Art & Culture

Westminster Abbey

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey. My stride was brisk as I made my way past Big Ben and took my place in line before the north door. However, my experience with this quasi-sacred space was clouded by the schizophrenia of the current Westminster Dean, with momentary flashes of exquisite [...]

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey. My stride was brisk as I made my way past Big Ben and took my place in line before the north door. However, my experience with this quasi-sacred space was clouded by the schizophrenia of the current Westminster Dean, with momentary flashes of exquisite [...]

Hollywood’s brush tends to paint the Vatican in colors dark and foreboding, a lavishly decorated place of simony and secret sexual sins. The papal throne is made to look smug and malevolent, even diabolical. Catholic priests are either buffoons or sex-crazed loonies. The laity are gullible, superstitious, or secretly Protestant. The HBO limited series The Young [...]

I recently received an email from someone who questioned me on a comment I made about manners. I had said that manners presuppose distinctions. They call upon us to honor those who are excellent with special treatment. At the same time, they allow us to show compassion and consideration toward those who are lesser or [...]

It’s interesting to reflect sometimes on how humanity might remember the United States of America, centuries or millennia hence. Sometimes I think it will be remembered as a light to the nations, the proverbial City on a Hill. At other times, it seems to me that it will be remembered as a cautionary tale, proving [...]

The Journal of Medical Ethics, a leading British bioethical journal, has done it again. Back in 2011, they offered us the barbaric thesis of Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva defending infanticide: the two authors argued for “after-birth abortion,” claiming that the killing of a child post-birth would be justifiable if done under “circumstances … that [...]

One of the most brilliant, influential Catholic intellectuals of the past half century has died at age 83. He was Michael Novak, theologian, philosopher, and gentleman—truly, a gentle man. I had the privilege to know Michael well. One of the great, undeserved honors of my life was sharing the stage with him at Franciscan University [...]

In 1992 I read a column in Crisis by the magazine publisher who warned, “no one should doubt that ... this election is a choice between two radically opposite national directions. The outcome will deeply affect the public life of Catholics.” The author of that column, Michael Novak, will be remembered for his stellar achievements. He [...]

Like unsuspecting characters in an Agatha Christie novel, we are all witnesses to the commission of a murder still in progress, carried out in slow motion. It is happening so slowly, and its ongoing occurrence is so protracted, so pervasive, and so familiar that we haven’t sensed the magnitude of the violence being done or [...]

Accounts vary, and a few say that the story about our civil Founders is apocryphal, but it would seem that the story is true. As one of the more jovial national patriarchs, Gouverneur Morris, a native of New York City, but representing Pennsylvania, willingly accepted a challenge from Alexander Hamilton during the Constitutional Convention in [...]

February 15 marks the date of one of the most regrettable episodes in the history of World War II, the bombing and destruction of the abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy in 1944. The Battle of Monte Cassino has been described as one of the longest and bloodiest engagements in the war, and the destruction [...]

Anyone who knows anything about the Judeo-Christian tradition (an increasingly small group, I know) is aware that the Hebrew law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was intended to limit the bloodthirsty drive for vengeance. As Saint Augustine observed, “For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a [...]

Historical television dramas usually aren’t my cup of tea. They’re too preachy. Political correctness is irksome enough now; the last thing we need is to fight today’s culture wars yesterday. I realize how infuriating it must be for liberals that they are unable to bring deceased reactionaries back to life for their much-deserved tongue-lashings. Historical [...]

Is the social revolution approaching its Thermidor, the point at which its progress stops or reverses? It's difficult to be optimistic, but recent developments raise the possibility. Until very recently, effective opposition to globalism, open borders, and lifestyle liberalism—that is, for traditional local ties over global markets, regulatory bureaucracies, and recent understandings of human rights—had [...]

In 7th grade, I started acting up. My father died suddenly near the end of 6th grade and when he was gone, my behavior changed. One fine day in 7th grade, Mr. Mac, my language arts teacher, whose first name was Harry, came into my social studies class to convey something to our teacher, Mrs. Gooding. [...]

One of the most common attitudes I encounter with today’s college students is a kind of blasé non-judgmentalism—or, worse, a passively nihilistic relativism. They are reluctant to label any behavior or belief bad, even if, in the most extreme thought experiments, it involves killing innocents. This attitude seems to get worse every year; it’s as [...]

Silence is all the talk. And it should be. It is a stellar work of cinematography. That should come as no surprise with Scorsese as director. Then too the film touches on themes of perennial relevance. There is the drama of living the faith in unbearable circumstance, its total censure, as in the case of [...]

“If a pope were only ever applauded, he would have to ask himself whether or not he was doing things right.”  ∼ Benedict XVI, Last Testament, 2016. “The bishops (at Vatican II) wanted to renew the faith, to deepen it. However, other forces were working with increasing strength, particularly journalists, who interpreted many things in a [...]

For the last five decades and more, youth culture has been a driving force in our society. As young people gained increasing amounts of discretionary spending power, purveyors of products and entertainment became increasingly interested in “what the kids like these days,” to the point that much of our popular culture—music, movies, television, web content—is [...]

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 [...]

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