The Congo’s killing fields
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.
How the women’s movement turns anger into hope
Righteous anger brings hope, not despair.
On election night 2016, hands full of dirty dinner dishes, I tripped over a slightly ajar cabinet door and fell hard on my left knee, my right leg overextended at an ugly angle behind me. Two friends ran in to assist me when they heard the plates clatter to the floor. They propped me up against the refrigerator, immobilized with a bag of frozen peas on my knee, while they watched the returns in the next room, and I listened in disbelief as what I’d thought was impossible happened. The phrase “adding insult to injury” comes to mind.
A Holy Week meditation with Leal’s Pietà
Leal’s painting brings us face-to-face with the historical life and death of Jesus.
My initial encounter with the 17th-century Spanish painter Juan de Valdés Leal’s Pietà came at an auspicious moment in my spiritual journey. After having drifted from structured religious expression in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, I was, at the time, in the midst of finding my way back.
Is it time for a cultural detox?
The #MeToo movement is driving important dialogue about privilege and sexual abuse, but let’s not pat ourselves on the back for a job well done just yet.
The #MeToo movement, launched by activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago, went viral in October after actress Alyssa Milano and other prominent women publicized it, and after countless women (and a few men) published the hashtag on their social media pages to indicate that they had been sexually harassed or violated at some point in their lives.
This is such a common occurrence in the lives of women that few were startled at the sheer numbers of #MeToo postings. Live long enough while being female and it will happen to you. #NotMe is a movement that will never catch on.
Is the Catholic theme of the Met gala a good idea?
The Met Gala doesn’t have the best record when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Will it do the Catholic Church more justice?
My junior year of college, a friend of mine decided to change his major from biology to theater and pursue a strong nagging desire to become an actor. When he announced his decision to our friends, every person began contending with one another to be his date to the Oscars in the event he was ever invited to the awards show.
I did not care about the (very small) chance to one day attend the Oscars. Instead, I requested to be the one he took to the Met Gala.
Nearly 45 years after Watergate, is history repeating?
The lies of Johnson and Nixon helped give birth to the cynicism about public life that now threatens our democracy.
Audiences that saw Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House in theaters this past autumn must have felt a little disoriented. There on the screen was a presidential election marred by sabotage and a president manipulating federal law enforcement institutions to obstruct justice. But the characters were driving great big American gas-guzzlers, smoking cigarettes indoors, and wearing really wide neckties.
In ‘Lucky,’ a contemplation of the reality of death
‘Lucky’ tackles both aging and death with feeling and dignity.
Directed by John Carroll Lynch (Magnolia Pictures, 2017)
Harry Dean Stanton died on September 15, 2017 at the age of 91. This was just after completing the film Lucky, in which Stanton plays a man named Lucky who is approaching the end of his life and contemplating the reality of death and the meaning of existence. It’s a powerful convergence and gives Lucky an even more momentous and sobering dimension.
Women are the true heroes of Star Wars
It’s not only in Star Wars where men flake out and women hold firm—it happens in scripture, too.
I went to see The Last Jedi with some immature trepidation, since I’m more emotionally invested in this story than I should be, not being a teenager doing crappy cosplay before I knew cosplay was a thing anymore. For me, you see, the Star Wars epic is not just a story. It’s one of “my” stories—the stories I have carried with me and that helped shape my imagination, my sense of humanity, and my understanding of our relationships to the cosmos.
Reminiscing about high school with ‘Lady Bird’
Greta Gerwig’s characters are real, flawed people whose struggles and successes aren’t all that different from those I faced at my all-girls high school.
I have never seen a movie more true to experience at an all-girls Catholic high school than Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird.