Mary Ann Walsh

Sister Mary Ann Walsh is director of media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posts By This Author

Busloads of Turned-back Immigrants, an Image of Shame

by Mary Ann Walsh 07-08-2014

A protester holds a sign for immigration reform in Washington, DC on May 1st, 2010. Photo: Nevele Otseog/Flickr.

Sometimes a picture says it all.

Consider the 1963 picture of fire hoses and snarling police dogs in Birmingham, Ala., used against African-American students protesting racial segregation. Surely not our civil servants at their best.

Or the 1972 picture of the little girl in North Vietnam running terrified and naked with burning skin after South Vietnamese planes accidentally dropped napalm on Trang Bang, which had been occupied by North Vietnamese troops. The world then saw how war could hurt children.

Now, in 2014, we see citizens of Murrieta, Calif., turning back buses of women and children headed for a federal processing center, a day after Mayor Alan Long told them to let the government know they opposed its decision to move recent undocumented immigrants to the local Border Patrol station.

What Pope Francis Can Teach President Obama This Week

by Mary Ann Walsh 03-25-2014

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Photo courtesy of Bob Roller, Catholic News Service.

Thirty years ago, when the United States established full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, critics of the move fell into two camps.

One group worried that the Vatican would try to unduly influence the U.S., where anti-Catholicism lies barely beneath the skin. Indeed, Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. once called anti-Catholicism “the deepest bias of the American people.” Poet Peter Viereck of Mount Holyoke College called anti-Catholicism “the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.”

Those in the other camp worried that the U.S. would try to unduly influence the Vatican. They complained, for example, that the U.S. would lobby the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences to make it refrain from criticizing the now barely remembered Star Wars program, which the U.S. was promoting in the 1980s as part of our national defense system.

Pope Francis Brings Religion to the Newsstand

by Mary Ann Walsh 12-18-2013

The New Yorker cover art. Photo courtesy The New Yorker website. Via RNS

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s musing on a name, “What’s in a cover?”

In the past week, we’ve seen Pope Francis on the cover of Time as the magazine’s “2013 Person of the Year,” followed by The New Yorker’s whimsical cover of the pope as a snow angel. Now, most improbably, he’s on the cover of The Advocate, the magazine for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, that put the message “NO H8″ (No hate) on his cheek. What’s next? Sports IllustratedJack and Jill?

If you ever wanted to show that someone reaches across all segments of society, this flurry of magazine covers may be it.