Commonweal

An independent journal of opinion that is edited and managed by lay Catholics. Addresses a broad range of subjects, including national and international politics; social and ethical issues such as abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia; and science and r

Articles from Vol. 138, No. 2, January 28

A Fatal Conflict: Can Catholic Hospitals Refuse to Save Lives?
It is commonly accepted that any entity that is part of the Catholic health-care ministry must offer its services in a manner consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs), a publication of the United...
Contenders: 'Black Swan,' the Fighter,' & 'The King's Speech'
Reviewing Darren Aronofsky's ballet-melodrama Black Swan, some critics trotted out comparisons with The Red Shoes (1948) and The Turning Point (1977). But the new film's real ancestor is Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965). Both films feverishly delineate...
Cruel & Unusual: The True Costs of Our Prison System
A decade ago, in November 2000, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral statement titled Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal justice. Unapologetically critiquing a criminal-justice...
Fitting Service
The candidate to be ordained deaconess is presented to the bishop. ... As she bouts her head the bishop imposes his hand ... praying: "Holy and almighty God, who by the birth of thine only begotten divine Son of a virgin hath sanctified womankind,...
Flawed Reflection: 'Hide/Seek' at the National Portrait Gallery
There's a small but memorable photo in the National Portrait Gallery's "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," on display until February 13, and billed as "the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making...
Killings in Tucson
Americans are proud of their nation's long history of peacefully handing over the reins of government from one party to another. In the world's oldest democracy, political change occurs at the ballot box, not at gunpoint. Yet the United States also...
Mandating Health Insurance: Is It Constitutional?
A great national debate is about to be played out in the Supreme Court. The question presented is whether we may all be required to buy insurance under the Obama health-care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010. Can those...
The God of Ambition: From Princeton to Prison to Faith
They say you can't find atheists in fox-holes. You find even fewer in jail. A soldier can try to leave the battle-field; inmates have no such option. It's a cliche and hardly admirable, but jail often cultivates "belief" in a power greater than one's...
Worth Taking a Chance: Rochester's Prodigal Sons & Daughters
"Americans love locking people up," says Ann Graham, the founder and onetime director of a program for former prisoners called Prodigal Sons and Daughters. The United States is home to less than 5 percent of the world's population, but it has more...