Art & Culture

Pope John Paul II greets Rabbi Elio Toaff at Rome’s main synagogue April 13, 1986. The meeting marked the beginning of a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. It was the first time a pope had entered the Rome synagogue. (CNS photo/Arturo Mari, L'Osservatore Romano) (March 23, 2014)  See stories SAINTS- March 19, 2014, March 21, 2014 and to come.

Editor’s note: The following address was delivered on April 15, 2016 before the Harvard Hillel Society and is printed with permission of the author. I am so glad to be back in cooperation with the Harvard Hillel Society. Long, long ago, in about 1961, the Hillel Society and the Harvard Catholic Club almost at the [...]

Editor’s note: The following address was delivered on April 15, 2016 before the Harvard Hillel Society and is printed with permission of the author. I am so glad to be back in cooperation with the Harvard Hillel Society. Long, long ago, in about 1961, the Hillel Society and the Harvard Catholic Club almost at the [...]

Though a New York Appellate court recently ruled that there is no right to physician-assisted suicide under the current laws of the state, the issue remains far from settled. Not only are the plaintiffs expected to appeal the decision, but a bill recently proposed in the New York legislature also seeks to legalize the practice. [...]

Once asked what book he’d like to be stuck with on a desert island, G.K. Chesterton reportedly responded in the way one would expect of him: Thomas' Guide to Practical Shipbuilding. He was being facetious, and his real answer was The Pickwick Papers. The question is a fun one to consider, but frankly, I’d beg [...]

The government of the United States has now officially declared war on sexuality itself and, in doing so, attacked the very idea of man made in the image of God. On Monday, May 9, the U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, and the Justice Department sued the State of North Carolina for legislating that men’s rooms [...]

I noted last month that living well is difficult apart from a definite and well-developed tradition of life. Otherwise we simply won't know what we're doing, and we'll have to make up everything as we go along without any idea of ultimate results or significance, or of what we might be missing. Such claims for the necessity [...]

A couple of weeks ago I was staying at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., as a guest speaker for a symposium on the role of Dominicans in the life of the intellect. The eastern province is flush with vocations, as we at Providence College know well, having in recent years sent to [...]

“On the face of every human being, especially when marked by tears and sufferings, we can and must see the face of Christ.”  ∼ Blessed Paul VI We reached Poland early that morning, the long bus drive through the night bringing us first to Czestochowa, where the Black Madonna, Poland’s most sacred icon, has for more than [...]

The so-called bathroom wars have nothing to do with bathrooms but are all about war. The push to allow a person to use the bathroom of his or her choice is merely the latest phase of the sexual revolution. It is part of a relentless war to bring about an irrational equality that now seeks [...]

It is quite remarkable that we are fighting the same battle from before the French Revolution, the fight between sexual license and sexual morality. The fight has been non-stop. Sometimes we are winning, other times, like now, we are losing. On the one side are the radicals who genuinely believe traditional morality as espoused by [...]

For the past several decades, teen pregnancy in the United States has been on the decline. And since the early 1990s, the teen abortion rate has been in freefall. The reasons for this decline are multi-faceted, not the least of which includes the fact that more teens today are practicing abstinence than they were some [...]

The first Tuesday of the first full week in May is National Teacher Day, so this seems an opportune occasion to recall a courageous, but little-known group of teachers and schoolmasters who sacrificed comfort and security for the sake of truth, goodness, and beauty in seventeenth-century Ireland. From very early days, classical education was highly [...]

Last month I suggested that the most effective argument for taking human nature, natural law, and natural human goods seriously is that doing so leads to a better way of life. It's not hard to see why it should. People do not in fact invent their own ways of life. They're too social, and the world is [...]

When words lose their distinct meanings, they no longer sound clearly in our ears. They dissipate and fade. They buzz—and hence, they become "buzzwords." This occurs most often to words that initially have powerful meanings. But the desire to harness the power of these words leads to their abuse, their twisting and mangling to suit [...]

General Mark W. Clark, whose Fifth Army led the capture of Rome in June of 1944, was the last of the fighting World War II field commanders to die (at age 87 in 1984). He never doubted the importance of the role America played in the liberation of Europe.  Nor the idealism that moved so [...]

At the Yorktown surrender in 1781, the British band played a tune traditional to the ballad “The World Turned Upside Down.” In the 1640s the ballad had been written as a broadside against the suppression of Christmas festivities by the Puritan parliament. In some ways, the world had indeed been turned upside down, at least [...]

“We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary.” ~ Miss Elizabeth Bennet The last thing a high school graduate wants is books—I get it. And high schoolers that grew up in bookish families want books least of all—I get that, too (although my two collegiate children would demur on [...]

Unlike the conspiracy theory that William Shakespeare was really the more educated Earl of Oxford, the rival Christopher Marlowe, or the polymath Francis Bacon, the story of the Catholic Shakespeare is now a mainstream if not a consensus view among scholars. Stretched to the edge of credulity, using arguments and speculations from scholars both Catholic [...]

Video games are a staple in our society, and no matter how much ink and venom is spent lamenting their obsession in our culture, short of the apocalypse, video games are here to stay. Therefore, it behooves teachers, parents, leaders, and the like to familiarize themselves with video games and not to settle for mere [...]

Most of my work as an English professor at a small, religiously conservative teaching college in the Midwest consists of the duties called for in a generalist: freshman composition, American literature surveys, and genre-specific classes for our majors and minors. Occasionally I run a Christianity and Literature course which, at a college like mine, draws [...]

Following 9/11, there was renewed interest in the Crusades as explanations were sought for the brutal attacks. As terrorist attacks have continued throughout the years, and now with the rise of the Islamic State, this interest in the Crusades has not abated. Unfortunately, increased interest has not necessarily translated into increased knowledge. Prof. Thomas F. [...]

There are many reasons for the downfall of our urban public schools, but beyond the undeniable corruption of those sucking the system dry for financial gain, the greatest destruction to our schools, and more importantly to the individual children in those schools, is the misguided and dishonest compassion of Social Justice. Before going further, a [...]

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