Death and Dying

Catching Up & Passing On

Current students are taught by lay people. Our teachers were Benedictine monks, and teaching only begins to describe the role those virtuous men played in our lives.

Keeping the Books

In bed, before falling asleep, I say goodnight to Dad as I mark my place in my book. He is everywhere I am, as long as I’m reading.

Letters | Labor's losses, 'parvity,' hands off the ointment

Readers write in about Scott Walker's battle with organized labor, Ronald Reagan, FDR, vomit, extreme unction, and sins—mortal and otherwise.

Letters | Anointing the Sick, a Callous Court, James Agee

Readers offer a remedy for the church's "unction dysfunction," another disturbing aspect of the Supreme Court's lethal-injection ruling, and more on James Agee.


Set in bombed-out Berlin of 1945, Petzold's 'Phoenix' questions who was guilty, and of what, in the daily workings of the Holocaust—and will there be a reckoning?

'A God in Ruins'

Centered around the missing bomber pilot from 'Life After Life,' Atkinson's 'A God in Ruins' examines the interplay of real life and the life of the imagination.

'Small Mercies: A Novel'

Set on present day Staten Island Eddie Joyce's 'Small Mercies' traces the effect of 9/11 on the families of people living in “the servants’ quarters of New York."

Unmarked Territory

Dying is an adult activity. This has been one of its bigger surprises for me. I find I need to leave behind the child side of myself to go where I now need to go.

Letter from Rome

Following the Orthodox Church, Francis announces World Day of Prayer's theme; U.S. Bishops don't. Why is Francis silent about mob's "Godfather-like" funeral in Rome?

Last Word: Two Confederate Flags

While my husband snapped photos of the flag, I stood in silent debate with Big Ed. And then I spied another Confederate flag; an unwelcome sensation came over me.

Poem | Aunt Grace Wears Beautiful Clothes

Asleep, she has no idea she is old. // She’s running uphill, no lightfoot, but quite fast / past the houses and driveways of family friends / toward the higher...

Commonweal Interviews

Featuring the best of our interviews—including Woody Allen, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gordon, (Sister) Elizabeth McAlister, Christian Wiman, and Mario Cuomo...
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