The National Catholic Review

Columns

  • May 4, 2015

    Editor’s Note: In “Why Go to Mass?” (4/13), Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., wrote, “To evoke lively conversations, ask why so many Catholics no longer go to Mass.” We did that, and because of the volume of responses, this week’s Reply All is dedicated to that topic.

  • May 4, 2015

    The day is almost here: the beatification of Oscar Romero. Thirty-five years after his martyrdom, hordes of pilgrims will descend on El Salvador on May 23 to honor Romero’s life and witness. The archbishop of San Salvador was a “sign of contradiction” in every sense of the phrase, from the theological to the political to the commonsensical, and his devotees include many...

  • April 27, 2015

    There are huge risks to talking about women, qua women, in the church. Let me count the ways: generalizing, stereotyping, demeaning, ignoring marginalized women in favor of the privileged, putting women up on a pedestal in order to get them out of the way, ignoring history, shortchanging men and, let’s not forget, plain old getting it wrong.

    So forgive me for veering in any of these directions while trying mightily to avoid...

  • April 6, 2015

    Almost 15 years ago, St. John Paul II surprised the Catholic world by introducing a new set of mysteries to the Rosary. In case you’re unfamiliar with the tradition, there are certain events from the lives of Mary and Jesus that you can meditate on as you recite the Rosary. First are the joyful mysteries, like the Annunciation and the Visitation; then the sorrowful mysteries, like the Crucifixion; and finally, the glorious mysteries, like the Assumption of...

  • March 30, 2015

    Every day our attention is caught by stories in the news. Usually, the thoughts they occasion are fleeting. Sometimes the impression is more long lasting and they linger for days. One such story for me is that of the three schoolgirls in Britain who on Feb. 17 left their comfortable middle-class lives to fly off to Turkey and from there make their way to Syria to join the Islamic State.

  • March 23, 2015

    One night William Stringfellow dreamed that he was stabbed with a knife on 125th Street in Harlem, at the hands of a black man who had asked him for a light. Stringfellow then lived in Harlem not far from there. He was a white man who graduated from Harvard Law School and, in 1956, promptly put his training to use in the streets. He was doing his part. Yet it was clear to him in the dream, he later wrote, that “the murder was retribution.” Further: “No white man is innocent.”

  • March 9, 2015

    You’re a fan of Bob Dylan, right? But not really. You’re a fan of his music. You prefer covers by Adele, Johnny Cash, The Byrds or Joan Baez, because you don’t much care for Dylan’s voice. And if you’re like most people, you think Bob Dylan is sort of a jerk.

  • March 2, 2015

    The one subject guaranteed to start fireworks today is children. Hence the pyrotechnics whenever Pope Francis talks of rabbits, sterility or contraception. Judging from my 16 years teaching family law, the law struggles with children too, for reasons similar to why individuals do.

  • February 23, 2015

    One of the biggest surprises during my time at America came in 1995, when I was a Jesuit scholastic. Christopher Hitchens, the atheist and author who has since died, had just published a book-length attack on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta entitled The Missionary Position. Mr. Hitchens had received a great deal of attention for accusing Mother Teresa of accepting contributions from corrupt politicians. One of our senior editors, the late...

  • February 9, 2015

    A few years ago, I read The United States and Torture, a collection of essays by lawyers, historians, journalists and scholars edited by Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. I had kept abreast of the news and thought I was up to snuff on the subject, but The United States and Torture showed me there was more to learn than I had ever imagined.