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Pope Francis champions refugees and migrants


The images from the Holy Father’s trip to Lesbos this weekend, where he visited a refugee camp, were so moving that you could feel your heart climb into your throat. The pictures of the three families of refugees climbing the stairs onto the papal plane took one’s breath away. The photo showing the Holy Father standing, flanked by the Greek Archbishop and the Ecumenical Patriarch, as they prayed and tossed wreathes into the water, that photo also bespoke a changed reality in the way the Christian Church encounters the culture in the age of Francis.

The Final Democratic Debate


The opening statements at last night’s Democratic presidential debate featured both candidates playing to type: Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a jeremiad against the influence of money in politics and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a more visionary, upbeat pitch, firmly focused on the future. These are both tropes that go back to the first decades of English settlement in the Western Hemisphere, with Sanders in the role of Cotton Mather and Clinton in the role of John Winthrop.

Puerto Rico Day at the Congress


Yesterday was Puerto Rico Day at the U.S. Congress. The 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Borinqueneers,” received the Congressional Gold Medal for their long service to the armed forces of the United States. And, in a different part of the Capitol building, negotiations began in earnest over legislation designed to help the island climb out of its fiscal and humanitarian crisis.

"Jackie Robinson": Race, Then & Now


The last two nights, PBS aired a four-hour documentary on the life of Jackie Robinson. Produced by Ken Burns the documentary was splendidly well done, allowing the complexities in Robinson’s life to emerge, complexities that were muted in the movie “42” which came out a few years back. What was fascinating, and very sad, was the realization that race continues to haunt American political and cultural life.


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