Why Not Women?
Commonweal Magazine
by Alice McDermott
9h ago
Why Not Women? Otto Preminger’s film The Cardinal was released in 1963, when I was ten years old, so I guess it was some years later that it appeared on TV. I recall watching it with my mother. I watched many movies with my mother. Early on, there’s a scene where a young priest tells his pregnant sister’s doctors that they must let her die in order to save her unborn child. I turned to my mother in disbelief. Would that really happen? “Oh yes,” my mother assured me, placidly enough. “That’s the rule in the Catholic Church. The baby’s life comes before the life of the mother.” Until then, I’d ..read more
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Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day?
Commonweal Magazine
by Edward Tverdek
1d ago
Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day? Is it time to declare the party over? Are we ready to pronounce Earth Day an occasion for mourning rather than celebration? As we seem increasingly unable to address the climate crisis, who do we think we are honoring a planet we’re effectively trashing? We wouldn’t expect parents who neglect their daughter 364 days out of the year to throw an elaborate party for her on her birthday. Why do we celebrate Earth Day in a world seemingly on the irreversible slide toward catastrophe? In the heady years following Earth Day’s 1970 debut—and arguably well into the 1980 ..read more
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O. J. Simpson, Again
Commonweal Magazine
by Paul Baumann
3d ago
O. J. Simpson, Again The death of football phenom, advertising pitchman, movie actor, and accused murderer O. J. Simpson earlier this month brought forth an avalanche of commentary from those who remember the impact his trial and acquittal had on the country. Like many others, I remember exactly where I was when the verdict came down in 1995. I was in Commonweal’s offices on Dutch Street in lower Manhattan. It was a somewhat derelict building on what was essentially an alley between Fulton and John Streets near the Financial District. Several blocks to the east was the South Street Seaport ..read more
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Dignity and Gender
Commonweal Magazine
by The Editors
5d ago
Dignity and Gender On April 8, the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith released the Declaration Dignitas Infinita on human dignity. Timed to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the document lays out a forceful vision of the indelible “dignity of the human person in Christian anthropology”: “Every human person possesses an infinite dignity, inalienably grounded in his or her very being, which prevails in and beyond every circumstance, state, or situation the person may ever encounter.”  Most of the Declaratio ..read more
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Biden & Bibi
Commonweal Magazine
by Alexander Stern
6d ago
Biden & Bibi During the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden drew a number of explicit contrasts with his predecessor over Iran. He bemoaned Trump’s withdrawal from the Obama administration’s nuclear deal limiting Iran’s uranium-enrichment activities. He criticized Trump’s impulsive unilateral military actions, such as the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soulemani, and pledged to recommit to multilateral diplomacy and cooperation with the United Nations and other allies. He even suggested Trump was “dangerously close” to starting a war with Iran. To be sure, Biden has taken steps to ..read more
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The Entitlement of Robert Kennedy Jr.
Commonweal Magazine
by Dominic Preziosi
6d ago
The Entitlement of Robert Kennedy Jr. “It’s time we put a Kennedy back in the White House,” says Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the seventy-year-old nephew of the only Kennedy to have served as president. Why now, sixty-four years after the election of John F. Kennedy, and why him? The independent candidate offers no direct answer: his campaign appeals to nostalgia and is motivated by a sense of dynastic entitlement. “It would be my good fortune if I could play an important or heroic role” in American life, he wrote in a 2018 memoir. No doubt it would. The question is why the country should help him ..read more
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In the Shadow of Rome
Commonweal Magazine
by John W. Farrell
1w ago
In the Shadow of Rome It’s difficult to imagine classical philosophy without Plato and Aristotle. But as Charles Freeman writes in his engrossing new book, The Children of Athena, it’s a minor miracle their works, which date from the fourth century BC, survived the devastating decline of the Roman Empire and were even available to form the foundation of the Western philosophical tradition. “The works of Aristotle appear to have been neglected after his death,” Freeman writes, “and by the time they were recovered in the first and second centuries there were immense problems of interpretation ..read more
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Words with Friends
Commonweal Magazine
by David Skinner
1w ago
Words with Friends About ten years ago, Sarah Ogilvie, a former editor at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), had some time on her hands. She was awaiting a visa that would bring her to the United States for a new job. With little else to do, she visited her favorite hangouts in the town of Oxford, soaking up the sights and smells of the place she was about to leave. One day, she stopped in at the OED’s archives in the basement of the Oxford University Press for a final look around. Although the dictionary was not founded at the university, the OED might be described as the Oxford of dictio ..read more
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Experiencing the Total Eclipse
Commonweal Magazine
by Jonathan Malesic
1w ago
Experiencing the Total Eclipse You need those special glasses. This is true. It’s also true that “Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him,” as Annie Dillard writes in her essay, “Total Eclipse.” “Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it.” I had seen two partial eclipses of 70 percent or so in recent years. They impressed me at the time. But they were trifles compared to what I saw on April 8. I had a minimal viewing plan: go to the park a block away just before the sun went dark ..read more
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Ordinary Life, Elevated
Commonweal Magazine
by Jonathan Malesic
2w ago
Ordinary Life, Elevated You need those special glasses. This is true. It’s also true that “Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him,” as Annie Dillard writes in her essay, “Total Eclipse.” “Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it.” I had seen two partial eclipses of 70 percent or so in recent years. They impressed me at the time. But they were trifles compared to what I saw on April 8. I had a minimal viewing plan: go to the park a block away just before the sun went dark. Maybe I ..read more
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