Statting While Catholic

From Web Exclusives

As a Catholic statistician, I tend to read any story headlined with “Surveys say Catholics . . .” ready to flinch. Robert Wuthnow and Emma Green have both raised serious questions about how much religion polls can tell us, and how easy they are to misinterpret.Since I work as a data journalist . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Strengthen Catholic Community

From Web Exclusives

As the Synod on the Family continues, a number of Catholic writers are questioning whether it’s really nice to exclude the divorced and remarried from Communion. The people on the margins of the church, the people oppressed by sin and circumstance are the ones who can least weather being pushed . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholic Census

From Web Exclusives

I never got closer than a football field to Pope Francis when he visited Washington D.C., but it was enough to be around all the people who had also come out to be as close as we could to the pope. My friend from church spotted me and ran over to pray together, I exchanged names with a pair of . . . . Continue Reading »

Personal Plato

From Web Exclusives

When scientists like Laurence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson call philosophers to answer for their crimes today, the lovers of wisdom aren’t accused of anything as exciting as corrupting the youth.

Prisoners Are Calling. Who’s Answering?

From Web Exclusives

Prisons, at the very minimum are intended as quarantine; keeping cities and towns safer by removing criminals from their midst. But, in the opinion of one prisoner in Brazil, he’s more at liberty behind bars than out on the streets. Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho told one reporter, “It is you who are afraid of dying, not me. As a matter of fact, here in jail you cannot come in and kill me . . . but I can order to kill you out there.” Continue Reading »

Incurious Dawkins

From the March 2014 Print Edition

Richard Dawkins’ An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist invites comparisons with C. S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Both are memoirs by thinkers who seemed a little surprised to end up as apologists, much less as writers whom growing numbers would credit with their conversion or de-conversion. Unfortunately, there is much more joy in Lewis’ work than there is wonder in Dawkins’. Continue Reading »

The Joyless House of Cards

From Web Exclusives

The second season of Netflix’s House of Cards introduces a new aide for Vice President Frank Underwood, who seems to have a puppyish enthusiasm for intrigue. Seth Grayson, trying to prove his sneaky bona fides, applies for a job as press secretary by digging up damaging information on the . . . . Continue Reading »

New Year’s Habits

From Web Exclusives

New Year’s Resolutions tend to focus on new skills and habits to acquire. This is the year you’ll finally go to the gym or start taking lessons to brush up on your French or learn computer programming. But as the year begins, it can be salutary to think about what you already spend time practicing and if there are ‘lessons’ you’d like to drop. . . . Continue Reading »

A Nation of Valjeans

From Web Exclusives

The action in the musical version of Les Misérables begins when Jean Valjean is released from prison. After his release, his identity as a convict bars him from work, shelter, and human company, until he meets a saintly bishop, and his character arc kicks into gear. For the condemned in our prisons, there is no guarantee of a kindly bishop or an operatic epiphany… . Continue Reading »