Of Many Things
August 31-September 7, 2015
The news last week that former President Jimmy Carter has what is most likely terminal cancer was sad to hear and, strangely enough, caught me off guard. The Man from Plains is close to 91 years old now, but his still-vigorous activism very nearly obscures that fact. Until recently Mr. Carter was still swinging a hammer at Habitat for Humanity sites and teaching Sunday school for something like his 50th consecutive year, a catechetical career he did not allow even his presidency...
August 17-24, 2015
On my desk at America Media headquarters sits a sealed glass bowl containing some dark, hardened soil from the tract of land my family tilled for more than two centuries in County Galway, Ireland. This is unsurprising, I suppose. When I try to count back through my 13 predecessors as editor in chief, I figure just over three-fourths of them were Irish by descent.
August 3-10, 2015
There is a certain type of sentence often spoken in our ecclesial discourse, whose subject is “the bishops,” as in “The bishops should do X” or “The bishops think Y.” Many Catholics make this sort of statement. It’s perfectly reasonable, of course, considering the essential role that the episcopate plays in the life of the church.
July 20-27, 2015
Like a lot of folks in the Catholic media, I spent the days following the release of “Laudato Si’” talking to the secular press. The most frequently asked question, both on-camera and off, was some version of “What is Pope Francis really doing?” Now this is a perfectly reasonable question, especially during a time when people are generally distrustful of public figures and their...
July 6-13, 2015
The late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., a frequent contributor to these pages, is remembered in more scholarly circles for his most famous work, Models of the Church, a postconciliar examination of the principal ways in which Catholics describe the essential identity of the church.
June 22-29, 2015
On April 4, 1968, just hours before Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tenn., Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign made a stop in Muncie, Ind. He wanted to talk to the 9,000 students who had assembled in the gymnasium at Ball State University about the meaning of life. “What really is our purpose in life?” Kennedy asked them before recounting the suffering of children starving in Mississippi.
June 8-15, 2015
This spring marks the 11th anniversary of my association with America, first as a Jesuit novice, then a regent, and lately as the 14th editor in chief. You might think that after all that time, I’d have learned pretty much all there is to know about America’s storied history and its spectacular, even eccentric cast of characters.
May 25-June 1, 2015
If you search for 417 Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, Calif., in Google Street View, you’ll get a picture of the spot where a U.S. presidential election was decided. Today this place is a modest semi-urban intersection, the sort of unremarkable confluence of concrete and steel you’d find in Anytown, U.S.A. In the summer of 1916, though, the Virginia Hotel stood there and was playing host to the Republican presidential nominee, Charles Evans Hughes.
May 18, 2015
If someone handed this issue of America to Pope Francis and he was able to spare some precious minutes to read it, he would get a good idea of some of the major issues facing the U.S. church. That was the idea, at least, when we dreamed up this papal preview issue a few months ago. I have to say, after looking through it again, that I think we’ve largely succeeded in painting a portrait of the church Pope Francis will encounter during his pastoral...
May 11, 2015
A mere half mile from the spot where Our Lord was born, nine children are born each day at Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. Though it offers a full range of health care services, the hospital specializes in prenatal care and delivery. At the invitation of Pope John Paul II, the medical facility has been supported and administered since 1990 by the Knights of Malta and houses a...