New issue is now live

Our new issue is now live.From Alice McDermotts piece on the faith of a Catholic novelist:

I suppose its an occupational hazard of mineafter more than thirty years in this writing businessto apply writing metaphors to any number of things, but lately I have felt the urge to ask my fellow Catholics who are so clear about their various and complex opinions regarding abortion, torture, religious freedom, even charity, the question I often ask myselfand my writing studentswhen a creative effort threatens to implode under the weight of its own complex plot or loquacious characters or entangled prose: What is at the simple heart of all this palaver? What is it that you believe to be true?One of the most successful writing assignments I ever gave was to an intelligent class of imaginative and well-read adult students whose circuitous narratives kept spooling away from them. Write a short story, I told them, that begins with these three words:The point is....After all this time as a Catholic, I begin to fear that our politics, our opinions, our complex arguments and arrangements and attitudes have allowed our beliefs to spool away from us too. Like muddled writers, we forget the simple heart of what it was we wanted to say.

From Margaret OBrien Steinfelss column on the use of drones:

Some have suggested that drones provide a great tactical advantage without really changing the ethical calculus of warfare. After all, they argue, in a war zone it makes no difference whether terrorists are killed with a bullet from a machine gun or a missile launched from a drone overhead. A dead terrorist is a dead terrorist.In fact, the new technology does make a difference. Compared to boots on the ground, drones are cheap, durable, and they dont complain. Whats more, the man or woman who actually pulls the trigger in a drone strike is thousands of miles away and therefore in no danger of being killed or injured. And theres this plus: Drones will never require pensions or health-care benefits. That may be one reason the U.S. government has also come to think of drones as the lesser of many evils. So far, drones are estimated to have killed somewhere between 3,000 and 4,700 peoplesome of them terrorists, some not.

Also: reviews of Sonia Sotamayors My Beloved Worldand Alice Munros Dear Life,plus an interview with novelist Richard Ford. See the entire table of contents here. 

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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