The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

January 2017

  • They insisted that he wear the pointy ears. The actor, Leonard Nimoy, complained that the first set was quite uncomfortable and hard to keep on. But would an alien, exactly like us—without the pointy ears and arched eyebrows—still be an alien? If so, then what makes aliens different from Canadians?

    Over time, our imaginations stretched with the Klingons. In the original television series of “Star Trek,” they had only grimy faces and bushy eyebrows, but by “The Next Generation,” they...

  • Despite the music coming from our high school band, one could hear the red hot candies hit the bells of the tubas. Sometimes, with so much force that they’d bounce off. But others went right down the neck, producing a cheer in the trombone section, from where they had been launched.

    Everybody could hear and see them, everyone except Father Tim. By the early ’70s, with still a decade of teaching to go, Father Timothy Gottschalk would have been well into his 60s. Born in 1906, he had...

  • Last fall, I drove out to western Kansas for a funeral Mass, going to a place I have been before, but, departing from a new locale. I decided to take Kansas Highway 4. It is not a road I know well, but, in Rush County, it passes the former farmsteads of both my grandfathers, and it goes right by the Rush County Fairgrounds, my childhood’s version of Disneyland.

    On the drive, I realized that I had never taken Highway 4 further west than Rush County. I am at an age where such a...