The National Catholic Review

May 21, 2012

Vol. 206 No. 17Whole No. 4973 Download PDF


Current Comment
Conviction, Not Recompense; Hopefully, This Too Shall Pass; Publish and Perish?
Budgeting for Lives
Why are leaders in the developed world poised to sabotage decades of progress against global poverty?


Hidden Wounds
Nancy Sherman

Healing after a soldier's homecoming

The Ethical Executive
Michael J. Naughton

The Vatican's strategic plan for the business community

Books and Culture

James R. Kelly

Ross Douthat has written a learned yet highly readable analysis of the changing role of religion in American history.

Faith in the Future
Jon M. Sweeney

Tom Roberts of NCR chronicles the failure to carry out the changes prescribed by Vatican II.

On the High Road
James M. Lang

"Places of Faith: A Road Trip Across America's Religious Landscape"

Heaven Can Wait
Jon M. Sweeney

The sad silliness of 'The Five Year Engagement' 

Unquiet Desperation
Rob Weinert-Kendt

Mike Nichols' production of 'Death of a Salesman' breathes and barks like a freshly born thing.

Columns and Departments

The Word
The Spirit's Gift

Peter Feldmeier

Tokens of Love and Loss

Margaret Silf

Of Many Things
Of Many Things

Drew Christiansen

His Empty Hand

Brian Doyle


Web Only

  Three Days in Cuba
Gerald F. Kicanas
Psychologists and social scientists tell us that first impressions are very important and that we begin to form them quickly, perhaps as fast as five seconds after we first meet someone. Late last March, I met Cuba. My three days in the island nation—partly to be present for Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit and partly to see the work of Caritas Cubana that is supported by Catholic Relief Services—left me with some very strong first impressions. Of course, I realize that a three day trip can never make one an expert or hardly give a full picture, especially of something subtle and complex. Three days nevertheless can be full of first impressions, and that certainly was my experience in Cuba. There can hardly be a more beautiful sight than looking out on the turquoise water of Havana Harbor to the city’s skyline. And nothing is more refreshing than the Carribean breezes that soothe the heat of the day. The marvelous renovations and reconstructions in old Havana, funded primarily by Unesco, stand in stark contrast to adjacent delapidated, deteriorated structures. Fabulous architecture, unkept and uncared for, crumbles like sand castles swept by the incoming tide. The demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s caused great collateral damage in Cuba. With Soviet subsidies gone, so much fell into disrepair, so many became desperate. Ubiquitous billboards remind you that society needs socialism, that socialism is the answer to all hopes and concerns. ¡Mas Socialismo! ¡Socialismo hoy, mañana, y siempre! Yet, socialism has left so many on the margins of society in Cuba. Socialism has led to the control of peoples' lives, restricted their freedoms and caused people to seek a better life elsewhere.