Luke Hill

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 

By this author

Built Chiefly by the Pennies of the Poor

If Pope Francis' words really are causing Cardinal Dolan, billionaire businessman Ken Langone, and others at the heart of the fundraising campaign to restore St. Patrick's Cathedral to lose out on "major gifts" by wealthy would-be benefactors, they can take some measure of comfort from the cathedral's original construction.

In his terrific 1997 book, American Catholic, Charles R. Morris uses the dedication of the still-unfinished cathedral on May 25, 1879 as his starting point for understanding the history of the US Catholic Church. 

Again I Say Rejoice

Israel Houghton’s exuberant “Again I Say Rejoice” seems appropriate for Gaudete Sunday.


The Lord Is Blessing Me Right Now

It's one thing to hear "The Lord Is Blessing Me Right Now".  It's another to see it sung by the Hands of Praise Deaf Choir from Canaan Baptist Church in Flint, MI.


Christian Love In Action: Whitey Bulger Trial Edition

Yesterday, a parade of survivors made their way to the witness stand at the Moakley Federal Courthouse to deliver "victim impact statements" before convicted gangster and long-time fugitive Whitey Bulger is sentenced for crimes committed during his decades-long reign of terror in South Boston.

Veterans, Conscientious Objectors & Guns of Love

For those observing both Veterans' Day and the feast of St. Martin of Tours (patron saint of soldiers and of conscientious objectors), here's Maura O'Connell's rousing cover of "Guns of Love".

"With guns of love brought into battle, the nights will burn like never before;
Pride will fall and foundations rattle, when guns of love put an end to war.

Praying for Senators...Whether They Like It or Not

The Rev. Dr. Barry Black is a Baltimore native, Seventh-Day Adventist, retired Rear Admiral, former Chief of Chaplains for the US Navy and, since 2003, the first African-American to serve as chaplain to the US Senate.

By opening the Senate in prayer each day, he's one of the few people US senators have to listen to...and to whom they can't talk back.

A trim, erect, dapper and distinguished-looking man, Rev. Black is not happy about this government shutdown.

The First Order of Business for Pope Francis and his Kitchen Cabinet

Long before Pope Francis selected Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley as the only North American to serve in the pontiff's "kitchen cabinet", O'Malley was a prolific blogger.

The Theology of Hip-Hop: Marshall Mathers Edition

If you never thought of rapper Eminem as an artist to turn to for theological insights on the nature and meaning of kairos and kenosis, join the crowd.

Open Thread On The Trayvon Martin Case

Here are links to both the video and the text of President Obama's remarkable, unscripted speech in the White House press room yesterday about Trayvon Martin.  What are your reactions?

The Sin of Racism and the Supreme Court's Catholic Majority

While still waiting to find out what provision of the Constitution section four of the Voting Rights Act violated (Justice Roberts' majority decision doesn't appear to ever get around to providing that little detail), it occurs to me that Shelby County v. Holder reflects, among other things, the ongoing failure of white American Catholicism to fully come to grips with the depths of the sin of racism in this country.

Daniel O'Connell, the great Liberator of 19th century Ireland, couldn't understand why Irish-Americans weren't at the forefront of the abolitionist movement.  Both O'Connell and his friend and ally, Frederick Douglass saw the two struggles as linked.

But Irish immigrants to the US ended up seeing it differently.  They saw a society much like the old one they'd left behind---where general prosperity and political freedom relied on the maintenance of a segregated and oppressed "other".  In the Old World the "other" was Irish Catholics.  In the New World, it was Blacks---and the newly American Irish fought bitterly to avoid getting caught on the wrong side of that dividing line.  Thomas Nast's racist, nativist and wildly popular political cartoons (example above) give a hint of how fluid and up for grabs the "race" line was in mid-19th century America.