US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Read: Ten Popes Who Shook the World

By Kathleen Manning | Print this pagePrint |
By Eamon Duffy (Yale University Press, 2011)

Quick, can you name 10 popes off the top of your head? OK, maybe you can, but how about explaining the difference that each one made in the church and in the world? That might be more of a challenge.

Read: Grace Notes

By Catherine O'Connell-Cahill | Print this pagePrint |
By Brian Doyle (ACTA Publications, 2011)

Brian Doyle must have been listening intently when poet Mary Oliver proclaimed, “Attentiveness is the beginning of all prayer.” In this collection of 37 essays, Doyle, whom readers will recognize as a frequent contributor to this magazine, dives into the odd and ordinary moments of daily life, plumbing their spiritual depths. “I lucked into work that has everything to do with listening and hearing stories and catching stories,” Doyle writes. “[A]t age 50 I conclude that I was born and made for stories.”

Listen: Temple Beautiful

By Danny Duncan Collum | Print this pagePrint |
Chuck Prophet (Yep Roc, 2012)

Chuck Prophet has been known in the alt-rock world since the mid-1980s when he signed on as chief guitar-slinger for a great alt-country ensemble, Green on Red. Since then Prophet has managed to stay self-employed as a solo artist, session man, producer, and songwriter. Based in San Francisco, off the music industry’s beaten path, he’s a journeyman American artist with a broad musical palette, a personal vision, and an eccentric voice.

USC Book Club: Between Heaven and Mirth

Online Editor | Print this pagePrint |

March 2012:

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life

By James Martin, S.J.


If you ever got in trouble as a child for laughing in church, prepare to be vindicated. In Between Heaven and Mirth, Jesuit Father James Martin reveals that God never intended for us to take ourselves, or our spirituality, quite so seriously. Joy and laughter aren’t contrary to a life of faith, but as Martin demonstrates, they are integral to it.

Watch: Extremely loud & Incredibly close

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint |
Directed by Stephen Daldry (Paramount, 2011)

Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel about a 9-year-old boy whose father is killed on 9/11 angered and touched a lot of readers. Director Stephen Daldry’s film has set off its own minor firestorm among critics and viewers, a reminder perhaps that the wounds left by that day may still be too raw for cinematic exploration.

Watch: Moneyball

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint |
Directed by Bennett Miller (Sony Pictures, 2011)

Baseball can conjure up nostalgic images of peanuts and crackerjacks, sunny days, and cornfields in Iowa. But Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, set against a backdrop of palm trees, depicts what really motivates American professional sports: money.

Curious about George

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint |
Hollywood’s leading actor shines in roles that show success doesn’t always bring happiness.

My seventh-grade English teacher once asserted that although the word gorgeous usually referred to women, some men were drop-dead gorgeous. I knew from other comments that she was thinking about Cary Grant in that moment. For more than a decade many moviegoers have pictured George Clooney when that expression comes up.

Draft horse

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint |
Steven Spielberg’s latest film is a testament to war’s silent soldier.

“Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in his poem “Requiem.” But when, we have wondered since Homer penned The Odyssey, will the soldier be home from the war? Will those who come back from war ever really get all the way home? This is a question that haunts our greatest contemporary filmmaker.

The Oscars! Read our reviews of the best picture nominees

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint |

Planning to watch the Academy Awards this weekend? We've got movie reviews for some of the best picture nominees, as well as plenty of other films that weren't nominated, but were considered top films for 2011 by our regular culture columnist, Pat McCormick. 

Did you see a film that recieved a nomination but isn't reviewed here? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments. You can also send film reviews to at any time.

Read: Between Heaven and Mirth

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint |
Between Heaven and Mirth
By James Martin, SJ (HarperOne, 2011)

Perhaps I am not the best person to review this book. Although not completely humorless, I have been told that I am not particularly funny. And I do have a disposition that has earned me the occasional nickname “Negative Norma.”