Religious Life

Unction Dysfunction

According to Catholic discipline, there is only one kind of person who can offer anointing of the sick: a priest. But there aren’t enough priests to go around.

The Myth, the Monk, the Man

One of Merton’s gifts as a writer was the ability to insinuate himself into the lives of those he'd never met and remain a personal presence decades after his death.

Letter from Rome

The Vatican killed all interest in World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, but Francis let that go to outflank various groups that oppose his other initiatives

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?

Reading Left to Right

Biographer Randy Boyagoda paints Richard John Neuhaus as an unusually ambitious and politically engaged priest as public intellectual—but is his narrative too tidy?

Letter from Rome

Italian bishops join Francis in strongly denouncing European handling of migrant crisis; Are opponents of Cardinal Kasper's proposal releasing yet another book?

Letter from Rome

Traditionalists grumble Francis is stacking the Synod assembly with "lefties"; 2016 World Day of Peace theme is announced, along with a long list of global issues.

How to Do a Funeral

No one in the congregation was paying much attention to what Father Pastor was saying about the deceased. They were focused on where he'd put his reading glasses.

The Wisdom of the Beguines

Swan’s book does a good job of explaining both the beguines’ spiritual practices in the context of their own times and how their continuing legacy affects us today.

Commonweal Interviews

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

Artist, Activist, Martyr

Bolivia's gift to Francis of a hammer-and-sickle crucifix implied its artist was a secret Marxist. I was disconcerted: This was not at all the Luis Espinal I knew.

Letter from Rome

Who sits with Francis in the papal plane; How Benedict contrasts with history's other pope emeritus; Why one Italian mayor is mad the pope won't take a vacation.
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