Art & Culture

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It is alarming the overwhelming support Death with Dignity is receiving and how quickly the American people have embraced it. In fact, it is infuriating. Just quickly scanning through the content of Death with Dignity’s website and reading the “testimonies” and support from misguided individuals will leave one quite disturbed. Death with Dignity promotes physician [...]

It is alarming the overwhelming support Death with Dignity is receiving and how quickly the American people have embraced it. In fact, it is infuriating. Just quickly scanning through the content of Death with Dignity’s website and reading the “testimonies” and support from misguided individuals will leave one quite disturbed. Death with Dignity promotes physician [...]

The parsing of literature to support any given political, economic and social agenda is not an uncommon practice, but one that, nevertheless, must be done with great care. Viewing high culture through a reductive critical and ideological prism often risks diminishing the contribution literature makes to culture by viewing the entirety of an artist’s work [...]

Hardly a day passes when some barbarous act does not jump to the headlines. Barbarous—there is no other word to describe these vile deeds. Thus, whether it be the sadistic torturing, terrorist beheadings, mass shootings or truck ramming murder sprees (not to mention genocide and war), these acts are becoming ever more common. There is something [...]

The official trailer for the newly released Martin Scorsese film Silence gives the impression this movie is about missionaries in Japan and how Catholics bravely endured persecution for the sake of the Faith. That however is not the real focus of this very disturbing movie and movie-goers should not be lured into believing they are [...]

America has weathered the most divisive presidential election in recent memory, and the first round of family gatherings since then, with many Thanksgiving meals expected to have been free-for-all food fights, with turkey drumsticks flying, no doubt. But we are getting along in the new reality, for the most part, and most friendships and family [...]

“When the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life.” ∼ Evangelium Vitae, 21 It is a perplexing fact of history that one of the world’s most prolific mass murderers, Adolf Hitler, was also a vegetarian who abhorred cruelty to animals. This [...]

“The point of transhumanism is to achieve what Marx promised at history’s end not through political revolution, but through technological manipulation.”  ∼ Peter Augustine Lawler, American Heresies and Higher Education (2016) From the perspective of a professor at a small, but excellent private Christian college in North Georgia, Peter Augustine Lawler somehow manages to see the [...]

The December 28 New York Times reported another “oops!” in vitro fertilization (IVF) moment. A technician in Utrecht may have mixed up sperm used to fertilize eggs, leading to the members of 26 couples perhaps not being the parents of the babies they contracted to produce. I admit that last sentence is a bit awkward: [...]

Your perversity is as though the potter were taken to be the clay: As though what is made should say of its maker, “He did not make me!” (Isaiah 29:16) These words are as pertinent today as when they were first spoken by the prophet Isaiah (ca 740-681 BC). If there is a God today, [...]

A middle-aged man wheels his disabled daughter through a public park. They have enjoyed their visit there. The young woman likes to look at the flowers. For a moment, their shared pleasure of the beauty all around unites them. This is especially precious given her limited ability to communicate. In recent years, however, the visits [...]

Tis the season to attack traditional Christianity by pedaling, through social networks and the mass media, speculative theories that contradict orthodox Christian beliefs. On Christmas Eve (predictably), the Washington Post revived a 2014 article promoting the discredited theory that the "historical Jesus" never even existed. Yet even the agnostic New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, famously [...]

That there is some sense in which Christmas can be said to have become “secularized” over the years is undoubtedly true. Nevertheless, this judgment may be overwrought. Perhaps Christ is more present in “secularized” expressions of Christmas than either Christian or non-Christian is willing to acknowledge. This is borne out by close examination of such [...]

Back in 1947 it was possible for a Catholic novel to shoot to the top of the national bestseller list in the U.S.A. That's exactly what happened to Russell Janney's The Miracle of the Bells. Janney (1884-1963), a theatrical producer by trade, produced Miracle as his first novel at the mature age of 62 and [...]

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Frank Capra’s beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. It debuted December 20, 1946, just a year after World War II ended. (Remember, the film begins and ends with the expected return of war hero Harry Bailey.) The film offers several Catholic perspectives. How many movies today would [...]

With everyone marrying anyone, it would seem only a matter of time before someone would end up marrying no one. Leave it to the postmodern imagination to open up absurd frontiers in non-marriage. Marrying no one is now an option. Officially, it is called sologamy. It consists of a person marrying one’s self. It sounds [...]

Are Atheists Addled?

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”  ∼ G. K. Chesterton “When I hear the word culture,” Herman Goering boasted, “I reach for my revolver.” Since he was, after Adolf Hitler, the second-most powerful man in the Third Reich, attention was paid. And while he may have stolen the line from Nazi playwright [...]

Buzzfeed reported last week that HGTV stars of the show “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines, belong to a church that is “firmly against same-sex marriage.” Of course, it may come as little surprise that an Evangelical church in Waco, Texas holds such a view. After all, no more than 27 percent of white Evangelical [...]

On Giving Thanks

The Pilgrims first sighted land off Cape Cod on November 9, 1620 after spending 65 days at sea. They rejoiced singing Psalm 100, a traditional song of thanksgiving. But as William Bradford recorded in Of Plymouth Plantation, it was winter when, “all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face.” “They had no friends to [...]

In honor of Thanksgiving and in anticipation of the Christmas season, I offer this story of gratitude and faith concerning the experiences of a Catholic girl in Amsterdam during World War II. The girl, now enjoying her golden age ensconced on a quiet suburban street in northern Virginia, is my neighbor Mrs. Stien van Egmond. [...]

Last month marked the 75th anniversary theatrical release of the movie classic How Green Was My Valley. Though “classic” is one of those terms all too liberally assigned these days, the word is surely appropriate in this case. The story of a family’s love, trials, and ultimate dissolution struck a chord with American movie goers at [...]

In an episode of Antiques Roadshow, a furniture expert was presented an unexceptional-looking table, one that struck me as something I could put together in an afternoon. Although the piece had no decorative embellishments or maker's mark, the expert immediately identified it as the work of George Nakashima, an innovative furniture maker of the last century. I was amazed, for somewhere in the table’s stark simplicity [...]

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