Of Many Things
For the 63rd consecutive year, the nation’s political nobility assembled beneath the Romanesque dome of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., for the liturgical rite that marks the start of a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sponsored by the John Carroll Society, the Red Mass (known as such because the priests wear red vestments), is a rare moment when leaders of church and state gather as one to invoke the blessing of God on those responsible for the...
October 12, 2015
We’re a long way from the world of Charles Carroll, the wealthy landowner (and slave owner, sad to say) who has the distinction of being the only Catholic and the longest-lived and last surviving signatory to the Declaration of Independence. A member of the Continental Congress, the predecessor of the present 114th Congress, he was also the brother of John Carroll, who was a Jesuit before he became an archbishop, like Pope Francis, and became the founder...
October 5, 2015
On a sweltering morning this past August, my husband and I sat in folding chairs in St. Peter’s Square hoping to meet Pope Francis. Surrounding us were about 100 other couples, almost everyone dressed in either wedding dresses or tuxedos, as part of the Sposi Novelli celebration. Italian for “new spouses,” the weekly ceremony allows newly married Catholic couples a brief meeting with the pope following his Wednesday audience.
September 28, 2015
We were an NBC family, even during the heyday of Walter Cronkite. Every night at 7:00 we’d take our seats in the living room in order to learn what had happened that day in places far afield from Cape Cod. “Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the world?” my grandmother would ask on the rare occasion when I was watching a movie and didn’t want to change the channel. First it was John Chancellor, then Tom Brokaw. The CBS Evening News may have led the...
September 21, 2015
‘Out of our memory of the Holocaust,” said President Jimmy Carter in 1979, “we must forge an unshakable oath with all civilized people that never again will the world stand silent, never again will the world...fail to act in time to prevent this terrible crime of genocide.” President Carter made those remarks as he received the official report of the presidential commission on the Holocaust, or Shoah, the deliberate and singularly horrific mass murder of millions...
September 14, 2015
‘George Bush’s Message to Michael,” I recall, was the headline that blared across two whole pages of The Boston Herald on Aug. 19, 1988. The Herald had chosen to print in its entirety the speech that Vice President George Bush had delivered the night before in New Orleans, accepting the Republican nomination for president. In Massachusetts in 1988, no one was in doubt about who Michael was: the Bay State’s own Gov. Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee...
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...