Art & Culture

“Contemporary liberalism is less a political philosophy than a façade for undermining extant social and legal mores.”   ∼ John Safranek, The Myth of Liberalism, 2015. When I first looked into this insightful book of John Safranek titled The Myth of Liberalism, I was struck by the introductory sentence that he cited from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. [...]

“Contemporary liberalism is less a political philosophy than a façade for undermining extant social and legal mores.”   ∼ John Safranek, The Myth of Liberalism, 2015. When I first looked into this insightful book of John Safranek titled The Myth of Liberalism, I was struck by the introductory sentence that he cited from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. [...]

Anthony Esolen is a prophet. But before you pick up Out of the Ashes looking for predictions concerning, say, whether Donald Trump will serve out his entire term as president, or what the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima presages for U.S.-Russia relations, be warned: Contrary to popular perception, a prophet [...]

Father, I must confess: I have made comments on social media. There is at least one thing that social media illuminate, and that is the unwillingness or the incapacity of people to reason. I attribute it in part to “critical thinking,” which turns otherwise intelligent people into perpetual sophomores, ready to play what they think [...]

If you are going to visit Niagara Falls, there’s one more stop every Catholic-traveller must make: The New York Power Authority on Route 104 between Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY. It’s right between the Lower Niagara River and the Vincentian Niagara University. You must see this because, by all standards of current political correctness, it [...]

The gauntlet has now been thrown down, that computers, or more specifically artificial intelligence, will soon be able to create more perfect art than humans. This prediction, or threat, depending upon your point of view, applies in particular to music, the most mathematical and 'algorithmic' of the arts, following set patterns of chord structure, harmonies, [...]

The Gallup polling people have issued a new report on the views Americans hold on what used to be called the moral issues. The results are totally expected and still disappointing. We love our contraception. A whopping 91 percent find it morally acceptable. Divorce is approved of by 73 percent. Fornication is okay with 69 [...]

There are many serious problems facing moderns, but one of the most troubling—and worrying—is the loss and degradation of beauty, not just in the arts, but in society as a whole. Classical Greek philosophy, to which Catholic philosophy largely inherited and preserved, maintained that beauty and morality were intertwined with one another. When Christianity began [...]

The name Kermit Gosnell is now relatively well known. It should, of course, be better known. He is after all one of the worst serial killers in the history of the United States. He was an abortionist and it is alleged that this fact alone has contributed to the media committing an astonishing act of [...]

“I have understood more than all my teachers: because thy testimonies are my meditation.” —Ps. 118:99 Mine is a familiar story. Having grown up Catholic in the 1980s, I was well into my twenties when I first encountered the concepts—not to mention the terms—transubstantiation, real presence, or holy sacrifice. Having fallen away from any semblance [...]

In contrast to lie or error, truth is usually understood as an idea that corresponds to reality (or the quality of such an idea), and the existence and accessibility of truth is taken for granted. But the gap between common sense and “critical thinking” concerning truth is very wide. Modern philosophers have explored the obstacles [...]

One can tell the state of the society by its dreamers. When a society is comfortably decadent, few dare to imagine a world beyond the surrounding material comforts. In such a society, most people are content with the mediocrity of a superficial world in which those who dream are stifled and silenced. However, when a [...]

A few years ago, the New York Times told the incredibly moving story of Robert Kennedy Jr. courting a woman who became his third wife but only after he divorced his second wife who later hung herself in the family barn after being harassed by Kennedy apparatchiks. None of this was included in the Times [...]

Sometimes a single encounter with what is healthy and ordinary—I use the word advisedly, with its suggestion that things are in the order that God by means of his handmaid Nature has ordained—is enough to shake you out of the bad dreams of disease and confusion. If it isn't quite yet like meeting Saint Francis [...]

Vecuronium bromide is a drug that relaxes skeletal muscles and can be used in conjunction with surgical anesthesia. That is its usual medical application. Some states also use it in connection with capital punishment: it is one of several drugs used together to execute prisoners. Vecuronium bromide paralyzes the prisoner’s breathing. Potassium chloride is then [...]

All of human life is lived between two worlds. God has placed us on this earth as wayfarers on a pilgrimage—where we are meant to work, pray, and love—although we are meant ultimately for a world beyond. The Second Letter of Peter sums up this future hope and the passing nature of this world: “We [...]

"The medium is the message."  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic [...]

Man is a rational animal. From a moral standpoint, that means he aspires to act—and often does act—in accordance with principles that join together to form an ideal of life. He’s also social, so his ideals aren’t simply individual. In part that’s because they relate to social functions. What is it to be a proper [...]

The modern feminist movement has a long history and a sometimes checkered past and present. Some say it began in the Garden of Eden with Eve's suggestion being taken up by the whimpish Adam. The ancient Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, in his play Lysistrata, exposes the control women could exercise in a male-dominated society. It is [...]

It was sometime in the late 1970s—or was it the early 1980s? The priest in charge marched us to the school’s lecture theatre where we were soon plunged into darkness as a large screen lit up. This was no Hollywood fare, however, but a film about the Turin Shroud. To this day, I can remember [...]

As we journeyed through the darkness of Holy Week to the great solemnity of Easter, with the acclamations given to Christ before his humiliating and ignominious death, I was pondering the Holy Father's recent condemnation of “populism” as “evil.” Certainly, he could not have meant that popularity itself was evil. Christ was popular, for a [...]

Traveling by air these days can be stressful. It is increasingly difficult to go on a trip without some incident happening like the recent tussle on United Airlines Flight 3411. More often, however, flights are being canceled or delayed due to mechanical or weather problems. This can lead to hours of waiting at the gates [...]

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