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The Scandal of Calvary

From Web Exclusives

Is it possible for a film to capture the horror of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church while at the same time presenting a case for the necessity of the institutional priesthood? Against all odds, this is exactly what Irish director John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary manages to do. Father James (played with magnificent presence by Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest, if a haunted one. He is a widower and an alcoholic with a suicidal daughter and a parish full of troubled townspeople in rural Ireland. One afternoon a parishioner confesses to him that he was serially raped by a now-deceased priest as a child, and as a way of taking revenge, he will kill Fr. James in a week. Continue Reading »

Why We Should Welcome Abortion Narratives

From Web Exclusives

A few recent efforts have emerged to encourage women who have had an abortion to tell their stories. Take the 1 in 3 Campaign, for example, whose mission is to “start a new conversation about abortion” and to “create a more enabling cultural environment for the policy and legal work of the abortion rights movement.” Or New York Magazine’s “My Abortion” article in November of 2013 that allowed twenty-six women to give first-person accounts of their abortion stories. Or, more recently, the title essay in Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, where she recounts the story of her abortion. Abortion rights advocates hope that this will change the minds of those who wish to restrict abortion. Continue Reading »