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. 136, No. 14, August 14

A Face in the Crowd: James Ensor at MoMa
In 1885 the Belgian artist James Ensor began a series of six drawings of the life of Christ. He titled them The Aureoles of Christ or the Sensibilities of Light. With their erased and re-worked surfaces, these pieces are magnificent explorations of...
Economics of Charity: Pope Benedict's 'Caritas in Veritate'
Catholic social teaching, whether promulgated by Ambrose of Milan in the fourth century or Benedict XVI in the twenty-first, has always been contextual. The themes emphasized, although consistent in their fundamental doctrinal commitments, have shifted...
End of Discussion: Why Obama Should Have Kept the Bioethics Council
I have taught ethics in the religion departments of several very different colleges and universities for quite a few years, and there are moments when I wish that I had instead specialized in something quite different--perhaps texts and artifacts that...
Frank's Map
Among the distinguishing characteristics of Irish Catholics--in America as much as Ireland--was our version of omerta: the code of silence. We never opened our mouths about the church outside the tribe. Most times we didn't do it among ourselves. ...
In Defense of Politics
Catholics who like the word "solidarity" are sometimes suspicious of the word "subsidiarity." They worry it's a euphemism for privatization. Catholics who like the word "subsidiarity," meanwhile, are often uneasy with the term "solidarity"--unless...
Not Bold Enough: Why Did Benedict Pull His Punches?
This summer witnessed the publication of Caritas in veritate, Pope Benedict XVI's long-awaited encyclical on economics. While much commentary has focused on the letters implications for social policy, I want to emphasize the challenge it poses to the...
Profiles in Bigotry
The Making of a Catholic president Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960 Shaun Casey Oxford University Press, $27.95, 272 pp. As Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy geared up for the post-convention campaign in August 1960, twenty-five clerics quietly assembled...
Sound & Fury: 'Public Enemies'
In what is probably his best work, Heat, director Michael Mann turned a typical cops-and-robbers scenario into a war epic. The criminals led by Robert De Niro and the detectives commanded by Al Pacino were merely combatants positioned by fate and economics...
The Breath of Life: Christian Ecology Begins with Incarnation
The idea that we must be as good as we can be to this damaged world is essential, as is the idea that it is damaged and that until it is restored in God's time, we can't think of it in any other way. Reading the Bible one recent morning, I saw both...
The Cost of Peace: In Afghanistan Success Requires Risk
The Obama administration is clearly determined to reverse Afghanistan's slide into chaos. Since January 2009 we have seen a new military commander and ambassador in Afghanistan, a re-examination of strategy, and the beginnings of a "surge" in American...
The War We Can't Win: Afghanistan & the Limits of American Power
History deals rudely with the pretensions of those who presume to determine its course. In an American context, this describes the fate of those falling prey to the Wilsonian Conceit. Yet the damage done by that conceit outlives its perpetrators. ...