The National Catholic Review

Faith in Focus

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  • July 4-11, 2016

    I can’t stand the stuff in my home. I don’t seem to be alone in this evaluation. Most people think that too much stuff is no good for us as a species. We all know the reasons. Stuff prevents us from doing the things we should be doing. Stuff is bad for the environment. And the more stuff we make, use, own and bury, the worse things get. Having too much stuff is that rare thing all of us—faithful, secular and agnostic—appear to agree on, which in and of...

  • June 20-27, 2016

    Sons are often defined by their fathers and necessarily reflect on the man who gave them life: Here he came up short; here he came up full. For me, there was much more gained than lost by his fatherhood.

    For 50 years my father worked in his tiny flower shop in a section of Philadelphia called Paradise, 10, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, unless, of course, it was a holiday—Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day....

  • June 20-27, 2016

    I recently encountered an Orthodox priest who was taking a group of well-known Russian iconographers to look at religious art at the St. Louis Art Museum. I had met him a little earlier when visiting his parish. He introduced me to the group, in Russian, as a “uniate priest.” He likely never intended anything disparaging by this, but the label rang in my ears.

    The term uniate , while sometimes used by Eastern Catholics...

  • June 20-27, 2016

    What is that ratty-looking, dog-eared thing they’re trooping up and down the stairs with, clamping under an elbow and carrying everywhere? It’s dragged out to the family not-so-mini van for long car trips and down to the bus stop to read on the way to that dreaded place of doom, middle school. Pored over at night before bedtime, overly loved, pages turned and pulled so often they’re finally falling loose from their gluey mooring. Is it Diary of a Wimpy Kid...

  • June 6-13, 2016

    I walked with my 12-year-old nephew that balmy June afternoon through the manicured green Georgian campus of the The Gilman School in Baltimore. My sister had already rushed ahead to find us seats; my brother-in-law was parking the car; and my young companion’s older brother and soon-to-be-Hoya was long gone to assemble with his fellows for the graduation ceremony. I supported Matthew as he limped along because of a tense Achilles tendon. Dressed in my best...

  • May 16, 2016

    I recently reconnected with a friend I had not seen in over a decade, since our oldest children were toddlers. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “I’m just at home.” It turns out she is “just at home” raising three children, volunteering for multiple organizations and taking care of an ailing and widowed mother in a city four hours away. Her answer is surprisingly common. Often these days, if you ask someone what they do, and if they are not at the pinnacle of a revered...

  • May 23-30, 2016

    “In the year 2525 if man is still alive…” went the old song. Adapting it to Michigan today, the refrain would be: “In the year 2025, if Flint is still alive....” I certainly think that Flint is going to still be around a decade from now, but the key question is: “What will it—and other similarly distressed cities—look like?”

    In the life of a city, a decade can matter a lot. I was born in Detroit in February 1957, and it had a distinct look and flavor to it then...

  • May 9, 2016

    These days, when my family arrives at 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass (usually fast-walking in just as our celebrant starts up the aisle), my husband and I can be relatively secure in the knowledge that we will make it through the service without incident. This was not always the case, and one Sunday morning, not long ago, those more capricious days were brought back to me.

    The woman in front of my family was heavily pregnant with her...

  • May 9, 2016

    In high school, I did not even know what a Jesuit was. One thing I did know: a fancy and expensive Jesuit school like Loyola Marymount University in California surely could not be for students like me. With its manicured lawns and breathtaking ocean views, I just knew students like me were not destined for life on the L.M.U. bluff. How could we ever afford it? As it turns out, I was wrong. Fortuitously, a mix of academic and need-based scholarships...

  • May 2, 2016

    The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people. – Martin Luther Kin g Jr .

    It has been just over two years since the abduction of close to 300 teenage schoolgirls in the town of Chibok, in northern Nigeria, by the radical Islamic group called Boko Haram. This horrible event and the nightmare associated with it continue to draw media attention and condemnation both in Nigeria and...