Art & Culture

old-fashioned-movie-review-20150213

While the Christian world and its religious allies cry in the wilderness that sex is sacred; the rest of the world is rushing to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Over Saint Valentine’s Day weekend, the bacchanal film set a box-office record for an R-rated movie opening in the month of February—and thus the record set [...]

While the Christian world and its religious allies cry in the wilderness that sex is sacred; the rest of the world is rushing to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Over Saint Valentine’s Day weekend, the bacchanal film set a box-office record for an R-rated movie opening in the month of February—and thus the record set [...]

The time was 1941, the war then raging across Europe had entered its third terrible year, and a young Catholic philosopher by the name of Josef Pieper had just brought out a book, a lovely little thing of less than sixty pages, called A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart. Amazingly enough, [...]

Lent is a time for taking stock. It is a spiritual workout consisting of prayer, fasting and alms giving. We pray, read spiritual books, and give something to someone in need. But too often we get distracted, we forget to pray, and lose interest in the books we have earmarked for the season whilst suddenly realizing [...]

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently noted the visceral kind of cringe we experience when we hear that ISIS jihadis have decapitated yet another person. Brooks adeptly explained that the thought of a person’s head torn away from the rest of him triggers horror precisely because of its bold irreverence toward the human form. [...]

The expression “sexual immorality” seems overly contentious to people today. To say someone has acted immorally is usually to say he’s acted in a way that’s morally repellent. But most people don’t feel that way about non-standard sexual activity. It’s not fornication, adultery, or sodomy that leaders of thought consider repellent, but the pharisaical judgmentalism [...]

“Heraclitus once said that ‘Nature loves to hide.’ Not from Aristotle. He writes as though nature is living next door and running a taverna.” This summary judgment—at once engaging, elegant, and thoughtful—typifies Armand-Marie Leroi’s The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science (Viking-Penguin, 2014). Equal parts pilgrimage, idyll, and polemic, The Lagoon is a marvelous invitation to [...]

For a little more than 100 years we’ve had standardized IQ tests, and over those 100 years there has been a consistent, linear increase in IQ scores, on the order of 3 points per decade. According to IQ tests, we are getting smarter. Also over the last 100 years, rates of belief in God and [...]

The God of Sundays

In the year 1617, King James issued his famous Declaration of Sports, a document which would be controversial due to its encouragement of the English to participate in certain sports on Sundays and Holy Days. This document, also known as simply the Book of Sports, enumerated a number of licit sports, which were fair game, [...]

Of late, much attention has been given in both the secular media and Christian media to those who call themselves “gay celibate Christians.” As a man attracted to men yet committed to traditional Catholic teaching on human sexuality, I find the notion both of being “gay” or “celibate” strange. Indeed, in the context of what [...]

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” Those who choose repose receive release from the mandates of truth—but it is only temporary. Truth cannot be rejected forever. Those who choose truth, on the other hand, have no rest—and so they march. They march ever onward. The March [...]

“Truth is the self-manifestation and state of evidence of real things. Consequently, truth is something secondary, following from something else. Truth does not exist for itself alone. Primary and precedent to it are existing things, the real. Knowledge of truth, therefore, aims ultimately not at ‘truth’ but, strictly speaking, at gaining sight of reality.” ∼ [...]

Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson and directed by John Michael McDonagh is a movie serious Catholics must see. Largely overlooked when it was released in North America in August 2014, moviegoers who missed it in the theater now have a chance to see it on DVD. The confessional is the tomb, and the confessed sinner, pushing [...]

What do we see? And what does it matter? As an older father and educator of my youngest daughter, now sixteen years old, I have the joy of truly learning Shakespeare for the first time. In recent months we have tackled two Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. One is billed as the [...]

One of the pleasures of living in London is the opportunity for frequent visits to the National Gallery. But for those who live elsewhere you need no longer miss out as a new documentary about that institution is now playing at movie theaters on both sides of the Atlantic. And, of course, a movie about [...]

American conservatives traditionally have been suspicious of the city. The crowding, the anonymity, the fast pace, the dirt, and above all the attitude that one must “get on” or “move up” lest he be trampled underfoot all rankle those who see a good life more in terms of character and relationships than activities, entertainments, and [...]

The Catholic Church is the only major institution that still teaches the truth about marriage: that it is an indissoluble, lifelong union between one man and one woman, open to the transmission of life. And one of the consequences of this truth is that divorced persons who have remarried while their spouse is alive may [...]

The developments of the past several months have focused sharp national attention on police practices and actions around the country. While the claims of police misconduct and brutality have proven to be without foundation in most of the cases that have been in the spotlight, some have been troubling and perhaps this is the time [...]

In the polyester-clad fast food industry, there’s an unnamed universal law which holds that eventually, even the most exotic delicacy will become a $5.99 soy-based value meal. We want the exotic, but we want it affordable, fast, convenient and blandly uniform. In this, the age of pornography, lust has become almost indistinguishable from the gluttony [...]

The Man Who Saved Christmas

In The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits, author Les Standiford points out that in the publication year of A Christmas Carol, 1843—written when Dickens was only 31—“there were no Christmas cards, no Christmas trees at royal residences or White Houses, no Christmas [...]

It was always going to be hard. The New York Times bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption touched millions with a tale that would be unbelievable if it weren’t true. Yes, it was going to be a tough call for any filmmaker. So when a relatively inexperienced director comes [...]

Last year’s media war fought over the skin color of Santa gave us much to think about regarding racial agendas, cultural customs, and the relationship between popular tradition and concrete history. Some choose to think of Santa as being white, some choose to think of him as being black, and some choose to think of [...]

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