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SEGMENT NOTES: In August 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a Grand-Jury Report detailing decades of sexual abuse by priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses, contending that throughout these years "the men of God who were responsible for these victims not only did nothing but hid it all."  Much of the narrative reported by the media was shaped solely by the report's twelve page introduction. But what about the roughly 1,300 pages of the report that followed? Peter Steinfels, longtime religion reporter for the New York Times and former editor of Commonweal, read and analyzed nearly every page of the report to discover what it contained— and what it didn't. He wrote up his findings in a major article, also our January 25th cover story.  

Matthew Sitman with Sam Adler-Bell

SEGMENT NOTES:  Associate editor Matthew Sitman talks with Sam Adler-Bell, senior policy associate at the Century Foundation, about Jonah Goldberg's Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy.

The Builders, Jacob Lawrence

Commonweal Staff on Alberto Giacometti Retrospective at The Guggenheim

SEGMENT NOTES: Editor Dominic Preziosi, assistant editor Griffin Oleynick, and former intern Lucy Grindon discuss the recent major Giacometti retrospective at The Guggenheim. Comprised of nearly two hundred sculptures, paintings, and drawings, this Giacometti exhibition aimed to introduce a new generation of museum-goers to the modernist master’s life and work. 

Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball, 1930-31

Anthony Domestico with Micheal O'Siadhail

SEGMENT NOTES: Contributor Anthony Domestico, Associate Professor of Literature at Purchase College, in discussion with Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail about his new collection Five Quintets

O'Siadhail, courtesy of Julia Hembree Smith

The Sex Abuse Crisis in the U.S.

SEGMENT NOTES:  Dominic Preziosi in conversation with Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, about revelations of sexual abuse and cover-up in six Pennsylvania dioceses and what meaningful reform would require. Following that, a chat with Commonweal contributor and Villanova Prof. Massimo Faggioli about the controversy raised by the "testimony" of former Nuncio Carlo Mario Viganò and why Francis's response to his allegations is, perhaps,  the right one.

Frmr Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

The Commonweal Podcast: Pilot Episode

Matthew Sitman and Cole Stangler: The Populist Turn in French Politics 

SEGMENT NOTES:  Associate editor Matthew Sitman and journalist Cole Stangler discuss the 2017
election of Emmanuel Macron, his opponent Marine Le Pen, and populist shifts in French politics.

President Emmanuel Macron

SEGMENT NOTES: Griffin Oleynick interviews Washington Post Op-Ed Columnist Christine Emba after attending "A Moral Economy: Faith and the Free Market," a conversation she moderated between Cardinal Joseph Tobin and economist Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Christine Emba

Griffin Oleynick with Christine Emba

Peter Steinfels on the PA Grand Jury-Report on Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 7 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: Following the recent publication of Paul J. Griffiths' review of Roger Scruton's book Where We Are: The State of Britain Now, senior editor Matthew Boudway continues the conversation about Brexit, "somewheres" and "anywheres," technocracies, and the shortcomings of democracy on a transnational stage.

Matthew Boudway Interviews Paul J. Griffiths 

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 2

SEGMENT NOTES: Staffers Griffin Oleynick, Nicole-Ann Lobo, and Meaghan Ritchey chat about the recent David Wojnarowicz exhibition at The Whitney Museum. Wojnarowicz was a multi-media artist working in NYC from the 1970s through 1992 when he died of AIDS-related complications. According to the exhibition's catalog, his "work documents and illuminates a desperate period of American history: that of the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But his rightful place is also among the raging and haunting iconoclastic voices, from Walt Whitman to William S. Burroughs, who explore American myths, their perpetuation, their repercussions, and their violence."

Commonweal Staff on David Wojnarowicz at The Whitney Musuem

SEGMENT NOTES: Contributing editor Paul Moses spoke with Donald Kerwin, the director of the Center for Migration studies, about the Trump administration's immigration policies, including: lowering the number of refugees admitted to the United States from 45,000 to 30,00, heightened rhetoric concerning programs like DACA, and aggressive actions taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Moses and Kerwin ask us to reflect on these policies in light of Catholic teaching on the Holy Family as a refugee family and migrant histories in scripture. 

Paul Moses and Donald Kerwin on U.S. Immigration Policy

SEGMENT NOTES: Julian Revie is a composer of sacred music at St. Thomas More, the Catholic Chapel at Yale University. His Composition "Kyrie"—which you can hear in this segment— won the Francesco Siciliani Prize in 2016. Here, Revie and assistant editor Griffin Oleynick discuss the process of musical composition, sacred artmaking as a vocation, and even the theology behind the "Kyrie." 

Griffin Oleynick and Julian Revie on Sacred Music  

SEGMENT NOTES: Senior editor Matthew Boudway and Dr. Alan Jacobs discuss Jacobs' new book The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of  Crisis, in which he recounts how thinkers like Jacques Maritain, T. S. Eliot, Simone Weil, C. S. Lewis, and W. H. Auden understood that their soon-to-be victorious nations weren't culturally or morally prepared for their power and success. Their work sought to articulate a sober critique of their own culture and outline a plan for spiritual regeneration in a postwar world. 

Matthew Boudway Interviews Alan Jacobs 

SEGMENT NOTES: The editors discuss their editorial "Injudicious," on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, subsequent Senate Judiciary hearings with him and Dr. Ford, and his conduct therein. And editor Dominic talks with managing editor Katherine Lucky about the power of female rage in this political moment. 

The Editors on the Brett Kavanaugh Hearings 

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 3

SEGMENT NOTES: From the radical power of poetry to the power of journalistic witness: reporter Dan Barry spent more than a decade crisscrossing the United States, chronicling ordinary lives and extraordinary moments for his regularly-running column in the New York Times, This Land. About a hundred of these standalone dispatches have now been collected in a hardcover book of the same name, supplemented with images from award-winning Times photographers. Dominic Preziosi talked to Dan not only about the book but also about the importance of journalism, local and otherwise, and what it’s like to be called an “enemy of the people” by the president of the United States.

Dominic Preziosi and Dan Barry

SEGMENT NOTES: Twelve million Americans go through the U.S. jail system on an annual basis, detained in facilities where they're often subject to brutal violence, deplorable sanitary conditions, or otherwise treated in ways that violate their human dignity. But just what does "dignity" mean, and what is its place in this age of mass incarceration? That's the subject of Derek Jeffrey's latest book, America's Jails: The Search for Human Dignity in an Age of Mass Incarceration. Jeffreys is a professor of humanities and religion at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and his work has appeared in Commonweal. 

Dominic Preziosi and Derek Jeffreys on U.S. Jails

SEGMENT NOTES: Emily Ruskovich's debut novel Idaho received wide acclaim in 2017, named a New York Times Editor's Choice and The Idaho Book of the Year; it was also shortlisted as a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Here, she talks with Commonweal contributor Anthony Domestico, who described Idaho as "a wondrous novel about the enchanting and terrifying wonders of experience: unexplained and unexplainable actions, the ways in which love can pivot to hate and back again, the strangeness of memory and loss and mercy."

Anthony Domestico and Emily Ruskovich

David Wojnarowicz

Julian Revie

Alan Jacobs

SEGMENT NOTES: Assistant editor and Garvey writing fellow Griffin Oleynick reported from the Vatican during Synod 2018, where he spoke with delegates, attendees, and others journalists. In this conversation with Dominic Preziosi, he recalls noteworthy developments and resolutions with regard to issues like the sex abuse crisis and migration in an increasingly xenophobic Europe. 

Griffin Oleynick Reporting on the 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 4 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: Meghan O'Gieblyn is the author of Interior States, a new collection of essays on topics such as living in what some call "flyover country," Contemporary Christian Music, and the concept of "hell" and how it is marketed to the masses. Her collection is being hailed by writers like Lorrie Moore and Daphne Merken, and here, Meghan talks about her work with managing editor Katherine Lucky. 

Katherine Lucky and Meghan O'Gieblyn 

Nicole-Ann Lobo, Rand Richards Cooper with Matthew Boudway  

SEGMENT NOTES: The poems in Katie Ford’s fourth collection, If You Have to Go, implore their audience—the divine and the human—for attention, for revelation, and, perhaps above all, for companionship. Our literary columnist Anthony Domestico spoke with Katie recently about the poems in the book, including the sonnet sequence at its heart. It’s a great conversationand hearing Katie read her work, as you willreally provides a sense of what poetry can do. 

Tony Domestico and Katie Ford 

SEGMENT NOTES: Commonweal contributing writer John Gehring is here with a wrap-up of November’s meeting of the US Bishops in Baltimore. He and editor Dominic Preziosi discuss his recent op-ed in the New York Times in which he suggests that "the church’s leaders should be open to at least discussing thorny issues around its patriarchal culture and its teachings about human sexuality and gender."

Wrap-up of the 2018 U.S. Bishops Meeting in Baltimore

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 5 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: Every Christmas we feature the Christmas Critics roundup -- a look at the books our writers and editors have read in the course of the year, and some reasons they're recommending them to you. Dominic Preziosi, Matt Sitman, Kate Lucky, and Griffin Oleynick discuss their favorite reads of 2018, discuss what they're reading now and are planning to read next. Plus, the bonus feature of snarky office banter. 

Christmas Critics Roundup 

SEGMENT NOTES: In March 2014, Marie Collins joined the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Pope Francis’s then-new commission on clergy sex abuse. The only abuse survivor in the group, she resigned from the commission in 2017 out of frustration with Vatican officials’ reluctance to cooperate with its work to protect children. Here, she speaks with Paul Moses about her experience on the commission, and her connection and conversations with Pope Francis in the time since. She also talks about her suggestions for the February meeting at the Vatican, including taking up the issue of the clerical sexual abuse of adults.

Paul Moses and Marie Collins on the Papal Commission on Sex Abuse 

SEGMENT NOTES:  Danielle Chapman's poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, The Nation, and Harvard Review, and a number of times in the pages of Commonweal. Our literary columnist Anthony Domestico spoke with in a recent wide-ranging conversation, touching on everything from metaphysics and John Ashbery to the State of Tennessee, the City of Chicago, and Shia LaBeouf. Danielle then declaims some of her own poetry, also available on the Commonweal website. 

Poet Danielle Chapman with Literary Critic Tony Domestico

SEGMENT NOTES: Editor Dominic Preziosi and senior editor Matt Boudway discuss how the package came together, noting that there is a variety and complexity to the stories of why people come or leave or stay. They remark that all of the contributors "agree on, if nothing else, that the question of whether to belong to the church and believe in its claims is not a trivial one." They continue the conversation with Ross Douthat, who came to the church because he sees its continuity and coherence as reasons to submit to Rome, and why he plans to stay regardless of apparent inconsistencies in the magisterium from pope to pope. Helene Stapinski discusses why she left the church for good after reading news of the lawsuits brought against the Diocese of Fairbanks, where she was a Jesuit Volunteer. And Dorothy Fortenberry on why she stays in the church "flawed and beautiful and impossible and massive" as it is. 

Why We Came.  Why We Left.  Why We Stayed.

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 6 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: A pair of posts on our website on cultural appropriation have spurred a renewed discussion on when, what, or even whether an artist or writer can borrow from another culture or group for his or her own endeavors, creative and otherwise. Here senior editor Matthew Boudway moderates a discussion between the authors of those posts, contributing writer Rand Richards Cooper and intern Nicole-Ann Lobo. Their talk takes off from the infamous comments on cultural appropriation from Lionel Schriver but soon moves into a host of other examples, including first-hand accounts from each on how they’ve personally confronted, and have been confronted with, the fraught notion of “cultural appropriation”. 

Rand’s piece, "Contending Aims, Contending Claims", originally ran in July; Nicole-Ann’s piece "Time to Listen" originally ran in September. Rand has just responded to Nicole-Ann again. You can find all three pieces on our website; where it’s likely this conversation will be continuing.


SEGMENT NOTES: Alice Quinn is the executive director of the Poetry Society of America, and is on the faculty of the graduate school of Columbia University. She was also the longtime poetry editor of the New Yorker. Here she speaks with our associate editor Matthew Sitman about her work and her life in poetry, including her instrumental role in the beloved program that brought poetry to the New York City subways.

Alice Quinn, director of the Poetry Society of America, with associate editor Matthew Sitman 

SEGMENT NOTES: The 2018 midterm elections brought sweeping changes to the membership of the U.S. Congress, but also revealed the many ways in which our country's electoral system remains fundamentally flawed. Despite increased turnout, voting rights in many places are still seriously constrained, and anything but guaranteed. In his book The Embattled Vote in America, Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, explains how even after two hundred years since America's founding, we still disagree over voting rights—in large part because of a crucial mistake made by the framers of the Constitution. 

Allan J. Lichtman on Voting Rights in the U.S.

SEGMENT NOTES: Vinson Cunningham is a staff writer at the New Yorker, where, among other things, he has written on Pope Francis, Aretha Franklin, and, more recently, how the idea of hell has shaped the way we think. Vinson came by the Commonweal office to talk with our associate editor Matthew Sitman about writing and reviewing, the “amazing empathy” of Dorothy Day, and the problem with the prosperity gospel—as well as hell. 

Matthew Sitman with New Yorker staff writer Vinson Cunningham

SEGMENT NOTES: The paintings of Hilma af Klint, the early twentieth-century Swedish abstractionist, are on exhibit at New York’s Guggenheim Museum through late April. Our associate publisher Meaghan Ritchey and assistant editor Griffin Oleynick have gone to see the show, and here they talk about the deeply spiritual nature of af Klint’s vision and the feeling of “abiding” by her work in the days that have followed. Griffin’s review of the Hilma af Klint show was the cover story of our January 4, 2019 issue and can be found on our website.

Meaghan Ritchey and Griffin Oleynick on Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim Museum

SEGMENT NOTES: On February 21st, the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences will gather at the Vatican for a three-day summit on the protection of minors from sexual abuse. Anticipation initially ran high, but with the Vatican tamping down expectations in the run-up to the meeting, there are questions over just what’s supposed to come from it. Here, Dominic Preziosi talks with contributor Massimo Faggioli about how the church is supposed to confront the global scope of the crisis. 

Dominic Preziosi and Massimo Faggioli on the Bishops Meeting on Clerical Sex Abuse 

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 8 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: Last winter, we sat down for a conversation with Fran Lebowitz, the writer, speaker, wit, and archetypal New York personality. Here you'll hear an excerpt from that interview, which lasted for more than two hours, in which we discuss the Trump presidency, #MeToo, former President Obama, the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and the rapidity of change in New York City. 

Fran Lebowitz with Nicholas Haggerty, James Lassen & Matthew Sitman

The Commonweal Podcast: Bonus Extended Cut

SEGMENT NOTES: Hosffman Ospino, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Boston College and the Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry, has written extensively on Latin American Catholicism and demographics in the U.S. Church. Recently, Commonweal's editor Dominic Preziosi talked with Hosffman about how the experience of the Catholic immigrant to the United States has helped shape the idea of "cultural Catholicism" and what Hosffman calls the "Catholic incubator." They also discussed how new generations of Latin Americans are infusing those notions with new energyeven as technology, social media, and economic and social structures impose challenges.

Dr. Hosffman Ospino with Dominic Preziosi on Latin American Catholicism in the U.S.

SEGMENT NOTES: Kathryn Davis's eighth novel is The Silk Road, published in March by Graywolf Press. Here, she talks to Commonweal literary editor Anthony Domestico about the genesis of the book, her love of mystery and metaphor, and how the concept of "pilgrimage" has figured into her writing. 

Novelist Kathryn Davis with Anthony Domestico

SEGMENT NOTES: Eula Biss is artist-in-residence in the English Department at Northwestern University, where she also teaches creative writing. She's the author of On Immunity: An Inoculation, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review, and of Notes from No Man's Land, a collection of essays that won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2010. Eula spoke with Commonweal's assistant editor Griffin Oleynick about the spiritual challenges of racism, the meaning of "whiteness," and the craft of nonfiction writing.

Author Eula Biss with Griffin Oleynick

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 10 Extended Segments 

SEGMENT NOTES: The poet Carolyn Forché is also an editor, translator, and human-rights activist. Her most recent book is What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance. Nicole-Ann Lobo, the Commonweal Garvey Writing Fellow, recently spoke with Carolyn about the memoir,  her experiences during the war in El Salvador, and what it was like to meet and receive Communion from St. Oscar Romero.

Here, you can read an excerpt of Nicole-Ann and Carolyn's interview.

Poet and memoirist Carolyn Forché with Garvey Writing Fellow Nicole-Ann Lobo

SEGMENT NOTES: Shane McCrae’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2010, American Poetry Review, African American Review, Fence, and AGNI. Here he sits down with Commonweal literary editor Anthony Domestico. Their conversation touches on Auden, Dante, the challenge of writing in the age of Donald Trump—and just what goes into composing a long narrative poem about hell.

Shane McCrae, poet, with literary editor Anthony Domestico 

SEGMENT NOTES: In February of this year, bishops from around the world were summoned to the Vatican for a summit on the global sex-abuse crisis. Catholic journalist and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh spoke with our senior editor Matthew Boudway—before the summit, and then again afterward. Listen to their two-part conversation on what the summit hoped to achieve, and what it did (or did not).

You can read Austen's piece on the summit, "Have the Bishops Learned Anything?" in our March 22 issue and on our website.

Journalist Austen Ivereigh with Matthew Boudway on the Vatican Summit

The Commonweal Podcast: Episode 9 Extended Segments