National Catholic Reporter

Fifty-Nine Thousand Nuns Oppose the Bishops on Health Care

“Don’t mess with nuns!” is a comment I’ve often heard over the years from cradle Catholics who were taught by them. The question now arises whether the undecided Catholic members of the House will be influenced by the 60 nuns — each a leader of her religious order — who signed a letter to members … Read more

The Dicastery’s Latest (and Most Unusual) Addition

For years, I have been fascinated by the endless parade of officials that move through the Vatican offices and councils. There’s something comforting about it; I feel as though I can almost see the Church’s “always changing, yet ever the same” nature on display. And so, National Catholic Reporter writer John Allen’s blog post on the Pope’s recent appointment of Dr. Flaminia Giovanelli to serve … Read more

Wendell Berry: We need a cultural shift.

It’s not every day that a farmer and poet packs an auditorium so full that security has to turn people away. But that’s exactly what happened when Wendell Berry showed up at the University of Virginia last week, according to Ted Strong of the National Catholic Reporter. In his lecture, Berry outlined the need for small-scale landholders … Read more

The Fall of the Archbishop

Archbishop Rembert Weakland was a distant if familiar villain in my early teenage years. In the vestibule of the parish office where we held our Legion of Mary meetings, our liberal priests would put old copies of the newsletter of the Womens’ Ordination Conference, National Catholic Reporter, and other publications of the Catholic left that … Read more

Polarization and the Church

American Catholics have endured internal polarization for many years, but lately the split has become more visible, vocal, and vitriolic. For this we largely have Barack Obama to thank.   Before Obama’s admirers start screaming — itself a sign of the polarization — I hasten to say I don’t particularly blame the president. Obama has … Read more

Three Misreadings of Caritas in Veritate

  Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was published on July 7. With the appearance of a new papal document, various factions in the Church, as well as some outside, eagerly attempt to score points on their own behalf. This is particularly true of Caritas in Veritate, since both its length and the … Read more

Sneaking Back into Eden

Last week something very strange happened. I made a comment that stopped my girlfriend from talking. Much of the time, I can’t get a word in edgewise — not that I mind, since she’s wry, whip-smart, and deliriously Southern. But this time, she got really quiet and sounded for once impressed. She said, in a … Read more

President Obama Meets with Catholic Journalists

Yesterday, President Obama held a 45-minute meeting in the Roosevelt Room at the White House with some members of the Catholic press. According to the Catholic News Service, those present included writers from National Catholic Reporter, America, Commonweal, Catholic Digest, Vatican Radio,as well as a (non-Catholic)religion writer from the Washington Post. Rev. Owen Kearns was … Read more

Newman and the Two Arnolds

  Matthew Arnold was the son of Dr. Thomas Arnold, the legendary headmaster of Rugby, who many decades after his death had the misfortune to be one of the four figures held up to ridicule in Lytton Strachey’s landmark book, Eminent Victorians. (The other three were Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning, and General "Chinese" Gordon). Matthew, … Read more

Barack Obama’s Catholic Problem

In early January I wrote a column arguing that Barack Obama “will not win the Catholic vote.” Although Obama has won eleven primaries in a row, his “Catholic problem” is emerging in voting patterns and early media skirmishes. Catholic-vote expert Steve Wagner predicted two months ago that Clinton would beat Obama among Catholics. Clinton’s advantage, … Read more

Reconsidering Vatican II

In May 1964, in the middle of the Second Vatican Council, I published a book, The Open Church, an optimistic assessment of the changes in the Catholic Church that I believed the council would produce. I had written it in white-hot haste in my room at the Pensione Baldoni in Rome during a six-week period … Read more

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