2006

Catholic Voting Catholics are obliged to participate in politics by voting. Legislators are elected to serve and protect the common good, human dignity, and rights of human persons. Voters should have a clear understanding of the principles of Catholic moral and social teaching. The life issues are dominant in the hierarchy of issues for the [...]

Catholic Voting Catholics are obliged to participate in politics by voting. Legislators are elected to serve and protect the common good, human dignity, and rights of human persons. Voters should have a clear understanding of the principles of Catholic moral and social teaching. The life issues are dominant in the hierarchy of issues for the [...]

Thirty-six years ago, a 43-year-old professor of Catholic theology in Germany wrote: "It seems certain to me that very hard times await the Church. Her crisis has hardly begun." Today the author of those words is Pope Benedict XVI. What form the hard times he predicted back in 1970 would take, then—Josef Ratzinger did not [...]

All the King's Men, the lifeless new adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer-winning novel about the Southern political demagogue Willie Stark, is a fascinating failure on many levels—especially since the project seemed to have everything going for it from the beginning. Based on a classic American novel, it quickly attracted a talented director and notable [...]

In the latter half of the 19th century, German music so dominated the European continent that the French were left wondering what could be distinctively theirs, aside from French insouciance, wit, and whimsy. France could not com­pete in the symphony (Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, etc.), and Wagner had swamped the opera world. Erik Satie (1866-1925) came [...]

As I was unfamiliar with the Spanish convention of nam­ing boys for the Savior, it startled me upon arriving in my new parish to read on the bulletin board: "If there is no usher at the 7:30 Mass, Je­sus will take up the collection." So I came under the tutelage of sexton Je­sus Vasquez (1927-1996), [...]

When asked to write a col­umn in the Georgetown student newspaper, I requested the editor not to change a submitted word without my permis­sion. This concern results from long experience. Your finest word turns out, in print, to be "blah" because some editor knew better than you, the writer, what you should have said. The [...]

How shall we speak of Mozart? We are always struck by his sprightly lyricism, of course, which offers us immeasurable delight but at the same time brings tears to our eyes—the tears that arrive when we find ourselves hailed with pure beauty. Grandeur, hilarity, bliss, poignancy, joy—what words suffice? I was listening to Mozart the [...]

Catholics make up about 30 percent of those who vote in national elections. These 30 million Catholics have the power to make our country a better nation— more welcoming to life, more supportive of families, and more effective in its programs to help the poor and marginalized. Furthermore, Catholics who attend Mass regularly vote more [...]

For the past three decades, I've been blessed to travel to almost every continent. But particularly, I have always felt a pull to visit Egypt and to see—with my own eyes—its ancient history and impressive ruins, and to visit the people who continue this 3,500-year-old civilization. My longing became a reality recently when I made [...]

“You’re a married priest? I didn’t know we had married priests. I think the Church should let all her priests marry.” Words like these have greeted me frequently since my ordination to the priesthood in 1983, with dispensation from the rule of celibacy. I always assure those who favor optional celibacy that both my wife [...]

What does a word mean, if it can mean anything? Is there a difference between a word meaning anything, and one that means nothing at all? This isn't merely a semantic problem if that word is "marriage." When I maintain that the definition of marriage has been all but lost, I intend both senses of [...]

Richard McGuire is the nom de guerre of a father who is trying to document the crimes of his four children for a hearing at the human-rights tribunal of The Hague. These are some of the lighter moments he captured over the past seven years—with no help from the NSA—that can be revealed without compromising [...]

Three years ago, Garry Wills came out with a book titled, Why I Am a Catholic. Apparently, after his earlier work, Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, a lot of people were wondering why he chose to remain in the Roman fold. His answer—a combination of personal nostalgia and belief in the basic truth of the [...]

The ideology of "scientism" holds that science alone can answer, or should be allowed to answer, life's significant questions. In its most radical form, it holds that science has answered these questions, and plausibly accounts for the origin, nature, purpose, and destiny of the universe and man. In the scientistic account, anything not physical, measurable, [...]

Twenty-five years ago, the most discussed and highly touted film in the world was Reds, an epic paean to the life of Jack Reed, an enthusiastic witness to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent co-founder of the American Communist Party. The film had been shot in four countries with a budget of $35 [...]

For twelve years I have been composing this column. Sometimes I wonder if many people read it. Then I remember that I have seldom, if ever, written to columnists I regularly read. So why should anyone write to me? During my broadcasting career, I suffered similar doubts when I was on the air daily to [...]

Last year, in the midst of the Harriet Miers flap, the media incorrectly reported that she was a convert to evangelicalism from the Catholic Faith. Before the error was corrected (she was never Catholic), evangelical heavy-hitter Dr. James Dobson puzzled some Catholics when he remarked, "I know the person who brought her to the Lord. [...]

As 1978 was the Year of the Three Popes, so was 1888 the Year of the Three Emperors: Drei Achten, drei Kaiser. Eugen Rosenstock was born to Jewish parents in the three eights of Wilhelm I, Frederick III, and Wilhelm II. He studied law at Zurich, Heidelberg, and Berlin and shone in Leipzig as the [...]

The pastor of the Anglican parish in Georgetown, Rev. Charles NalIs, suggested lunch. I proposed Billy Martin's, about halfway between his parish and the university. We both wore Roman collars, both arrived on time. The restaurant was not crowded after the noontime rush. We talked of things ecclesiastical and otherwise. No one was in a [...]

I hear from my young friends that there is a song abroad now, apparently widely sung, in which God is hailed as being "awesome." Which of course He is. But a tussle in my own imagination presents itself upon hearing this title. On the one hand, I can only extol the ardor that marks the [...]

“The record shows that as the need for medical experiments grew, many physicians and others treated institutionalized infants, dying patients, and mentally impaired individuals as not quite persons in the moral sense. Moreover, indigent patients in hospitals were often treated in a similar fashion. ... Clearly, these 'vulnerable' individuals were thought of as not quite eligible [...]

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