The National Catholic Review

July 20, 2009

Vol. 201 No. 2Whole No. 4861 Download PDF


For the Common Good
In state houses and board rooms across the country, a failure to come together
Current Comment
Healthier Already; Pope and President; Mere Pious Legend?


Married and Ordained
William T. Ditewig

The ministry of deacons

A Deacon's Lessons
Greg Kandra

Seven things they don't teach you in formation

Looking Back and Ahead
Scott Dodge

The theology behind the permanent diaconate

Book Briefs
Patricia A. Kossmann

Books and Culture

Decline (Yes) and Fall (Maybe)
Peter Heinegg

'The Crisis of Islamic Civilization,' reviewed

A Powerful Grip
Michael Shifter

Hugo Chavez and Latin America's most polarized society

As It Was in the Beginning
Jake Martin

The comedic grace of 'The Brothers Bloom' evokes an earlier age of cinema.

Accept the Absurd
Robert E. Lauder

God, Samuel Beckett and the 'Theater of the Absurd'

A War on Women
Rob Weinert-Kendt

The play of the year is not on Broadway and was not featured at the recent Tony Awards.

Columns and Departments

The Word
Always Enough

Barbara E. Reid

The Word
Heavenly Bread

Barbara E. Reid

Faith in Focus
Spirituality in the Wild

Carol K. Coburn

Faith in Focus
The Breaking of the Bread

Charles Murphy

Blame Cheney?

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

Of Many Things
Of Many Things

Matt Malone, S.J.


Web Only

  Serious Thinking
Blase J. Cupich
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.
  Deacon Dialogues
Karen Sue Smith
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 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."