2006

The clash of civilizations is as old as history, and equally as old is the blindness of those who wish such clashes away; but they are the hinges, the turning points of history. In the latter half of the 16th cen­tury, Muslim war drums sounded and the mufti of the Otto­man sultan proclaimed jihad, but [...]

The clash of civilizations is as old as history, and equally as old is the blindness of those who wish such clashes away; but they are the hinges, the turning points of history. In the latter half of the 16th cen­tury, Muslim war drums sounded and the mufti of the Otto­man sultan proclaimed jihad, but [...]

I discovered this one windy December day when a friend called and insisted that I go see the annual Christmas display at Lyndhurst, the historic mansion overlooking the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. Because peo­ple's self-consciousness about public Christmas displays is so overwhelming these days, it's getting harder to find an elaborate one anywhere. [...]

I believe it was Alva Myrdal who once commented that the two great sociological interests of the last two cen­turies have been the nation-state and the individual. Why? Because they were two new social realities that differ­entiate modernity from earlier periods. As a consequence, the family was seriously neglected in social analysis for sev­eral generations. [...]

A friend of mine tells this story: Not long ago he took some students and parents from the public high school where he teaches on a trip to Italy. There were twelve or 15 of them, and they shared the tour bus with others. The trip was a success. Everyone had a lovely time visiting [...]

The intellectual environment at college allowed me to flirt with the truth claims of Christianity in a way I never had before—and by my junior year, I was sneaking away from my "sexually liberated" feminist cohorts to debate my new Christian friends. The local parish priest came around at times, and as Providence would have [...]

The Republicans took a beat­ing on November 7. No need to belabor the reasons. Suffice it to say that the unfortunate combination of Iraq, recent congres­sional scandals, and a general feeling of governmental arrogance all played their parts. Regardless of our own place on the political spectrum, we must admit that election night was hard [...]

Christmas is supposed to be an event for the "PACE Christians"—those who at­tend church for "Palms, Ashes, Christmas, and Easter." But I learned from John Derbyshire, a columnist at National Review, that he always pre­ferred to attend in midsummer, when half the congregation was away on vacation. In a recent column, he said he had [...]

On February 23, 1945, Joe Rosenthal, an Associated Press photographer, took a picture of five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. It was the fifth day of a brutal 30-day cam­paign across the small island that would cost 6,800 American lives and produce 27 Congressional Medals [...]

One of the reasons I appre­ciate the Catholic Church is that its lifeblood is apostolic tradition, which ensures against running around after The Latest Thing. However, I am also aware of the long history of Catholics trying to bind God to contracts He has never signed. Many times people leave the Catholic Church, not because [...]

On a recent tour through Europe, I made opera stops in Paris and London to see Lucia di Lammermoor by Doni­zetti (1797-1848) and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Shostakovich (1906-1975). However, my first destination was Ljubljana, Slovenia, for a non-musical conference. There, I was told that 13 Slovenes die each day, while only nine are [...]

A wag said that calling Billy Burke a fireman was like calling Elvis an entertainer. The Requiem Mass in St. Patrick's Cathe­dral for Captain William E Burke Jr. (1955-2001) at which I was celebrant and preacher was the biggest funeral I ever had. The cardinal presided from the throne, and present were a governor, mayor, [...]

The famous Christmas carol goes, "Adeste fideles, laeti tri­umphantes." The translation reads, "O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant." The Latin is more succinct: "Come, be present, happy, triumphant." The carol continues, "come", then repeats, "venite." Few refrains are more haunting. But "be present where?" we wonder. The answer comes: "Venite, venite in Beth­lehem." [...]

The question, no doubt, occurs intermittently to anyone who tries to say his prayers on any regular basis, most notably with regard to petitionary prayer: "Is this doing any good?" On the one hand, there is the thought, "Oh well, God knows, and has known from all eter­nity, what He is doing, and nothing I [...]

Last month, popular conserva­tive writer and Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher announced his departure from Ca­tholicism and entry into the Orthodox Church. He issued a long and moving statement explaining his decision on his Web log. In short, the pain of be­ing on the front lines of the sex-abuse scandal (as a journalist) coupled [...]

In his speech marking the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush accurately described our nation's ongoing war against the people who attacked us as "the deci­sive ideological struggle of the 21st century." This war is a struggle for our civilization. I have spent a lot of time talking about the formidable enemy we [...]

Pope Benedict XVI ap­parently triggered fresh "days of rage" among Muslims worldwide with his speech at the University of Regens­burg in Bavaria. I say "apparently," be­cause it was no remark of the pope's, but a quotation from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, that made the spark. The line, from which the pope carefully distanced himself, seemed [...]

One of the most volatile passages in the New Testament is the moment at which Jesus turns to some of His Jewish audience and declares point-blank, "You are of your father, the devil" (Jn 8:44). This sounds pretty ugly to modern ears and, particularly in the shadow of the Shoah, strikes many moderns as prima [...]

Finally, a leader has spoken about the real, essential lam, as it emanates from a contest within Islam itself over the most important things. With startling—indeed alarming—clarity, Pope Benedict XVI told his audience in Regensburg, Germany, that not only is violence in spread­ing faith unreasonable and therefore against God, but that a conception of God [...]

When 250 or so American bishops travel to Baltimore in mid-November for a sentimental jour­ney into the Catholic past, they may find more comfort in looking back than looking ahead. But look ahead they must. Their national organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has come to a historic turning point. Since the USCCB [...]

The purpose of higher education is the pursuit of truth, and throughout history men and women have devoted their lives to it. One such man was Mohandas Gandhi. Born in 1869, the son of uneducated parents, he was a mediocre student and a self-described coward who feared ghosts—into adulthood, he slept with a light on [...]

"A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public au­thority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family rela­tionship are to be evaluated" (Catechism of the [...]

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