Books and Culture
'The Crisis of Islamic Civilization,' reviewed
Hugo Chavez and Latin America's most polarized society
The comedic grace of 'The Brothers Bloom' evokes an earlier age of cinema.
God, Samuel Beckett and the 'Theater of the Absurd'
The play of the year is not on Broadway and was not featured at the recent Tony Awards.
Signs of the Times
In his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), Pope Benedict XVI makes a persuasive case that the current global financial crisis is about more than economics; it is also about ethics. As such, he provides us with a moral framework for moving forward as one human family to address the challenges facing the world today.
For our July 20-27 issue the editors of America asked three writers to assess the modern diaconate. William T. Ditewig, who for five years directed the U.S. bishops' office on deacons, takes a look at the unique ministry of the deacon in "Married and Ordained." in "Looking Back and Ahead," Scott Dodge presents the theology behind the diaconate, and Greg Kandra offers a humorous account of his first two years of ministry in "A Deacon's Lessons." Already there is a lively discussion of these articles on our comments pages. Just scroll down to the end of each article to take part in the discussion. In the coming days we will be adding more voices to the mix on this page. If you'd like to take part in the conversation, add a comment, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask that submissions be kept to 500 words. Ron Hansen responds (July 27): The adjective "busy" seems to be increasingly attached to "deacon" because while the priest's role is clearly demarcated in a parish, the deacon's role is more fluid, an open basket to drop obligations into, and the majority of us have full-time jobs and family concerns as well. The Vicar for Clergy in my diocese wisely instructed me to resist any task that interfered with my job or my marriage, and so far I haven't really noticed any pinching in those areas. I have noted only a loss of time in front of the television, which is not a loss I mourn. In the meantime, there are so many gains. After presiding at my first wedding, I reported to my spiritual director the surprising ebullience I felt, and he said, "Yes; nobody ever tells you that celebrating the sacraments can be fun."