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Make it plain

Pencil Preaching for Monday, May 17, 2021

John Kerry, US climate envoy, meets pope and speaks at Vatican conference

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, met privately with Pope Francis May 15, the day after he gave a keynote address at a closed-door meeting of the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences.

With you always

Pencil Preaching for Sunday, May 16, 2021

20 years later, what can Russo's 'Empire Falls' teach us about Catholic faith?

Book review: God, praised for benevolence, scolded for inscrutability, is a presence in Richard Russo's Empire Falls. "You probably suspect," Russo once told an audience, "I was an altar boy straight through high school."

Carole King's 'Tapestry' remains a masterpiece 50 years after its release

Perspective: Gilded trophies and money aside, "Tapestry" retains its iconic status, now 50 years later, for one reason and one reason only — King herself.

Ascension of the Lord: It's now your turn

Scripture for Life: Today, we are called to remember who we are. We are the baptized. We have received the Spirit. Yet our temptation is to keep looking to heaven instead of trusting Christ's judgment.

Inclusive 'Lady of Guadalupe' portrays ethnic, cultural groups of colonial Mexico

Movie review: The inspiring film "Lady of Guadalupe" is an homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to St. Juan Diego, and their place in the cultures of North and Central America especially.

A meditation on Mars, and beyond

Soul Seeing: A rover has been searching for signs of life on Mars. Might its findings challenge our religious beliefs about God, or help to narrow the centuries-old gulf between faith and science?

How Jersey City middle schoolers stopped a flood

Covering Climate Now: In downtown Jersey City, students at the Dr. Michael Conti Public School No.5 took a real-life problem — stormwater runoff and flooding — and solved it with environmental civil engineering.

Democrats defend a tax boon for rich homeowners

"Anything the Trump administration did must be wrong." This view is a guiding principle of many Democrats. The principle seems to apply even to a limit that Trump's 2017 tax laws put on a tax deduction for rich homeowners.