The National Catholic Review

Signs Of the Times

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  • January 23, 2017

    Since the campaign’s end, President-elect Donald J. Trump has softened his tone on immigrant deportations, but his final plans remain unknown. The “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy [Bridge] Act,” introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, is intended to shore up the status of undocumented young people regardless of the policies ultimately adopted by the incoming administration.

    In a...

  • January 23, 2017

    Chicago experienced a level of gun violence unseen in nearly two decades in 2016, enduring 762 homicides—a 57 percent surge over 2015. Several hundred demonstrators, including some of the family members of those killed in the city last year, took to the street on the last day of a dreadful year, demanding justice for their loved ones and calling for an end to the violence. The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish on Chicago’s South Side, joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson in...

  • January 23, 2017

    Social unrest swept across Mexico in early January as protests over a hike in gasoline prices escalated into acts of looting, riots and blockades of highways and petrol stations. Hundreds of people were arrested after ransacking stores and clashing with police on Jan. 5.

    The protests further erode what little support the already deeply unpopular government of President Enrique Peña Nieto has left.

    The unrest first erupted on New Year’s Day, after the government announced a...

  • January 23, 2017

    Catholics will enjoy peak clout in Congress in 2017. Almost one-third of the membership is Catholic, as are the leaders of both parties in the House, Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Even the House chaplain is Catholic; Patrick J. Conroy, S.J. In the Senate, two Catholic women—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—are among the most moderate members of the 52-to-48 Republican majority and are thus must-...

  • January 2, 2017

    Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns , known as the “cardinal of the people” and one of the most active voices against Brazil’s military dictatorship, died in São Paulo on Dec. 14. • Pope Francis celebrated his 80th birthday on Dec. 17 by having breakfast with eight homeless people from different countries at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives. • Britain’s fertility regulator approved controversial techniques on Dec. 15 allowing doctors to create babies...

  • January 2, 2017

    Speaking from Baghdad on Dec. 14, Kevin Hartigan, Catholic Relief Services’ regional director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe told America that his team was bracing for what may be unprecedented numbers of people in flight from the contested city. “The numbers still are not nearly as large as we expected because the battle for the city is looking to be a long and slow one, unfortunately for everybody.

    “Mosul is a...

  • January 2, 2017

    In an unexpected diplomatic initiative to consolidate the fragile peace accord in Colombia, Pope Francis on Dec. 14 brought together the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, and his archrival, former president Senator Álvaro Uribe, a strong opponent of the accord. In a statement issued after the meeting of the three leaders, the Vatican said, “The pope spoke about the ‘culture of encounter’ and emphasized the importance of sincere dialogue between all members...

  • January 2, 2017

    Moving quickly to strengthen the Section for Refugees and Migrants in the new Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Pope Francis has appointed as under secretaries a Canadian Jesuit, Michael Czerny, and an Italian member of the Scalabrini Fathers, Fabio Baggio. The Vatican announced the appointments on Dec. 14. Father Czerny emphasized that the department will work directly under the pope on what has become “one of the most important...

  • January 2, 2017

    The Vatican on Dec. 7 declared that “persons with homosexual tendencies” cannot be admitted to Catholic seminaries. This reaffirms a 2005 policy now seemingly at odds with Pope Francis’ famous response, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay priests in 2013. The document, entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” was drafted by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, and it is meant to offer wide-ranging guidelines for priestly formation. Three of the...

  • January 2, 2017

    Not far from where Wilshire Boulevard cuts northwest along its journey from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean, and just across the street from the oldest Jewish congregation in the city, stands the statue of a cloaked woman. Her eyes look toward the heavens, her hands extended skyward in a moment that captures either ecstatic praise or heartfelt petition. The marker at the statue’s base reads: “Our Lady of the Angels.”...