Thomas Baker

Thomas Baker is the publisher of Commonweal

By this author

The Road to Character

“Character,” like “leadership” and “values,” is one of those virtuous-sounding, malleable words that frequently end up in places like prep school mission statements, where being more specific might be too threatening for everyone concerned. David Brooks, however, thinks character is the very word that describes what’s missing in our garish, self-centered society.

Greetings from the L.A. Congress

Greetings from the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, which, like the Los Angeles Angels, is actually in Anaheim, CA. Commonweal has a booth (#711) in the vast and enjoyably chaotic exhibit hall, so if you’re in the neighborhood, please stop in to say hi to your friends on the staff, happily recovering from a miserable New York winter here in the 90-degree California heat.

More 2014 Books: Parables, Homilies, Prayers, Maigret

Just to add to dotCommonweal’s recent end-of-year book recommendations, here are four 2014 favorites I’m giving to friends for Christmas.

Our Website Open House Starts Right Now

For the next two months (through November 12), access to the Commonweal website is totally free for all registered readers. It's one of the many ways we're celebrating our 90th Anniversary this fall.

Commonweal's Tablet App Now Free to Print Subscribers

About a year ago, we launched an extremely handsome Commonweal app for iPads, iPhones and Android tablets, and our goal all along was to make it an integral part of a Commonweal subscription. As of this week, it has finally happened: If you are a Commonweal print subscriber, you can now also read Commonweal using the app, free.

dotCommonweal Regular on CNN This Sunday

Our regular dotCommonweal contributor Rita Ferrone will be among the interviewees on a CNN special this weekend, "Pope Francis: A Man of Many Firsts." The schedule at has it set for Sunday at 7:30 PM eastern time. If it doesn't seriously conflict with your football viewing, give it a try.

Commonweal Summer Interns Tell All

Most news stories this summer about interns haven’t been positive, from the NTSB summer intern fired for “overstepping the bounds of his authority” to the obscene rant from New York’s most troubled mayoral campaign about their intern who spilled dirt to the tabloids.

At Commonweal, things were very different. I want to introduce you to Joanna Gardner and Sara Bovat, who were here for all too brief a time this summer as our interns — not only because they did such good work, but in the hope that dotCommonweal readers will let other talented young people know that being here can be a good experience. (Information here about our internship program.)

Joanna, a recent Catholic University graduate, is spending the next year with Amigos de Jesus in Honduras, while Sara is heading back for her senior year at Holy Cross. We wish them the best. Here’s what they had to say about their summer.

Joanna Gardner

As a new intern, you never really know what you’re walking into. You could become immersed in a challenging project, or find yourself doing the proverbial coffee-fetching for three months. Going into an internship with Commonweal, I wasn’t too worried about facing a summer of “sugar or sweetener?” but I was still nervous, intimidated by my admiration of the magazine, as I walked into the office on my first day. Now, at the end of a great summer, the familiarity of the office and the people in it is all the more amazing because of those initial nerves and uncertainty.

Scents of the Faithful

Notre Dame fans can plan their Christmas shopping early: Sports Business Daily reports (story only available to subscribers) that a new Notre Dame-branded fragrance debuts this fall in time for the football season, with pricing estimated at $60 for a 3.4-ounce bottle.

Introducing Dr. Baumann

Never one to seek the limelight, Commonweal's editor Paul Baumann nevertheless found himself there on Saturday, gaudily attired at the graduate commencement exercises at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Stephen Hough's Missa Mirabilis

The English pianist Stephen Hough is hardly unknown on the music scene; The New York Times