Art & Culture

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Two stories last week (one amusing and one sobering) provided material for (gloomy) reflection on love and marriage in the modern world. The first came from Auckland, New Zealand, where heterosexual best friends Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick celebrated their nuptials this last Friday. A radio station competition provided the motivation for their decision to [...]

Two stories last week (one amusing and one sobering) provided material for (gloomy) reflection on love and marriage in the modern world. The first came from Auckland, New Zealand, where heterosexual best friends Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick celebrated their nuptials this last Friday. A radio station competition provided the motivation for their decision to [...]

In legal scholarship, as in any literature, style matters as much as content. The subjects authors explore, their manners and patterns of thought, the metaphors and idioms they select, the grace with which they address the audience and carry it along—in sum, the personal qualities that emerge in the telling of the tale—are remembered long [...]

Contrary to a widespread misconception, Norman Rockwell was not a conventionally religious man. He was raised Episcopalian and spent many boyhood hours in church serving in the choir. But as an adult, Rockwell did not belong to a church at all, and seems to have entirely walked away from any kind of regular religious devotion. [...]

You have opened this page on your web browser. Now you’ve got to close it. Find your shoelaces and start untying. I want you to take off your shoes. Moses approached the burning bush, the bush ablaze with God, and he took off his sandals. For St. Francis, the whole world was a burning bush [...]

"When will the Catholic Church come into the twenty-first century?" As a Catholic theologian, I often hear this question posed by non-Catholics and Catholics alike. One of the most important questions facing the Church today, it implies a set of issues that are known to all: same-sex “marriage,” contraception, and divorce (to name only a [...]

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent."   — from A Case of Identity Recently I came across a headline—the US Supreme Court rules against the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: no longer able to control the author’s most famous character, Sherlock Holmes is finally free! As well [...]

The ALS Association’s viral “ice bucket challenge” has been successful in raising over $90 million dollars to fund research for the prevention, treatment and eventual cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The entertaining viral videos of celebrities and “regular” people successfully and sometimes not so successfully dumping full buckets of ice water over their heads [...]

The 1960s were intended as a rebellion against the materialism, mindless conformity, soullessness, and general inhumanity and immorality of commercial and bureaucratic (“corporate and militaristic”) America. The answer, it was thought, could be found in freeing ourselves from a society gone wrong by rejection of social forms, pursuit of intense experience, and “doing your own [...]

Across the nation the school year is starting, and on university campuses 18-year-olds are moving into their dormitories and starting their freshmen orientation. Many are apprehensive. Their parents are probably more so. Among the questions on the minds of their parents especially: are the intellects of the Ivory Tower going to undermine their children’s faith? [...]

Back to Schooling

The art of education is under a cloud in this country, largely because it is treated as a science. Schools are not research institutions. They are not data mills. They are conservatories of culture. In the current anti-cultural climate how can teachers, especially Catholic teachers, ensure that students learn the rudiments of culture—and the rudiments [...]

Editor’s note: The following essay is adapted from an address delivered August 6 at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium. In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). Creation begins in chaos. On each day of [...]

In her introduction to this collection of essays titled The Beauty of God’s House, Francesca Murphy remarked that Stratford Caldecott lived among those who readily believe that King Arthur will return in England’s darkest hour. The spiritual capital of the fairest isle (Dryden) or the sceptred isle (Shakespeare) is not yet spent. To quote St. [...]

As mainline Protestant denominations increasingly accept the ordination of gay clergy and publicly affirm same-sex unions, the sociologist in me wishes to understand what this development means for people in those denominations. I’m not talking about subtle linguistic shifts. While the difference between speaking of marriage as a “civil contract between a woman and a [...]

Taking offense certifies the modern man as one who cares. If we take offense on behalf of another, we can number ourselves among the sensitive and loving. If we take offense personally, we can brandish a stop sign declaring to all that the offense must cease. In either case, the offending words must stop and [...]

“People rarely joke about suicide.” ~ Dr. Aaron Kheriaty The whole world is mourning Robin Williams. He was a gifted comic; he made people laugh and smile, think and squirm; he shared his talents with the world and the world is better as a result. Williams’ gift for comedy makes it all the more startling [...]

Progressives keep telling us that the marriage debate is over. Some Republicans have joined the chorus. Mark McKinnon this week explained that, Allowing committed gay couples to marry never has—and never will—lead to these sorts of things. Instead, the impact of gay marriage—legal now in 44 percent of the country—has been stronger families, less government [...]

Vivian Maier died in penniless obscurity five years ago; today she is fast becoming a phenomenon. On both sides of the Atlantic an award-winning film about her life and work has been released to critical acclaim. Entitled Finding Vivian Maier, it is as much a tale of detection as the story of an artist. As [...]

More than two decades ago—long before we all were transfixed by the rebelliousness demonstrated by Katniss Everdeen in the dystopian society presented in the Hunger Games, or Tris Prior in the dystopian Divergent—Newberry Medal-winning novelist, Lois Lowry published The Giver, a novel designed for a young-adult audience, which described a totalitarian society in which no [...]

Summer has become a season of strange and stark irony. While it brings forth the beauty of the world, it also brings forth the ugliness of the age. The warmth and light are invariably attended by trashy fashion and tattooed flesh. These dog-days, there is hardly a street or a store without people who appear [...]

The New York Times just ran a gauzy thousand word story on the marriage of Robert Kennedy Jr. and actress Cheryl Hines. They headlined the piece “No Curbs on Their Enthusiasm,” a play on her hit HBO show called “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but meant to convey how wonderful it all was, how they met, fell [...]

It should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a moment that it is always far easier to destroy than to create.  One bomb or wrecking ball can shatter in an instant the cathedral that it took human hands and minds fifty years to build. What is true of buildings is true of [...]

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