August 29-September 6, 2016
‘I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae,” wrote St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans (16:1). What did Paul mean when he referred to Phoebe as a deacon? What kind of diakonos was she? How did she serve the church? Was she ordained as a deacon? And if so, what did her ordination mean? These questions, which may once have seemed arcane, have taken on greater urgency in the wake of Pope Francis’ recent decision to appoint a commission to study the historicity of...
August 15-22, 2016
Editors' note: A version of this editorial first appeared online on July 28.
At its national convention in July, the Democratic Party, under Hillary Clinton’s leadership, adopted a platform that opposes a compromise that has held for almost four decades. Since 1977, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, has been routinely adopted into federal spending bills every year. As with any real compromise, no one on either side of the issue finds...
August 1-8, 2016
At the memorial service for the five police officers killed in Dallas on July 7, President Obama asked, “Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other?” On one Dallas street a few days earlier, some Americans already had begun to answer. On July 10 a small group of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement marched down the street, frustrated with police brutality toward black Americans. On the other side of the road, a small group of counter-...
July 18-25, 2016
The “Brexit” referendum revealed some deep divisions in British society: between Scotland and England, between London and the rest of England, between young and old; the economically well off and those the economy has left behind; and, perhaps most alarmingly, between those ready to welcome immigrants and those fearful of more immigration. It also revealed a fundamental divide between the political, financial and journalistic leaders of the United Kingdom and the society they putatively lead...
July 4-11, 2016
When Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” was published one year ago on June 18, the document was cheered by Catholics and non-Catholics alike for its bold call to preserve “our common home” for future generations. But what was dubbed the “climate change” encyclical by many in the press is about more than reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The pope’s “integral ecology” includes another inconvenient truth: “It is troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the...
June 20-27, 2016
On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” The report described five cases in which young, previously healthy gay men were diagnosed with a rare lung infection—a report that would eventually become the first official publication on the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic in the United States.
By 1989 the number of reported AIDS cases in the United States had...
Barack Obama plans to visit Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday, May 27, making him the first sitting president to visit the city where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in August 1945 and killed more than 100,000 people, most of them civilians. The idea has not been well received by critics who have long charged the president with insufficient patriotism. “President Obama has an unfortunate record of seeking opportunities to apologize for things America did before he became president,”...
June 6-13, 2016
Walking is a human right. There are physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to exploring our world on foot. The activity invites wonder at our world and contemplation about our place in it. In “Laudato Si’,” published just over a year ago, Pope Francis stresses the importance of “landscapes which increase our sense of belonging” and provide “a coherent and meaningful framework for [our] lives.” These landscapes do not have the same effect upon...
May 23-30, 2016
Most people in Chicago, particularly on the South and West Sides, did not need another internal investigation to know that the Chicago Police Department has deep problems. Anyone familiar with the stories of the serial torturer Jon Burge, the drug racketeer Joseph Miedzianowski, the crime wave authored by the C.P.D.’s Special Operations Section and, sadly, many more examples already knew the department has fallen far short of what its motto promises: “We...
May 9, 2016
When Senator Bernie Sanders, during his New York debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, criticized Israel for its brutal waging of the war in Gaza in 2014, he called our attention to a moral issue politicians lately tend to avoid: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
To punish Hamas for its rocket attacks, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, consisting of aerial bombings and a ground invasion. The...