The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

  • One had to wonder, what wasn’t there to like? For half a century, because it had gained its capital in Rome by seizing the Papal States, the Catholic Church had refused to recognize the new state of Italy. In official church teaching, one couldn’t be a good Catholic and a good Italian. Popes, who occupied the Chair of Peter, had lived as virtual prisoners of the Vatican. Once elected, they never left its walls, didn’t even appear at its windows. And so, to church leaders, Benito Mussolini,...

  • This is the first entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. This will be a challenging commentary to take on in an online format because there are numerous technical issues associated with the text of the Acts of the Apostles which are not at the heart of this online commentary project and its goals, but which must be considered or at least noted for those who are interested in further and deeper study.

  • We see life’s most important scenes more fully through the lenses of time and memory. Sometimes there’s a surfeit in the original spectacle, too many rich details to absorb. With the distance of years, they come into focus, and we recognize their import.

  • One would think that being a cloistered Carmelite nun, vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience, and living a life of prayer and silence would be enough, but Thérèse of Lisieux was genuinely uneasy one day in prayer. She began to flip through her Bible. In the late 19th century, that wasn’t a typical expression of piety, even for a religious. This was long before the Second Vatican Council urged individuals to read Scripture. What was she looking for?

  • New York City, a suite on the 22nd floor of West 66th Street, ABC’s corporate headquarters. Network President Ben Sherwood is berating a table of execs from creative. “People, let me paint the picture. The CW’s Arrow is so successful they’re spinning off The Flash. Fox already has a headless horseman on Sleepy Hollow and is launching Gotham, a Batman prequel with a suddenly sexy Commissioner Gordon. TNT is getting reading to do Titans,...

  • In the Light of What We Know is both a well-worn phrase and the title of an intellectually intriguing debut novel. A story of international politics and finance, it’s by a British author of Bangladeshi origin, Zia Haider Rahman (2014). One day, on the narrator’s doorstep, a...

  • About one third of the world’s population is Christian. Each year, more than 25 million people are baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And each year, about 100,000 Christians are martyred, coming to share fully in the death of Christ.

  • There was an article in Salon.com on September 1, 2014 titled 5 Reasons to Suspect that Jesus never Existed. This is problematic, if true, for scholars of the historical Jesus, but more problematic for the millions upon millions of people who believe in Jesus not just as a human being but also as a divine being.

  • In the first entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on Galatians, I discussed introductory matters concerning the founding of the churches to the Galatians, the situation when Paul wrote to them, when the letter might have been written and the type of letters which Paul wrote, based on the common Greco-Roman letters of his day.

  • Most famous people have a least one or two lines they should hope that history forgets. For the evangelist Frank Buchman, one of those has to be, “I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler.” It’s not that the evangelist, who had done such effective work with the YMCA, thought that Hitler was a good man. He didn’t, but Buchman did admire the Fascist style of leadership. He thought that, if only Hitler would embrace Jesus Christ as his personal savior, all might be well.