Eighteen months in, the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged Latin America: The region accounts for a third of the world's COVID-19-related deaths despite accounting for 8% of the population.
Following promising vaccine developments, the situation on the continent is improving. The Pan American Health Organization, or PAHO, which thus far has delivered more than 50 million doses throughout the hemisphere, is working with centers in Argentina and Brazil to develop new vaccines comparable to Pfizer's and Moderna's and recently purchased more than 8 million vaccines from the Chinese manufacturer Sinovac.
The historic social and political factors that exacerbated the catastrophe in the first place remain intact, however, leaving little room for optimism among some that the southwestern hemisphere is in a position to emerge from this adversity stronger than before.
As access to coronavirus vaccines continues to be limited in Africa, Catholic officials across the continent are struggling to maintain prevention measures, fight misinformation and convince those who can to get themselves vaccinated.
It's OK for Catholics to criticize the pope and it is also OK for Catholic publications to criticize the pope, says NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf in her latest column. But the Eternal World Television Network goes beyond merely criticizing.
So when Pope Francis recently said that "a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope" was "the work of the devil," pretty much everyone in Catholic circles knew what he was talking about.
But at least one journalist took issue with the pope's words, suggesting that the Vatican will undercut journalists' credibility and are wondering why other media professionals aren't concerned about the pope's strong words. "Perhaps because journalists are committed to the airing of the truth, and the pope speaks the truth about EWTN," Schlumpf responds.
Check out Schlumpf's four-part series on EWTN, which dives into the development of the network that now has a truly global reach and includes several print publishing arms as well as the TV enterprise.
In a new column, Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister writes about being "poor in spirit" and living in a way that makes us happy with what we have.
ICYMI: Retired Pope Benedict XVI has said he hopes to soon join a beloved professor friend in "the afterlife," in a sign that the 94-year-old pontiff is not only accepting his eventual death but welcoming it.
ICYMI: The recurring theme of the Parliament of the World's Religions, a gathering of religious leaders from around the world, was climate change.