Six months ago today, on orders from President Vladimir Putin, Russian troops began their full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In a year of nastiness in our domestic politics and threats to democracy around the world, the war in Ukraine remains the frontlines, and everything else, everything, is a secondary theater of cultural conflict, says NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters.
"The battle in Ukraine is not only between Ukraine and Russia but between closedness and openness, between ethnic nationalism and cosmopolitanism, between 'might makes right' and the messy, frustrating, complicated style of democracy that we in the West have built," he writes. "The people of Ukraine are fighting for us, not just for themselves."
In a short handwritten note sent to Sr. Teresina Longo, mother superior of a religious institute hosting Ukrainian orphans evacuated to Italy, Pope Francis said he is doing all he can for Ukraine, adding that he also recently spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukraine's Vatican ambassador, who met with Francis Aug. 5, hinted on social media that the pope intends to visit Ukraine prior to his Sept. 13-15 trip to Kazakhstan.
Find all of NCR's coverage of the war in Ukraine here.
Last week, after the Atlantic published a piece about "How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary," reactions to the essay went viral. In it, Daniel Penneton, a Toronto-based historian and writer, argued that for some radical-traditional ("rad-trad") Catholics, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning and become associated with the recent — and dangerously violent — rise in Christian nationalism in the United States.
"That some are misusing the rosary and other Catholic devotions or teachings to support Christian nationalism should alarm us all," writes NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf. "But we need to place our anger where it belongs: on the Christian nationalists. No need to, ahem, shoot the messenger."
Presentation Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch, who spent months in jails and prisons for crossing lines and hopping fences to protest war and nuclear weapons, died Aug. 13, two years after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was 85.
ICYMI: U.S. Customs and Border Protection is set to break a record for border captures when the fiscal year ends at the end of September, as the total number of apprehensions inched closer to the 2 million mark at the end of July.
ICYMI: Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are facing a severe water shortage during the heat of the summer months due to the lack of water infrastructure, said the justice and peace commission of the Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land.