Commonweal Magazine

Commonweal Magazine Catholic, independent, opinionated. A journal at the intersection of faith and contemporary politics and culture, edited by lay Catholics since 1924. Subscribe at www.cwlmag.org/subscribe
Commonweal is an independent journal of opinion edited by lay Catholics. It is an indispensable lifeline for Catholics who want to be part of an informed, engaged, independent-minded laity, as well as for readers of every faith seeking an open, tolerant forum for interreligious conversation.

Commonweal is an indispensable lifeline for Catholics who want to be part of an informed, engaged, independent-minded laity, as well as for readers of every faith seeking an open, tolerant forum for interreligious conversation. Commonweal provides a place for civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture. Read by a passionate audience of educated, committed Catholics and readers from many other religious traditions, Commonweal presents well-argued, respectful points of view from across the ideological spectrum. Our lay-run, independent status is inseparable from our role as a community of open conversation. Independence, clarity, charity, and a certain complexity are Commonweal’s watchwords. We believe challenging ideas need breathing room, explained and articulated not in slogans or sound bites but at length when necessary, always striving to be both informed and accessible to the general reader. Our institutional independence allows Commonweal sometimes to raise unsettling questions, consider novel, sometimes suspect ideas, and support the advance of Catholic thought. Rather than an ideology, Commonweal represents a sensibility. We believe that the quality of conversation shapes our shared sense of what is possible—and that this conversation has to embrace the imaginative and the visionary alongside the pragmatic and the empirical. In religious matters, Commonweal has always embodied the Second Vatican Council’s admonition that the church has important things to learn from modernity, especially from liberal democracy, at the same time that our culture is in need of the moral and social vision distilled in the best of religious tradition. Since its founding in 1924 Commonweal has staked a claim for religious principles and perspective in American life, and for laypeople’s voices within the church. The magazine has been credited with helping prepare American Catholics for Vatican II and its aftermath, and Commonweal’s current readers say it has helped them weather the sexual-abuse scandal in the church and work through questions and frustrations related to the role of women, the relationship between religion and politics, and church teachings on sexuality. The magazine has an ongoing interest in social justice, ecumenism, just-war teaching, liturgical renewal, women’s issues, the primacy of conscience, and the interchange between Catholicism and liberal democracy. Today Commonweal publishes many of the leading theologians, writers, and public figures in the United States, including Alice McDermott, Luke Timothy Johnson, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, Paul Elie, and Sidney Callahan, among many others. Commonweal is published 20 times a year in print as well as in digital formats, including special issues each year dedicated to contemporary theology, interreligious dialogue, books, and fiction. It also operates a continuously updated website at www.commonwealmagazine.org. It is published by the nonprofit Commonweal Foundation, and its governance involves no institutional church affiliation.

In 'Softness of Bodies,' poetry and theft are the two activities through which to escape the world of money, competition...
03/12/2020
A Poet and a Thief | Commonweal Magazine

In 'Softness of Bodies,' poetry and theft are the two activities through which to escape the world of money, competition, and opportunity-cost calculations.

In 'Softness of Bodies,' the story of a flighty young poet in Berlin pivots from comedy to drama, from shoplifted shoes to darker issues of money and violence.

For Robert Imbelli, Benedict's defense of celibacy does not mean he's abandoned Vatican II.
03/12/2020
Benedict & Vatican II | Commonweal Magazine

For Robert Imbelli, Benedict's defense of celibacy does not mean he's abandoned Vatican II.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI didn’t turn his back on Vatican II: he endorsed its core ideas, emphasizing the person of Christ and our role as Christ’s body.

The church may not need modern genetics to make its case for human equality, but it should continue to be responsive to ...
03/12/2020
Evolution & Racism | Commonweal Magazine

The church may not need modern genetics to make its case for human equality, but it should continue to be responsive to scientific discoveries.

The evolving scientific consensus against racial hierarchies strengthens church teachings about equality and human dignity.

Gabriel Marcel worked with the Red Cross for only a short time, but he spent the rest of his life responding to anguishe...
03/11/2020
From Problem to Mystery | Commonweal Magazine

Gabriel Marcel worked with the Red Cross for only a short time, but he spent the rest of his life responding to anguished inquirers, trying to do justice to their loves and losses.

Problems have solutions, while mysteries like suffering, love, and death do not. They must be instead lived out with attention to human richness and interconnection.

In his new, monthly book column, Anthony Domestico provides a wide-ranging round-up of work, play, and poetry, including...
03/11/2020
Work, Play, Poetry | Commonweal Magazine

In his new, monthly book column, Anthony Domestico provides a wide-ranging round-up of work, play, and poetry, including Paul Mariani's buoyant work of criticism.

Columnist Anthony Domestico reviews biographies, baseball novels, literary criticism, and poetry in the first installment of his new web series.

If, as one Founding Father put it, "conscience is the most sacred property of all," who do we have left in Trump's White...
03/11/2020
Crisis of Conscience | Commonweal Magazine

If, as one Founding Father put it, "conscience is the most sacred property of all," who do we have left in Trump's White House?

Administration officials asked to judge the president fairly often find themselves out of a job when their consciences come into conflict with Trump’s demands.

Melancholy is a familiar feeling for the left, but there is danger in preemptively settling for "virtuous defeat."
03/10/2020
Beautiful Losers | Commonweal Magazine

Melancholy is a familiar feeling for the left, but there is danger in preemptively settling for "virtuous defeat."

Melancholy is a familiar feeling for the left, but there is danger in preemptively settling for "virtuous defeat."

Democrats need broad support to defeat Trump. And right now, Biden is the best bet.
03/10/2020
The Burning Question | Commonweal Magazine

Democrats need broad support to defeat Trump. And right now, Biden is the best bet.

It is the responsibility of all Democrats to unite behind the nominee. Right now, Joe Biden is the most likely—and arguably the best—choice.

For Andrew Bacevich, "The Decadent Society" offers a fresh take on an old subject: the decline of Western civilization.
03/09/2020
Sustainable Decadence | Commonweal Magazine

For Andrew Bacevich, "The Decadent Society" offers a fresh take on an old subject: the decline of Western civilization.

Ross Douthat’s new book argues that our society has stagnated, with young people unable to form meaningful, lasting relationships.

A new book blames generational differences, rather than conservative politics, for the plight of young people today.
03/09/2020
Don’t Blame Boomers | Commonweal Magazine

A new book blames generational differences, rather than conservative politics, for the plight of young people today.

Joseph Sternberg’s latest book blames generational differences, rather than conservative politics, for the plight of young people today.

Record players, push-up contests, and running for...Senate? Matthew Sitman on how Biden may not be up to the rigors of a...
03/08/2020
The “Weekend at Bernie’s” Primary | Commonweal Magazine

Record players, push-up contests, and running for...Senate? Matthew Sitman
on how Biden may not be up to the rigors of a general election campaign.

The democratic establishment continues to prop up Joe Biden, despite his alarming incoherence and deteriorating mental acumen.

Cathleen Kaveny reflects on death, memory, and Augustine's fullness of time.
03/08/2020
The Fullness of Time | Commonweal Magazine

Cathleen Kaveny reflects on death, memory, and Augustine's fullness of time.

“We might then think of our redeemed bodies almost like diamonds, simultaneously refracting different times of our lives as we turn in the light of God’s love.”

Think of a vote for Bernie like eating a dinner of chicken nuggets and watching Frozen 2. Is it your first choice? Hones...
03/07/2020
A Plea to My Fellow Warren Moms | Commonweal Magazine

Think of a vote for Bernie like eating a dinner of chicken nuggets and watching Frozen 2. Is it your first choice? Honestly, no. But you’re doing it because your kids like it.

Elizabeth Warren deserved better, but it's now time to close ranks around Bernie.

If you needed proof that Oscar nominations are capricious and routinely neglect excellent films, here are three prime pi...
03/07/2020
Oscar Oversights | Commonweal Magazine

If you needed proof that Oscar nominations are capricious and routinely neglect excellent films, here are three prime pieces of evidence, all worth watching.

If you needed proof that Oscar nominations are capricious and routinely neglect excellent films, here are three prime pieces of evidence.

In books, our literary columnist reviews an imaginative biography, a buoyant work of criticism, and the best baseball no...
03/06/2020
Work, Play, Poetry | Commonweal Magazine

In books, our literary columnist reviews an imaginative biography, a buoyant work of criticism, and the best baseball novel ever.

Columnist Anthony Domestico reviews biographies, baseball novels, literary criticism, and poetry in the first installment of his new web series.

When 60% of the world's population could be infected, transparency and effective containment are more important than eve...
03/06/2020
The Contagion Escalates | Commonweal Magazine

When 60% of the world's population could be infected, transparency and effective containment are more important than ever.

Containing and effectively addressing Coronavirus requires honesty and responsibility from the Chinese government.

Tales of the West have been a part of our national imagination for years. Rather than simply debunking these dreams, a n...
03/06/2020
Is There Still a West? | Commonweal Magazine

Tales of the West have been a part of our national imagination for years. Rather than simply debunking these dreams, a new history demystifies them.

Capturing diverse perspectives and humanizing legends, H. W. Brands’ new history of the American West is eloquent and informative.

For those in Washington, Trump’s abnormal behavior time and again forces the issue: Who are you going to believe, me or ...
03/05/2020
Crisis of Conscience | Commonweal Magazine

For those in Washington, Trump’s abnormal behavior time and again forces the issue: Who are you going to believe, me or your own conscience?

Administration officials asked to judge the president fairly often find themselves out of a job when their consciences come into conflict with Trump’s demands.

For Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, the differences between the leadership and the constituency are more than cult...
03/05/2020
Deep Roots | Commonweal Magazine

For Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, the differences between the leadership and the constituency are more than cultural. Like so much else in Israel and Palestine, it's also about land.

Lack of local representation plagues the Orthodox Church in Palestine, where the largely Greek-born clergy fails to defend Palestinian interests.

What films like Francesco and Corpo Celeste suggest is that innocence in a Christian context can become a possibility on...
03/04/2020
Born Guilty | Commonweal Magazine

What films like Francesco and Corpo Celeste suggest is that innocence in a Christian context can become a possibility only at the moment people understand that they are not innocent.

Innocence is not just something to be lost, but also a gift to be received and a state we strive for.

Sanders was right: Morales was a successful leader. But he also lacked respect for democratic norms.
03/04/2020
Was Evo Morales a Dictator? | Commonweal Magazine

Sanders was right: Morales was a successful leader. But he also lacked respect for democratic norms.

Bernie Sanders defended a successful leader who shares his socialist vision but lacked sufficient respect for democratic norms.

On the latest episode of The Commonweal Podcast, E.J. Dionne, Jr on how we should understand the current split between s...
03/04/2020
The Democrats' Dilemma | Commonweal Magazine

On the latest episode of The Commonweal Podcast, E.J. Dionne, Jr on how we should understand the current split between so-called “progressives” and “moderates” in the Democratic Party.

How should we understand the current split between so-called “progressives” and “moderates” in the Democratic Party? In the middle of an uncertain primary campaign, where can they find compromise and unity? Longtime Commonweal columnist and political scientist E.J. Dionne, Jr. joins associat...

The revelations of Jean Vanier's abuse have shocked the Catholic world. But to start healing, we're all called to "clean...
03/03/2020
A Light Extinguished | Commonweal Magazine

The revelations of Jean Vanier's abuse have shocked the Catholic world. But to start healing, we're all called to "cleanse the waters of perception."

Lies and deception have compromised the integrity of the mission of L’Arche. But it has also responded with humility and integrity, and begun the work of healing.

"As I watch Biden stumble through speeches and debate answers, I keep wondering why so few people seem alarmed."
03/03/2020
The “Weekend at Bernie’s” Primary | Commonweal Magazine

"As I watch Biden stumble through speeches and debate answers, I keep wondering why so few people seem alarmed."

The democratic establishment continues to prop up Joe Biden, despite his alarming incoherence and deteriorating mental acumen.

What Trump's budget proposal reveals, writes the editors, is his obsession with superficial markers of national glory an...
03/02/2020
Trump’s Budget | Commonweal Magazine

What Trump's budget proposal reveals, writes the editors, is his obsession with superficial markers of national glory and supremacy.

Trump’s budget proposes deep cuts to social and environmental programs and increased military spending, prioritizing vanity projects over people’s welfare.

For Phil Klay, Houellebecq’s new novel is “crude, sexist, shapeless.” But, it also sparked more serious thinking than mo...
03/02/2020
Nothing Left Worth Saving | Commonweal Magazine

For Phil Klay, Houellebecq’s new novel is “crude, sexist, shapeless.” But, it also sparked more serious thinking than most books he’s read in the past year.

Set in a miserable dystopia, Houellebecq’s latest novel is both thought-provoking and wearying, fronted by a hypercynical yet dangerously nostalgic narrator.

From earlier this week, Michael Marchal provides a reflection on the words of Ash Wednesday.
03/01/2020
Repent & Believe | Commonweal Magazine

From earlier this week, Michael Marchal provides a reflection on the words of Ash Wednesday.

The message that accompanies the ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday should invite us to community, love, and repentance rather than guilt or fear.

When it comes to end-of-life decisions, church teaching needs to adequately grapple with harm caused by futile treatment...
03/01/2020
Giving Doctors a Say | Commonweal Magazine

When it comes to end-of-life decisions, church teaching needs to adequately grapple with harm caused by futile treatments.

Giving medical professionals some agency in end-of-life decisions can be consistent with church teaching. We just need to integrate the concept of futility.

Pope Francis didn't give us a dictate. Instead, he defers to the discernment of the local church, and this carries deep ...
03/01/2020
How to Read ‘Querida Amazonia’ | Commonweal Magazine

Pope Francis didn't give us a dictate. Instead, he defers to the discernment of the local church, and this carries deep implications.

Pope Francis hasn’t rejected any of the synod’s recommendations. Instead he’s listened carefully, and urges us to do the same.

If a modern paganism "sacralizes the emperor as an agent of God, scorns truth, despises the weak, and tortures the vulne...
02/29/2020
American Paganism | Commonweal Magazine

If a modern paganism "sacralizes the emperor as an agent of God, scorns truth, despises the weak, and tortures the vulnerable," then what do we call the politics of Trump?

The debate is not whether modern paganism is real, but where it lives, how it appears, and what it does. In contemporary politics, it's cruelty and violence.

For the weekend, three films blithely swept aside by the Academy—all streamable, and all worth watching.
02/29/2020
Oscar Oversights | Commonweal Magazine

For the weekend, three films blithely swept aside by the Academy—all streamable, and all worth watching.

If you needed proof that Oscar nominations are capricious and routinely neglect excellent films, here are three prime pieces of evidence.

Ezra Klein's recommendations to combat polarization would certainly make our political system more efficient. But would ...
02/29/2020
The Education of a Wonk | Commonweal Magazine

Ezra Klein's recommendations to combat polarization would certainly make our political system more efficient. But would it be more just?

By implementing Ezra Klein’s recommendations, we certainly would have a marginally more functional political system. But would it be more just?

Two films interrogate the meaning of 'innocence,'—not as something to be lost, but to be received.
02/28/2020
Born Guilty | Commonweal Magazine

Two films interrogate the meaning of 'innocence,'—not as something to be lost, but to be received.

Innocence is not just something to be lost, but also a gift to be received and a state we strive for.

Containing Coronavirus requires accurate information and responsibility from the Chinese government.
02/28/2020
The Contagion Escalates | Commonweal Magazine

Containing Coronavirus requires accurate information and responsibility from the Chinese government.

Containing and effectively addressing Coronavirus requires honesty and responsibility from the Chinese government.

When it’s not clear where a race-altering victory will come next for Buttigieg, Warren, or Klobuchar, Democratic voters ...
02/28/2020
Primary Choices | Commonweal Magazine

When it’s not clear where a race-altering victory will come next for Buttigieg, Warren, or Klobuchar, Democratic voters may be faced with a binary choice: Bernie or Bloomberg.

Democratic voters could end up being faced with a clear choice: either back a multi-racial grassroots coalition or accept that wealth entitles you to rule.

The revelations around Jean Vanier have been devastating, but we must tell the truth to begin the work of healing.
02/27/2020
A Light Extinguished | Commonweal Magazine

The revelations around Jean Vanier have been devastating, but we must tell the truth to begin the work of healing.

Lies and deception have compromised the integrity of the mission of L’Arche. But it has also responded with humility and integrity, and begun the work of healing.

For the editors, "Trump’s proposed budget is really a campaign document."
02/27/2020
Trump’s Budget | Commonweal Magazine

For the editors, "Trump’s proposed budget is really a campaign document."

Trump’s budget proposes deep cuts to social and environmental programs and increased military spending, prioritizing vanity projects over people’s welfare.

For Melody Gee, converting to Catholicism was not "just a new set of ideas or beliefs to take up, but a desire to turn a...
02/26/2020
Language & Conversion | Commonweal Magazine

For Melody Gee, converting to Catholicism was not "just a new set of ideas or beliefs to take up, but a desire to turn and follow whatever was speaking to me and learn to speak back."

Conversion, like language acquisition, can be both comforting and bittersweet, a constant struggle toward fluency and understanding.

A closer look at why Bernie Sanders defended the former Bolivian president.
02/26/2020
Was Evo Morales a Dictator? | Commonweal Magazine

A closer look at why Bernie Sanders defended the former Bolivian president.

Bernie Sanders defended a successful leader who shares his socialist vision but lacked sufficient respect for democratic norms.

This Ash Wednesday, try not to focus on 'dust.'
02/26/2020
Repent & Believe | Commonweal Magazine

This Ash Wednesday, try not to focus on 'dust.'

The message that accompanies the ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday should invite us to community, love, and repentance rather than guilt or fear.

Social democracy sparks a lot of alarm, but are Americans really more free than Germans or Danes?
02/25/2020
Three Cheers for Socialism | Commonweal Magazine

Social democracy sparks a lot of alarm, but are Americans really more free than Germans or Danes?

In the late modern world something like socialism is the only possible way of embodying Christian love in concrete political practices.

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Comments

Massimo Faggioli's Feb 14th article: "Francis Sidesteps the Synod's Recommendations" concludes with the final comment: "the sense of many Catholics is that this might be the last best chance for institutional reform—and that this also might be the last generation of Catholics willing to believe it’s possible. The moment is a crossroads for the Francis pontificate" -- and for the "modern" church as well.
For those who wanted the changes proposed by the Synod on the Amazon and now are disappointed that the Pope did not go far enough, in their eyes, what if the Pope had agreed with them and Bishops in the Amazon were given permission to ordain Married Deacons to the Priesthood. How long would it have been before other Bishops did likewise ? And would you have told those who sought to retain the discipline of unmarried Priest, that their views were outdated and demanded that all Bishops conform to these new teachings of the Church ? By having the Synod, the door has been opened wider to the changes proposed by the Synod. Change takes time and may take a new Pope or two.
I am not sure who invited me to read this outstanding article on Mayor Pete, but I encourage you to read it as well. It is long but well worth your time if only in that it gives a wonderful synopsis of the Democratic party's struggle for its soul. I remain undecided about Mayor Pete as our Party's candidate for the Presidency, but I am convinced that he is and will remain a viable candidate in the wings for future national leadership.
When I was a grad student at Fordham, a Jew in a Catholic theology department, we had a student who didn't leave me in peace. His Catholicism was that of Chaput--rigid traditionalism. I was very uncomfortable and went to my graduate advisor, a diocesan priest and biblical scholar --to ask what I could do. "Tell him to screw off," he said "and if he tries to harrass you when I'm around,I'll tell him to screw off." I realized then that I was in a safe place. A new Catholic church will be comfortable with non-Catholics and allow them to feel comfortable with Catholicism. The late Lubavicher Debbie said of secular Jews that you can't bully them into observance; you show them what it is and then love them into being Orthodox. You welcome them! Maybe the way to get people into church is to make it welcoming and nourishing with articulate homilies and priests with open arms--and minds. I finished my degree with great respect for the church.
This should be read by all pastors, bishops and permanent deacons. Proclamation of the gospel and preaching are primary. Service leadership is secondary.
Thank you for the article, Vatican Diplomacy & the Iraq War: Unheeded Warnings. One comment: when asked, at the time, by a reporter what he had to say to the average soldier about their role in pending unjust attack against Iraq, the Pope’s emissary Cardinal Pio Laghii said something to the effect that his remarks were intended for the authorities not the average soldier. In saying this, he, and the Vatican and US church, abdicated their responsibility to offer guidance to the soldiers about what was clearly an immoral war. Had they done so, the utter destruction of Iraq and the loss of so many lives might never have occurred. In contrast, here is what Bishop John Michael Boeten of the Romanian Catholic Diocese of Canton, OH said about the pending invasion of Iraq in his Lenten Message of March 7, 2003: “Since war is about the mass infliction of death and suffering on children of God, Christians can enter into it and fight in it only if the war in question strictly meets all the criteria of the just war theory, and only if these same standards are likewise meticulously observed in the course of fighting the war. Vague, loose, freewheeling, conniving, relaxed interpretations of Catholic just war theory and its application are morally illegitimate [as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says] because of ‘the gravity of such a decision.’ [The Catechism continues,] ‘The evaluation of these conditions of the just war theory for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good,’.... (2309) However, [the Bishop continues] the nation-state is never the final arbiter or authority for the Catholic of what is moral or for what is good for the salvation of his or her soul. What is legal can be evil and often has been. Jesus Christ and his Church, not the state, are the ultimate informers of conscience for the Catholic.” Finally, Bishop Boeten draws this conclusion: “According to this theory, if all of the conditions it specifies are adhered to, the killing that is done in fighting a war may be justifiable and therefore morally allowable. This theory also teaches that if any one of the standards is not met, then the killing that occurs is unjust and therefore morally impermissible. Unjust killing is by definition murder. Murder is intrinsically evil and therefore absolutely forbidden, no matter what good may seem to come of it.” Bishop Boeten concluded his message with this instruction to his people: “any direct participation [in] and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally incompatible with the Person and Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just war theory.”
We live in a promiscuous world. From the dawn of mankind's creation, they have fought against right and wrong. So many don't believe in either, doing what they want. That's the easy way out. Man's truly selfish nature runs rampant with indifference for self gratification. The Catholic Church teaches as Christ. It doesn't tell one what to do and not do. It teaches as Christ. What morality is and what it is not. One's conscience is one's judge. The Church has one big answer. We work at following Christ. The way He lived. The way He taught and the way He gave up His life to bring us to Our Father. If one can't take the heart of Christ's truth, That's between that person and our God. Not between that person and a representative of Christ, doing Christ's work. To mock a leader of good representing Christ, is no doubt, unknowingly, mocking God, perfect good.
Great articles which reflect the signs of the times. Many time we misinterpreted them or simply ignored them. But thank God that the Holy Spirit through discernment blows its wisdom in places that are needed. Exposing the true reality of our church, and enticing us to look beyond the surface of events, to get to the roots of our social sins.
Having just read about how the US bishops are diluting the messages of Pope Francis, and thus becoming less relevant in today's world, I was especially shocked to hear that they intend to make abortion, once again, the primary issue for the 2020 election. Very shortsighted and one-issue thinking. They need to realize that being pro-life has many facets besides abortion, including the dangers of overpopulation and, even more serious, the climate change issue. They also need to realize how out of step they are with most American Catholics, who have rejected the ban on birth control at a rate of 98%. If they are serious about reducing abortions, they need to come to grips with abortions are a direct result of unwanted pregnancies. The frightening thing is that their attitudes may result in the re-election of Donald Trump, who claims to be pro-life. If a man with his sexual history has not been responsible for at least one abortion, I will have my shirt for lunch. He has managed to convince evangelical Christians that he is on their side! This would be funny if it weren't so sad. Also sad is the opinion of the writer of the article that the Catholic Church in America is becoming isolated. We need to be more inclusive, not less. Christ would not endorse all the judgmentalism being handed down about contraception, abortion, divorce, etc. which has driven millions out of the church that he founded.
😢These are the sad facts how religion was used to enslave others and making the so call White Man playing God and Supreme over others. These are the ideas of Colonialism, Imperialism and Scientific Racism all created in the 15th and 16th Century that gave control over the entire world and the world still being convinced that this is how life should be, simply because of religious beliefs.
Single issue voters now have been given clearance to oppose any Democratic Party nominee, and re-elect Trump, the worst and most depraved, cruel and deceptive president of all time. What an ecclesiastical travesty,
Dug IN chronicles an Irish family’s quest for social justice. The book opens up during the 1916 Irish Rebellion. Ninety miles from Dublin, Joe Duggin and two friends are arrested to prevent them from getting involved in the fight for Independence. Joe and his friends knew nothing about the Rebellion. They are severely beaten up and kept in jail for a week. After repeated arrests and beatings, Joe and Mary decided to move to the U.S. so Joe isn’t in jail while his kids are growing up. Joe gets involved with starting a transit union to improve wages and working conditions. 10% of the proceeds go to the Catholic Worker movement.