all of the people who loved Romero and all of the people who hated him were dead.

    Fortunately, that prediction turned out to be grossly off the mark, as Pope Francis will beatify Oscar Romero on Saturday (May 23), putting him one step shy of formal sainthood.

  • May 22 2015 - 2:40pm

    Among the many fascinating relics to be seen in the small museum dedicated to Oscar Romero at the site of his assassination on March 23, 1980 are several small shelves of books in his rooms at the time. Most are the books of a churchman; collections of homilies, the liturgy of the hours, a Roman Missal, a Jerome Biblical Commentary.

    Others are lives of the saints, or collections of church documents, or reports of various meetings. Others are intriguing glimpses into his interests (or...

  • May 22 2015 - 2:11pm

    Nebraska is showing the most visible signs of a change in thinking by Christians and conservatives on the death penalty, and Catholics are helping to lead the way. For many, the catalyst has been a simple question: “If I value life, how can I support taking a life when the death penalty doesn’t make us any safer?”

    In response, more are embracing a consistent life ethic.

  • May 22 2015 - 9:22am

    French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran opened a four-day conference at Georgetown University Thursday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican II quoting the late French President Charles de Gaulle. Reflecting on the significance of the council, the cardinal recounted, the general told the apostolic nuncio to Paris, the council was “the most important event of the century, because you can’t change the prayer of...

  • May 22 2015 - 12:20am

    An early arrival for this weekend's beatification ceremony for Oscar Romero in San Salvador has offered myself and a number of other eager pilgrims a chance to see the city before it is overwhelmed by a crowd now projected to be in the hundreds of thousands on Saturday morning. Everywhere there are reminders of Romero already, of course, and not just from the posters hanging willy-nilly, or the paintings and mosaics, or even the huge depiction of the slain archbishop at the airport that...

  • May 21 2015 - 1:43pm

    NEW YORK, NY – The boards of trustees of America Media and of the Saint Thomas More Chapel and Center at Yale University are pleased to announce that Philip J. Metres III has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the George W. Hunt, S.J. Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters.

  • May 21 2015 - 9:02am

    Washington, D.C. Ecumenical officers, bishops, scholars, students and interested parties from the Jewish, Muslim and Catholic communities have been meeting at the Catholic University of America to honor the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, Vatican II’s epochal document on interreligious dialogue. From time to time, a speaker has risen above reviewing the history of the respective dialogues or spelling out the current agenda between the faiths, to ask about dialogue...

  • May 20 2015 - 9:25am

    Folks interested in some different perspectives on Romero's life, death, impact, and "meaning for the rest of us" might profit from the following articles and essays.

  • May 20 2015 - 8:18am
    Rosario Rodriguez (photo provided)

    Rosario Rodriguez is a Los Angeles-based Catholic speaker and survivor of two violent crimes who has spent most of her life working in the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK. Her work has included inner-city youth, campus ministry, pro-life work, CCD/RCIA, and outreach to...

  • May 18 2015 - 8:08pm
    1 comment

    These past few days I have had to resist the temptation to pack too early for my trip to San Salvador for the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero this weekend (I will be posting updates here from Thursday through Monday).

  • May 18 2015 - 11:48am
    Man holds sign reading 'Death penalty is murder' outside trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber.

    My first reaction to the Friday morning headlines that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been condemned to death by the Boston jury for his role in bombing the Boston Marathon was anger — an emotion I more or less put on hold many years ago and which very rarely surfaces. The second was sadness.

  • May 18 2015 - 10:15am

    Does Don Draper find spiritual enlightenment in the series finale of “Mad Men”?

    Does he realize, thanks to listening to another person's experiences, that he has been loved all along?

    Does he recognize, through his tears for Betty, that he has been able to love?

    Does his desperate phone call to Peggy remind him that someone cares about him?

    Or does his last, faint, enigmatic smile on the beach mean that he has just come up with the 1970s Coke ad that concluded the...

  • May 17 2015 - 8:41am

    Cambridge, MA. This is an in-between time in the academic calendar. Classes have ended, but exams are being written and papers finished, and the final push on grading is still to come. Professors like me are not on summer holiday, to be sure, but neither are we as busy as we were during the hectic weeks of the semester; and we know that we will be very busy again before the students graduate and summer truly begins. Some of our students have had a wonderful year; a few have suffered too much...

  • May 15 2015 - 7:16am

    DETERMINED TO PURSUE CO-DETERMINATION: In an update on a storyline central to Thomas Geoghegan’s recent book Only One Thing Can Save Us (see America review here), the United Auto Workers union has presented a draft proposal for a German-style works council for Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant...

  • May 14 2015 - 2:05pm

    On Sunday Pope Francis will elevate to the rank of saint two religious women who lived and died in the Holy Land, Miriam Bawardy, a Carmelite nun, and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, a co-founder of Jerusalem’s Rosary Sisters. An apostolic congregation, the Rosary Sisters now minister throughout the Middle East.

  • May 13 2015 - 8:45am
    Leah Darrow (photo provided)

    Leah Darrow is an American Catholic speaker, author, and former professional model based in Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two children. Before her reality television debut on America’s Next Top Model in 2004, and her career as a model, she earned a bachelor’...

  • May 12 2015 - 3:04pm
    1 comment

    One of the more demanding and absorbing conversations I have been part of was a recent discussion of polarization in the American Catholic Church. Held at the University of Notre Dame, our gathering included sociologists, ethicists, theologians, bishops, students and others.

  • May 9 2015 - 8:40pm

    We have many teachers in our lives, and I remember my first one very well. She has always been very special to me and encouraged me in every way. As she taught, she did so with great patience and fortitude and with an equally great and fervent faith, not only in her charge—me—but also in God. And while she might have only had a National School certificate from a small country village in the west of Ireland, the lessons she taught loomed large—and still does.

  • May 8 2015 - 5:50pm

    Retired baseball commissioner Fay Vincent has had his own experiences with tough disciplinary calls, but on his two most famous cases—those of Cincinnati Red Pete Rose and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner—wrongdoing was never in doubt. “It was just a question of the punishment,” he says.

    He worries the case, such as it is so far, being made against Superbowl Champion Tom Brady makes a far messier proposition for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

  • May 8 2015 - 5:07pm

    In an op-ed defending PEN American Center’s choice to give the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo an award for courage in free expression, the president and executive director of PEN praise “Charlie Hebdo’s bravery in defending the right to be disrespectful.” 

  • May 8 2015 - 4:19pm

    The chapel of Divine Providence Hospital in El Salvador is one of the most visited places by local and foreign pilgrims. They come wishing to learn more about Archbishop Oscar Romero, the controversial archbishop who has become a Salvadoran icon.

  • May 8 2015 - 2:49pm

    It used to be that just saying the words “liberation theology” around Catholics was enough to start a schism-level fight, or at least raise a red flag in Rome.

    The theological movement that focused on the poor emerged out of the church’s social justice ferment in the 1960s, but it was always viewed by conservatives as an irredeemably Marxist version of the gospel.

    Worse, they said it was a tool of Soviet communists who were using the Roman Catholic Church to foment revolution...

  • May 7 2015 - 3:13pm

    Business magazines seldom decry the mistreatment of workers, but even Fortune Magazine was agog when a Workers’ Memorial Day report from the AFL-CIO showed that employers responsible for a fatal accident paid a median penalty of only $5,050.  It’s a pretty shocking number, for sure, but you can easily check out what kind of fines firms are paying...

  • May 7 2015 - 2:51pm

    That Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical on the environment will be an important event for both the church and global civil society is abundantly clear in the very public jostling to disarm and discredit it before its release.

  • May 7 2015 - 1:57pm

    As this is being written, the general election of 2015 will have been concluded in Britain; the voters will have cast their votes and a long night will await those who have campaigned incessantly in the five-week period leading up to this day.

  • May 6 2015 - 9:50am
    Judy McDonald with her service dog Daisy (NICK ABADILLA PHOTOGRAPHY: courtesy USD Magazine)

    Judy McDonald is an American Catholic stand-up comedienne based in San Diego, Calif. Since 1994 she has performed her faith-based stand-up routine in TV shows, military bases, conferences, comedy clubs and parishes.

  • May 5 2015 - 3:03pm

    In the fifth installment of "The Living Word" lecture series, University of Notre Dame scholar and author Msgr. John P. Meier will present "Unfashionable Views on the Parables of Jesus."

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:30pm

    America Bible Society

    1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

    Reception to follow.

    The event is free and open to the public. Please respond by May 15 to Margaret Sarci:...

  • May 5 2015 - 9:42am

    I’ve had troubles with work for a long time. In the 1960s my struggles to get into graduate school as a wife and mother alerted me to feminist discrimination in the system. Today women still face difficulties in the workplace but other problems also plague our work world. I see my grown children and their peers battling to get a foothold in careers with a future. Middle-aged friends are hit with sudden unemployment when they are downsized by companies that merge, close down or move away.

  • May 4 2015 - 1:09pm

    On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that will decide whether the U.S. constitution requires states to license marriages between two people of the same sex and/or requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state. To answer these questions, the court must first come to a consensus on the...

  • May 1 2015 - 7:21pm
    1 comment

    “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

    James Baldwin first said these words over 60 years ago; and these words were on my mind as I once again marched along with my fellow New Yorkers on Wednesday night. This time, we marched in honor of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American killed while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Baldwin’s call for national reflection...

  • May 1 2015 - 10:47am

    On April 29, New York City government officials, community organizers and allies against sexual violence gathered on the steps of City Hall for the 17th annual Denim Day. The event sounds like the name of a Levis jeans cyber-sale, but the actual background may startle you—or at least, I hope it does.