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New stories on the homepage

We’re currently featuring three new stories on the homepage.

First is Robert Mickens’s latest Letter from Rome, in which he writes on what’s likely to be a “long and forceful campaign by church officials to defend” the canonization of Junípero Serra, on the behind-the-scenes work to launch the Holy Year of Mercy, and on photographic evidence of a female archbishop inside the Vatican. Read the whole thing here.

Letters | Teaching prisoners, seminarians & ourselves


Kudos to Robert Cowan for saying that the objections that scuttled Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to pay for college classes for prison inmates were “shortsighted.” By refusing to fund what these politicians sardonically labeled “Attica University,” they show themselves penny-wise but pound-foolish, as well as ostrich-like in their refusal to see some basic facts.

Held to Account

In a March 2014 interview, Pope Francis was given an opportunity to comment on the sexual-abuse scandal, a subject he had said remarkably little about since his election. Acknowledging the “deep wounds” suffered by victims, Francis went on to defend the church as the only public institution to address such crimes “with transparency and responsibility.” No one else has done more, he continued, and yet “the church is the only one to be attacked.”

Risks Worth Taking

After months of grueling negotiations, Iran and six world powers, led by the United States, have “agreed to come to an agreement” regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Economic sanctions put in place by the UN, the EU, and the United States will be lifted once it is verified that Iran has dismantled those elements of its nuclear industry that can readily be turned to the production of a nuclear weapon.

Letters | How seminaries talk about sex

The rest of the story?

What's on the website

Featured right now on the website: Robert Mickens's latest Letter from Rome, in which he reports on preparations for Holy Week at the Vatican (Francis will "wash the feet of inmates at the Rebibbia Detention Centre on the outskirts of Rome. And, as in the past, some of them will be women"), as well as on new comments from Cardinal Kasper on mercy, expectations for the October synod, and Francis's feelings about clericalism ("he hates it!"). Read the whole Letter from Rome here.

An Ugly Business

Democratic politics can be an ugly business. That truism seems to have been one of the guiding principles behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election as Israel’s prime minister. Finding himself in a close race with a reinvigorated Labor Party, Netanyahu resorted to scare-mongering and demagoguery on what one is tempted to call an almost biblical scale. First, he got himself invited by House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress.

The new issue is live

Our March 20 issue is now on the website. Among the highlights:

A three-part story featuring Lisa Fullam, Marian Crowe, and Christopher C. Roberts writing on contraception and Catholic identity -- from Natural Family Planning to the difference between belief and practice to the possibility of revisiting doctrine.

Letters | Garvey’s Grace, Boehner’s Chutzpah


Was saddened to tears to read about John Garvey’s death (“Not Ours to Mend,” February 20). I have loved his writing for years—his columns in Commonweal, his slim, elegant books. I have particularly cherished his columns for their compassion and their humor. His joy in Orthodox theology gave me a new appreciation for that rich tradition. My heart reaches out to his wife, their children, his friends and colleagues. Godspeed home, John.

Elizabeth Lynn
San Pablo, Calif.