The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

April 2016

  • Since 2003 the International Labor Organization has marked April 28 as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, but in the United States it has been marked for decades as Workers’ Memorial Day. It is the day when we remember the thousands of workers who die on the job every year in traumatic workplace accidents—almost all of them preventable. Most go largely unnoticed, but in recent months we have seen the conclusion of a spectacular saga from the world of West Virginia coal mines....

  • Heather King (photo provided)

    Heather King is a Catholic writer and ex-lawyer based in Los Angeles. Raised on the coast of New Hampshire, she struggled with alcoholism before getting sober in 1987. In 1996,...

  • On Dec. 24, 1968—Christmas Eve—the three astronauts of Apollo 8 were circling the moon, a practice run for the eventual lunar landing that had been President John F. Kennedy’s goal for the nation. It would happen within the next seven months, in July of 1969. But in this space flight of Apollo 8, the act of actually getting close to the moon’s surface was a momentous achievement in and of itself. It proved that all the work, sacrifice and dedication were coming close to a fruition.

    ...

  • The kerfuffle in France over Western fashion designers producing Islamic clothing for women is one of the great non-issues of our time. But the kerfuffle itself is telling. It’s another sign of the stigma Islam carries today and the prejudice against it, couched, often, in the language of liberalism and, in France, laïcité .

    A number of Western designers have started offering Islamic or “modest” fashions—loose, full-length-robes, or abayas , and long skirts—not just in Middle Eastern...

  • Father Dwight Longenecker (photo provided)

    Father Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest, husband and father of four who serves as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, S.C . Raised as an evangelical Christian in Pennsylvania, Father Longenecker converted to Anglicanism while...

  • The following is part of a reflection delivered at a memorial vespers service that Oblate School of Theology organized on March 30 to commemorate Fr. Virgilio Elizondo. Fr. Virgilio, one of the founding fathers of U.S. Hispanic theology, died on March 14. This reflection has been lightly edited for style.

    The day after Father Virgilio Elizondo died, a close friend wrote to me saying that he was the spark that brought us together. As we can see tonight, that rings true. We are Fr....

  • One might think this election season couldn’t get any wierder. But now people are getting arrested by the hundreds in Washington, D.C., as they attempt to stem the flow of campaign money into the political system. It began earlier this month with “ Democracy Spring ,” culminating with this “ Democracy Awakening ,” which concludes today. So far, over...

  • I am sure that we all were edified and grateful, and perhaps a bit awed, by Pope Francis’ visit today to the refugee campus on the island of Lesbos. He went there to be be with people in a desperate plight, to assure them that they are not forgotten.

    That he met there the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos,...

  • Rome—In modern times, the “life for life, eye for eye” rule is seen by many as archaic, outdated and even barbaric. Yet with its recent controversial accord with Turkey, the European Union has imposed a “one-for-one” deal that applies the rule quite literally. As Pope Francis visits the Greek island of Lesbos to directly confront the refugee emergency there, let us hope his presence is not only a symbol of hope for refugees but also an opportunity to convince governments to fulfill those...

  • Pope Francis is pictured with Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, left, and Father Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, during a break at a meeting with the superiors of men's religious orders at the Vatica n Nov. 29. During the meeting, the pope ordered the revision of norms on the relations between religious orders and local bishops. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) (Jan. 3, 2014)

    Antonio Spadaro, S.J., is an Italian Jesuit priest close to Pope Francis who serves as editor of...

  • On April 12, 1945, and old man sat at a corner table that served as his desk and was reviewing papers and dispatches that needed his attention. He was only 63 years old, and by modern standards, wasn’t really considered “old.” But “old” he was—years of ill health and the rigors of his job took its toll on him and made him appear, and no doubt feel, much older than he was. His physical appearance belied his protestations of vigor: he had a grayish pallor about him and his eyes seemed to be...

  • The lay Episcopal theologian William Stringfellow once described his intention, in contrast to many religious thinkers he saw around him, as “not to construe the Bible Americanly,” but “to understand America biblically.” Not easy. From the pulpits of our churches to the recesses of our consciences, surely all of us have somehow experienced the ease with which the Gospel can come to operate as an flimsy disguise for the Republican or Democratic party platforms. In the quest for partisan proof...

  • Cambridge, MA—Like many of you, I have not had time yet to digest " Amoris Laetitia ," Pope Francis’ loving and open apostolic exhortation on the family, in response to the Synod on the Family. Like many commentators, and like you who are reading this, I am grateful for his charitable and sensitive tone. I admire his ability to thread the needle, so...

  • Dr. Marvin Olasky (photo provided)

    Marvin Olasky is an American Presbyterian academic, author and former informal advisor to George W. Bush who serves as editor-in-chief of World Magazine, a news biweekly based in North Carolina with 400,000 readers, most of whom are conservative evangelicals. A former atheist who left the Communist Party U.S.A. in 1973 and became a Christian in 1976, Dr. Olasky holds a Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in American...

  • Of all the exciting jobs and accomplishments that stand out in John Breslin’s career in the Jesuit Apostolate—including teaching English at Regis High School, studies at Yale, directing Georgetown University Press, teaching at Trinity college in Dublin, Fordham University and Marquette University, rector of LeMoyne Jesuit Community—I have admired most his five years as book editor at America , followed by his role as editor of Catholic books at Doubleday Publishing.

    Yesterday I...

  • Can a free enterprise economy in the world’s most prosperous nation guarantee a living wage job to every full-time worker? California is embarking on a grand experiment to find out. The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour—less than $15,000 per year for a full-time worker. But states are permitted to legislate higher ones, and most (29 at last count) have done so. Now California Governor (and erstwhile Jesuit novice)...

  • “This is a time for us as a church to be together, regardless of what language we speak,” the presiding priest told the Palm Sunday English Mass-goers at St. Joseph’s in Beijing. I sensed he was gently prodding us to possibly branch out of our comfort zones and attend the liturgies that would be said throughout Holy Week in Chinese.

    I doubt many put Beijing at the top of their list for sexiest pilgrimages. The first time I was in Beijing for Holy Week I found it...

  • Frank Brennan, SJ speaking at St. Ignatius Church, Melbourne, March 14, 2016

    As a lawyer, professor and human rights activist, Frank Brennan, S.J., occupies a unique position in Australian civil and religious society. He is well known throughout the country, both inside and outside the church, for his decades-long work as an advocate in the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation with Aboriginal Australians.

    For services to Aboriginals, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia and the National Trust has classified him as a Living National...

  • Be safe. When I told friends and family I would be studying abroad in Rwanda, they almost always came back with those two words of concern and encouragement. And I understand why.

    Roughly the size of Maryland, Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose past is intimately tied up with violence. In 1994, the genocide against the Tutsi people occurred while most of the international community watched in silence. Today, when most people hear “Rwanda,” their...