The National Catholic Review

In All Things

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

June 2016

  • Twilight stretches out over an eternity during the summer solstice in the North Country of Minnesota, where I found myself this past week on a pilgrimage of sorts to Bob Dylan country. Work had brought me to Minneapolis, his brief collegiate home , and so I extended my visit for two days to fulfill a desire two decades old and drive to...

  • This weekend in New York City the LGBT community celebrates “Pride Weekend.” In the wake of the Orlando massacres, this event takes on great significance. Now, not every LGBT person will march in a parade this weekend or this month. Some people prefer to stand on the sidewalks and cheer. Some don’t much like parades at all. Sadly, some still have a hard time accepting who they are, and also struggle with their relationships with God.

    So I’d like to offer some reflections for LGBT...

  • Dr. Aqualus Gordon (University of Central Missouri)

    Aqualus M. “Kway” Gordon is a psychologist specializing in masculinity who...

  • It is hard to believe it would improve matters in Syria, but 51 mid-level U.S. diplomats are urging a campaign of airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad. In the draft of a memo sent through the State Department’s “dissent channel” and leaked to the New York Times last week, the diplomats protested the Obama administration’s policy in Syria and argued that regime...

  • I didn’t know that a prison yard was going to be a congress of world religions until I got here. In this nation of 1,200 incarcerated souls, layered two-by-two in eight different dorms, there are reverent members of many faiths. There are Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Druids, Odinists, Native American spiritualists, Wiccans, Satanists, atheists and Toastmasters. All right, Toastmasters is not a religion, but they are the newest group on the yard. The...

  • I was talking to my grandfather yesterday to wish him a happy Father’s Day when naturally, our conversation turned to the most important game in Cleveland’s history.

    “I don’t know, I think they can win it,” I said to him.

    “It seems like it; but who knows, it is Cleveland after all,” he replied.

    I understood his hesitation. I had been going through my own gamut of emotions after the Cleveland Cavaliers forced a game seven against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday....

  • The murderous event that occurred in Orlando early Sunday morning has of course captured the attention of us all, and it has been interpreted, rightly I think, from many angles. Omar Mateen was a disturbed young man, struggling with his own sexuality and disastrously lashing out; he was a terrorist dedicating himself to ISIS and its war on America; the event, as terrible as it was, is but a moment in the much larger scandal of our government—the Senate, the House, and we who elect them—and...

  • Father John Navone, S.J.

    John J. Navone, S.J., is an American Jesuit priest, theologian and writer in residence at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. , where he also received an M.A. in philosophy. Father Navone, 85, is also professor emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received his...

  • The massacre in Orlando began the usual rounds of gun apologetics this week. Judging by chatter on social media and the gas-baggery of America’s pundit class, a lot of folks are straining mightily to reduce the rampage to a single defining component, preferably one that distracts attention from the...

  • One night while on a break from classes during college, on a visit to New York City with high school friends, we bought fake I.D.'s. The friend we were all staying with, who went to a school in the city, took us to the basement of a clothing store, more trendy than fashionable, after hours. We picked which state we wanted; I chose Arizona. I don’t recall the cost, but it felt expensive—yet also necessary to carry out our new collegiate roles. The man behind the counter processed our orders...

  • ST. PETERSBURG. Which city is more “the center of the world” is one question worth asking as our express train zips along through the wide, flat, green countryside on the four-hour journey once taken in giant horse-drawn sleds by royalty making the trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Our lectures, given mostly by local historians, tended to focus on political and cultural history—one by Pavel Palazhenko, Mikhail Gorbachev’s translator, and another by Zoya Belyakova, biographer of...

  • Professor Mat Schmalz (photo provided)

    Mathew N. Schmalz is an American Catholic historian of religion who serves as associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He holds a Ph.D. in the history of religions and an M.A. in religious studies from The Divinity...

  • The federal government announced last week that it would seek the death penalty in its case against Dylann S. Roof, the man arrested last June for killing nine African Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church. It will be the second death penalty trial that he is facing. The state of South Carolina is also seeking the death penalty in its murder trial of Roof.

    Last year in July, a federal grand jury indicted Roof, then 21, for hate crimes, weapons charges and obstructing the practice...

  • MOSCOW, June 4, 2016—Yesterday afternoon I came face to face with Vladimir Lenin. I have had similar brief encounters with the corpses of North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh and China’s Chairman Mao, both laid out in their tombs—Minh in a tiny house on a lake in Hanoi, Mao's in China on Tiananmen Square—but this was a different experience. Red Square was bustling with thousands of happy mostly young citizens enjoying a huge book show and two couples surrounded by more young people, just married,...

  • The 12-year-old boy in Louisville, Ky., was upset. He had his red bicycle stolen from him. He told the policeman, Joe Martin, that he wanted nothing more than to give a good “whuppin’” to the person who did that to him. The policeman looked at the hurting young man and said that if he was going to do that, he’d need to “learn how to box first.” With that admonition began the transformation of the boy who eventually became known to the world as Muhammad Ali, the self-described “greatest...

  • On this date, 75 years ago—in 1941—at 10:10 p.m. in a house located at 5204 Delafield Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, N.Y., a 37-year-old man died. This man died from a disease that robbed him of the ability to move, to run, to walk. He had suffered from it for about two years or so; it stole from him what mattered most to him: his livelihood and his avocation. The disease that ravaged him stole his gifts in the way an agile ballplayer stole bases, quickly and swiftly....

  • Congratulations to Ashley McKinless , an associate editor at America Media, who has been awarded the 2016 Egan Journalism Fellowship, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services. Along with three other fellows, Ms. McKinless will travel to Honduras and Guatemala with C.R.S. to report on the push factors—from gang violence to climate change—that have forced thousands of Central Americans to migrate to other countries...

  • Memorial Day has passed, quiet and warm, with full beaches and maybe some visits to cemeteries where the war dead lie.

    Those of us who grew up during World War II remember long lines at the groceries for rationed foods like butter, air raid drills with sirens in the night, air wardens patrolling the dark streets to make sure all lights were out, and, saddest of all, the little flags with gold stars that hung from our neighbors’ windows, marking the home where a son had died in battle...