US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Our health care system needs a heart transplant

By Thomas G. Pretlow, M.D. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
And our politicians need a brain transplant. Universal health care is the most compassionate option we have, argues a Catholic doctor, and it’s the smartest, most economical solution as well.

The Congo’s killing fields

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Families separated. Millions left for dead. Do we share some of the blame?

Patrick Mwnyamahord knows where his father is buried because a neighbor showed him that small place. What he doesn't know is how his father got there, and there was no one he could safely ask, not then. Twelve years ago he and his family made one of a series of sudden escapes from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into nearby Burundi. On this particular exodus his father was too ill to travel and the family had to leave him.

Remembering Roger Ebert, America’s most beloved critic

Writing about movies, Roger Ebert had a lot to say about life.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

He was perhaps America’s most beloved film critic, but that is not what Roger Ebert thought he wanted to be.

The way Ebert tells it, he imagined a career as a columnist, something along the lines of being a Mike Royko, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune columnist who covered the city’s political scene. Instead, Ebert’s boss at the Chicago Sun-Times, Bob Zonka, announced in 1967 that Ebert would replace the paper’s retiring film critic, Eleanor Keen. Ebert’s life course was set. 

‘Homecoming King’ tells a story of family, identity, and forgiveness

‘Homecoming King’ navigates serious subjects while still being laugh-out-loud funny.

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

When you think of a traditional comedy show, you might think of a single microphone, a spotlight, a cup of water, and a brick wall that a comedian stands in front of to deliver a string of jokes. But Homecoming King, the Netflix comedy special by Hasan Minhaj, is anything but traditional. The 72-minute show, which Minhaj originated as a one-man off-Broadway show in 2015, is an energetic piece of storytelling that is a comedic but insightful reflection on Minhaj’s experience of growing up “brown” in America.

Biblical dominion and ‘The Handmaids Tale’

Hulu’s new show portrays a world where the bodies of women are used and discarded, exploited much like the land and water Gilead’s people have destroyed.

By Sarah Margaret Babbs | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

What if you woke up one morning and everything and everyone you knew and loved was gone? What if it happened slowly over time? In Hulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the 1986 book by Margaret Atwood, this is the situation in which protagonist Offred (Elizabeth Moss) finds herself. She goes to sleep in the United States of America and wakes up in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive regime based on the perversion of scripture and patriarchy taken to the extreme.

A ‘midlife crisis’ that’s not about age

Maybe midlife is when the mystery begins to lift, when we wake up and notice who we really are.

By Jessica Mesman Griffith | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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“When did everybody else get so old?” asks Jennifer Grant in her new book of the same title (Herald Press), a memoir that explores the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes of midlife. 

She notes that the word midlife is often uttered as the set-up for a joke, even though it’s usually quickly followed by the word crisis. Her book is often funny, even as she asks hard questions about the ways we think about the second half of life, which can creep up imperceptibly as children age out of the nest or pounce with ferocity in the form of trauma, illness, and divorce. 

Monks, memes, and medieval art

The digitization of medieval illuminated manuscripts has made this art form widely available to modern audiences.

By Shanna Johnson | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440 in Germany, everything changed. For the first time, words didn’t have to be meticulously hand-copied and multiple copies of books could be printed at one time. The first book to be mass printed? The Bible. Finally the sacred text, long the purview of monastics and the wealthy, became available to everyone—regardless of class. 

Why ‘Madam Secretary’ breaks bold new ground

In CBS drama “Madam Secretary,” patriarchy matters a little less.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

Madam Secretary (CBS, in its third season) breaks bold new ground in media portrayals of women leaders: Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord’s friends, family, colleagues, and even the President of the United States treat her as if, in fact, she can lead. 

‘Pure Comedy’ is pure joy

Father John Misty’s not actually a priest, but you should still give him a listen.

By Ann Christenson | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Pure Comedy
Father John Misty (Sub Pop, 2017)

Joshua Tillman is a prolific indie folk/rock musician with eight studio albums under his belt. But it’s under the name Father John Misty (a persona, not a priest) that Tillman has achieved notoriety.

The documentary that looks at the criminalization of black men

“13th” reminds us that America’s original sin of racism is still waiting to be confessed and cleansed.

By Danny Duncan Collum | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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13th, the documentary by Selma director Ava DuVernay about mass incarceration, was screened for the first time just days before the 2016 presidential election. In the film the first thing we hear is the voice of President Barack Obama saying that, while the United States is 5 percent of the world’s population, it locks up 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.