The National Catholic Review

New Media

  • March 26, 2012

    Connor, who is 4 years old, has a tumor. A Facebook post asks for prayers for a successful M.R.I. test, which will show if the tumors have grown or remained the same since his last test. After the test his parents posted the following: “Your prayers worked!!! The tumor has not grown or has grown very little!”

    Every day on Facebook, Twitter and other Web sites, people ask for prayers for their loved ones. Others spread the message on their personal status updates and Twitter feeds. A...

  • February 21, 2011

    During a recent discussion with a brother Jesuit about the inherent goodness or badness (I believe the terms ‘Luddite’ and ‘Borg’ were trotted out during the conversation) of smart phones, I asserted that there were plenty of Catholic-centric uses for such devices. In the great Jesuit fashion, my confrere asked me to prove it. So I began combing through Apple’s App Store in order to find the best Catholic apps I could. From the beginning, I left a few things off of my list, most notably...

  • October 12, 2009

    Children between the ages of 13 and 17 who have a mobile phone average 1,742 text messages each month, according to a report by the Nielsen Company in September 2008. That comes to nearly 60 per day. They also make 231 voice calls each month, close to eight per day. They play games on the device as well, and browse the Web, take pictures and log hours of social networking.

    No wonder so many of them consider the cellphone (for some it is a BlackBerry or an iPhone) an essential part of...

  • October 12, 2009

    Not since 1972, when Richard Nixon ran against George McGovern, have so many 18- to 30-year-old Americans voted in a presidential election as they did last November. Young adults did more than vote in November 2008. Many of them campaigned for Barack Obama, harnessing the power of the Internet to cultivate new online communities and to disseminate the message of change that he espoused and many of the young embraced. Just before delivering his acceptance speech in Chicago’s Grant Park,...

  • May 25, 2009

    A year ago I began posting brief reflections on movies, music and culture on YouTube, probably the most watched Web site in the world. This exercise has resembled St. Paul's venture onto the Areopagus in Athens, preaching the Gospel amid a jumble of competing ideas. YouTube is a virtual Areopagus, where every viewpoint-from the sublime to the deeply disturbing-is on display. Never as a Catholic teacher or preacher have I addressed less of the "choir.” The most numerous responses have come to...

  • May 18, 2009

    My mother recently told me that when I was in my teens and early 20s she was concerned that I would be lured into joining a religious cult. &ampampldquoYou are highly suggestible,&rdquo she remarked, as she turned up the volume on the television to hear about Oprah's latest spiritual breakthrough. "You are a follower, not a leader.&rdquo Thanks, Mom!

    But she had a point. Ultimately I joined the Jesuits, which some might consider a cult of sorts. In truth, I have always...

  • April 13, 2009

    Al Gore lives on my shoulder. He whispers in my ear while I’m doing laundry (“Cold water!”), driving (“Inflate your tires!”) or snuggling with my husband (“Turn off the light!”).

    Al is never more disapproving than when a box of books arrives on my doorstep. “Oh, your carbon footprint!” Al sighs. “How much fuel was wasted shipping those books? And don’t get me started on the paper!” Killjoy.

    I recently silenced my inner Al by investing $359 in a new Kindle 2, Amazon’s next-...