The National Catholic Review

In All Things

A group blog by the editors, columnists and frequent contributors to America.

December 2016

  • I drive to the Dakota Access Pipeline (D.A.P.L.) protest in late November with a mix of mild apprehension and marvel. I am apprehensive over the chance of violence and arrest, and I marvel at the beauty of the Standing Rock Reservation’s vast, undulating prairie landscape. As I travel I begin receiving from this sacred land a felt infusion of spiritual spaciousness, a cleansing of soul clutter. As I top one of countless enfolding hillcrests along North Dakota highway 1806, the Oceti Sakowin...

  • Cambridge, MA.—Today is Dec. 8, and so it is a month since the election that saw Donald J. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. In contemplating the election results, the ensuing formation of the new government, and the deep despair and anxiety among many of my friends and colleagues and students, I have been tempted to join those chanting “not my president.” There is so little reason to have any faith at all in Mr. Trump, his intentions and his words, and his competence for office. It would be...

  • Over the course of 120 years living as Christians in the Middle East, Juliana Taimoorazy's family has lost eight members to persecution “for their Christianity, for being Assyrian,” she said. Similarly over the last decade the Assyrian Christian population in Iraq has been decimated.

    “I am very aware that my ethnicity is dying,” Ms. Taimoorazy said, warning Assyrians could see their culture melt away if regional persecution is not stopped.

    Once a refugee herself, having fled...

  • When St. Benedict left Rome and headed for the mountains, laying the foundations of Western monasticism, what was he opting for? Was he retreating or reconstructing? Was he withdrawing or committing? The answer, as in so much of the Catholic tradition, is both/and—but the emphasis we give in those answers, and the direction we start from, is telling.

    The debate about what “the Benedict Option” is, and what it is not, was recently taken up by the theologian Gerald Schlabach in the...

  • With a Latin signature on a Vatican decree, Pope Francis has given the United States its first recognized martyr , Father Stanley Rother, and added to the growing number of church men and women who were killed in Latin America to be recognized by the Vatican.

    Why did it take so long? Why is the Vatican only now recognizing what the church in Central and South America has...

  • Cambridge, Mass.—As readers know, my interest and expertise pertains mainly to interreligious understanding, between the Christian traditions and other, non-Christian traditions. Ecumenism I leave to others. But the boundary is not a hard and fast one. As we relate to other Christians, we are disposing ourselves to think and act in certain ways toward people who are not Christian; and if we have learned how to relate to Muslims or Hindus differently, these dispositions will affect how we...

  • In 1566, Queen Elizabeth I visited Oxford University searching for young men to become priests in the Church of England. Elizabeth had forbidden the practice of the Catholic faith and herded all her subjects into the Anglican church. Catholics who failed to do so were not only forced to pay huge fines, they were sometimes thrown in jail, tortured and even killed.

    Chosen to give a welcoming speech to the queen at Oxford was Edmund Campion, a brilliant scholar, teacher and playwright...