The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

May 2016

  • NEW YORK, N.Y. – The boards of trustees of America Media and the Saint Thomas More Chapel and Center at Yale University are pleased to announce that Elizabeth Dias of Time magazine is the 2016 recipient of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters.

    Ms. Dias is a religion and politics correspondent for Time magazine. An acclaimed journalist, whose work includes cover stories for Time, Ms. Dias has been honored by the American Academy of Religion...

  • Cambridge, Mass.—This week is graduation week at Harvard, with the actual Commencement Ceremony today May 26. But on each lead-up day there have been small ceremonies for various alumni/ae classes, pre-graduation gatherings for individual programs, and other events too; the campus is alive and festive. Yesterday, we at the Divinity School held our commencement interfaith service, which features readings from sacred scriptures, poetry and song, from all the religious traditions represented in...

  • Dr. Karl van Bibber (UC Berkeley)

    Dr. Karl van Bibber is professor and chairman of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. A nuclear physicist specializing in particle astrophysics and cosmology among other areas, he holds a Ph.D. in physics and a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds numerous professional honors, memberships and fellowships in the scientific community, has been...

  • When the attached Peanuts cartoon first appeared in 1971, I was not yet born, but Bob Dylan, he of “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” was already aging out of the only population his generation was supposed to have any faith in. Remember "Don't trust anyone over 30"? (Actually, Jack Weinberg, the author of that famous quote, had turned 30 a year before). I suspect Charlie Brown’s melancholy might have been far worse had he realized that Bob Dylan would outlive him by 16...

  • While I was studying abroad, my mom and dad, Mary Jean and Bob, were able to meet my mom and dad, Maria and Bosco. That is, my biological mom and dad were able to meet my host mom and dad. During the week they visited me in Rwanda, my parents were treated to a very sincere and genuine hospitality, which included a visit to Maria and Bosco’s new house in the town of Nyamata.

    Nyamata is in southeastern Rwanda, about 40 kilometers from Kigali, where I was staying. We visited...

  • This Tuesday, May 24, America Media, in partnership with Imitatio and...

  • The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, one of the largest and most diverse dioceses in the U.S., is defending immigrants in a powerful essay that—without mentioning names—seems to take direct aim at Donald Trump and his supporters by ripping the “racist and xenophobic tendencies” in society and arguing that immigration in fact helps the economy.

    “Those who are in favor of mass deportation seem not to have an understanding of what this might mean for our reputation, and the lives of...

  • When I was a child, as I vaguely remember, there was some official Vatican publication known as “The Pope Speaks.” When I look back, I recall it to be entirely sober and cautious, written by speech-writers, vetted by the curia, printed in the pope’s name. Pope Francis is different, of course, and his interviews ever promise something new and unexpected. His latest, the interview with the French Catholic magazine, La Croix, with Guillaume Goubet and Sébastien Maillard, is no exception. It is...

  • Morley Safer was a witness to much of what happened in this world, and, because of his career in journalism, he was given opportunities to understand the nuances and complexities of it. And because he possessed such knowledge, he was gifted with the ability to see things and express what he saw in his usually inimitable way, using the tools of wry understatement and appreciable irony.

    He died of pneumonia at the age of 84 on May 19—barely five days after his official retirement from...

  • What do institutions that benefited from the sale and exploitation black bodies owe the descendants of slaves? How should individuals tainted by their complicity in the United States' "peculiar institution" be remembered or memorialized?

    These are questions all Americans must grapple with; but today at Georgetown University they are no longer simply being considered in the abstract.

    The Georgetown Memory...

  • This Friday, May 20, Editor in Chief Matt Malone, S.J., speaks to the Loyola Club of Cleveland about how America Media is working to deliver a "smart Catholic take on faith and culture." Tune in to the livestream right here at 12:15 p.m. ET:

  • Dr. Stephen Mirarchi (photo provided)

    Stephen Mirarchi is a Catholic layman, husband and father serving as assistant professor of English at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan . Specializing in the intersection of theology and literature, he holds a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Brandeis University, and he did additional work in theology at Kenrick School of Theology in St. Louis and Creighton University in Omaha....

  • America Media is proud to announce the inaugural fellows for the recently established Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Postgraduate Writing Fellowship . The three fellows will spend the year working at America ’s offices in midtown Manhattan, starting in August 2016 and completing the fellowship in June 2017.

    Wyatt Massey (Marquette University), Teresa Donnellan (Georgetown University) and Nicholas Genovese (Boston College), will focus their time on...

  • Cambridge, MA. (Written on Pentecost Sunday, after Mass and after pondering the sunlit trees shaking their bright leaves in the morning breeze.)

    If, on this feast of Pentecost, we delve into the technical language of Trinitarian theology—Trinitarian processions, Filioque, and the rest—we may find the terminology of the Trinity, and all the more, of the Holy Spirit, somewhat intimidating, perhaps very dry indeed. But because it is Pentecost, a day of inspiration and imagination, we do...

  • “We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA,” Pope Francis said on Pentecost Sunday after noting that many people in today’s world are living as “orphans.”

    He drew attention in his homily at Mass in St Peter’s basilica, May 14, to the various “signs of our being orphans” in today’s world. He mentioned five, but acknowledged there are others.

    We see it first of all, he said, “in the interior loneliness which we feel even when we are...

  • One of the most remarkable aspects of Daniel Berrigan’s last appearance among us—his funeral Mass at the beautiful Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City—was the sensed experience of community among everyone, from the 25 priests and one bishop (Thomas Gumbleton) concelebrating to those crammed into the pews and aisles all the way to the back door and the steps out. Friends I had not seen in many years suddenly appeared, and others had written me condolence letters, as if a member of...

  • Dale Ahlquist is a Minnesota-based Catholic lay apologist who serves as president of the American Chesterton Society and publisher of Gilbert Magazine. He holds a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.A. from Hamline University.

    A leading authority on the British Catholic writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) and his thought, Mr. Ahlquist has been author, contributor or editor on more than 15 books about this 20 th -century giant of...

  • We open in darkness with pleading groans of pain emanating from what we finally see is a bedroom behind a glass barrier, and then there is a thud. The suffering man has fallen out of bed. His wife and son appear, turn on a light and kneel by his side. The wife Sonia (played by Jana Raluy, a well-known stage and TV actress in her first film role) rests her cheek on his chest, and his tall, slender teenage son, Dario, leans down to kiss him. He is dying of cancer and she is determined to save...

  • After 70 days (or 10 very long weeks) of intense political jockeying and horse-trading, a new government has been formed in Ireland on Friday, May 6, after 4 previous—and obviously unsuccessful—attempts. For a time, it seemed that it would never come to pass, but thanks to the parties involved, it has—with the parliamentary vote of 59-49, the Irish Parliament (or Dáil Éireann) elected the caretaker Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, to the same office he has held for the last 5 years....

  • The PBS Masterpiece Mystery series “Grantchester” concluded on Sunday, May 1. “Grantchester” had several things going for it even beyond its attractive protagonist, Sidney Chambers, an Anglican priest who teams up with a local policeman to solve murders in the village for which the TV drama is named. Set in the 1950s, the program offers a nuanced view of the times and the recently ended war, a...

  • The nattily dressed man with the carefully combed gray hair and thick eyeglasses was engaged in an activity that often kept him grounded: letter writing. He was seated behind a high desk and he picked up his pen to begin another of his “Dear Mamma and Mary” letters to the women back home who meant the most to him, besides his wife and daughter: his mother and sister. The letter writing was as important to him and to his well-being as was his reading and his walking: it helped him keep things...

  • A mother and her young daughter waited on line ahead of me at the campground bathroom. I watched the mother as she watched her little girl with a proprietary eye, and I remembered watching my daughters in the same way when they were small. I saw her size up the men who were also waiting for a bathroom to open up, covertly examining them for any sign of creepiness or trouble. I don’t think they were aware of her invisible no-fly zone around her daughter, but I was. I had a sudden, visceral...

  • America Media, in partnership with Imitatio and REMUS , is proud to present a conference on the works of the late theologian René Girard . Presenters include the Rev. James Alison, a noted theologian and scholar, and...

  • Author Sean Salai, S.J., at a recent book talk (Pete Young/Jesuit High School of Tampa)

    In this excerpt from the beginning of his new book What Would Pope Francis Do? Bringing the Good News to People in Need, ...

  • This Friday, May 6, 2016, America Media will broadcast a video live stream of the funeral Mass of renowned peace activist and Jesuit priest, Daniel Berrigan, S.J. The liturgy begins at 10 a.m. ET, and will be broadcast from the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. Watch the stream right here.

  • A lot of us are sorting through our Daniel Berrigan memories this weekend. Many, surely, knew him or of him when he was young and stirring up heaps of trouble. I only knew him when he was old, so weak that the poetry of his sharp tounge remained mostly under his breath.

    There are a bunch of things—his way of saying Mass in ordinary, scandalous words, his gentle asking after whatever I was writing. I knew that when the day of his death came, I would regret not recording those...