The National Catholic Review

Culture

August 2016

  • August 18, 2016

    Good books, the story goes, started Ignatius on the path to sainthood. During his convalescence from battle wounds, he asked for tales of chivalry but instead received the lives of Christ and the saints. Reading them awakened him to the spiritual battle, and he emerged from his recovery as the man who would go on to change the course of the church and the world.

    As an English teacher, I would like to believe that there is an Ignatius...

  • August 18, 2016

    Few saints have so firmly captured the collective Christian imagination and had such enduring impact as Francis of Assisi. The current pope not only adopted the mystic and reformer’s name; he has also drawn theological and pastoral orientation from Francis’ love of creation and of evangelical poverty. The saint’s charism still animates numerous religious orders that bear his name. He is honored (if that is the word) in countless garden statues, to say nothing of the...

  • August 18, 2016

    Most people would think that the idea of a Catholic Enlightenment was a contradiction in terms. Was not the Enlightenment essentially anti-religious and specifically anti-Catholic? Did not the Catholic Church prove itself to be the bitterest enemy and strongest opponent of Enlightenment ideas and values in politics, philosophy and culture, culminating in denunciations of all that the Enlightenment stood for in documents like the “Syllabus of Errors” (1864)?...

  • August 16, 2016

    It all began with an eggbeater. When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1927 gave the young American artist Stuart Davis a stipend so that he could concentrate entirely on his art, he “nailed an electric fan, a rubber glove and an eggbeater to a table,” he later wrote, “and used them as my exclusive subject matter for a year.” The resultant four paintings hang mesmerizingly now on a single wall in a stirring exhibition of some 100 works by the artist, “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing,” at the...

  • August 4, 2016

    Parents should know where their children are not only physically but “existentially,” says Pope Francis in “The Joy of Love,” and he calls for a church that goes out to the “existential peripheries.” Whether he read the major figures of the movement chronicled by Sarah Bakewell or not, he was influenced by them as a young Jesuit in the mid-20th century.

    Bakewell read the existentialists in the 1980s, when they were already...

  • August 4, 2016

    In the final chapter of Joan Chittister: Her Journey From Certainty to Faith , Joan Chittister, O.S.B., advises religious communities to ponder the following questions about the future of religious life: “Is there energy of heart shining out of the eyes there? Is there a pounding commitment to a wild and unruly gospel there? Is the spiritual life aglow there? Is there risk there? Is there unflagging commitment, undying intensity, unequivocal determination to be what...

  • August 4, 2016

    Step back to a town with a sizable Roman garrison holding the eastern front along the Euphrates River in the early to mid-third century of the Christian Era. Who would not jump at the chance to accompany the catechumen Isseos through the sacred rites of Christian baptism? Or to wonder about others whose names appear connected to the artistic decoration of the baptistery? We meet a soldier named Pontus who commissioned a David slaying Goliath, and a woman...