Art & Culture

Dante

Culture is not merely whatever fungus happens to grow in the unclean soul of a transgressive artist. But to say so is counter-cultural, and to say so with wit and erudition is invigorating. Joseph Epstein writes with clarity and probity about culture, but more importantly he writes about the conditioning of the mind and soul necessary for [...]

Culture is not merely whatever fungus happens to grow in the unclean soul of a transgressive artist. But to say so is counter-cultural, and to say so with wit and erudition is invigorating. Joseph Epstein writes with clarity and probity about culture, but more importantly he writes about the conditioning of the mind and soul necessary for [...]

The newly released film Logan, the final appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, the metal-clawed and brooding member of the X-Men, is indeed a film heavy on violence and profanity. It does, however, offer a fascinating view of what is possible when man uses technological advancement divorced from any conception of nature and the good. [...]

Toward the end of his life, according to legend, the fourth century Church father Saint Augustine stated: “I spent some 30 years in writing fifteen books concerning the Trinity, which is God.” Yet this theological genius was confronted by the inability of the human mind to probe this mystery as this story relates: He was walking by [...]

As those from the Depression and World War II eras die, their children are left to resolve a tragic problem that past generations did not face. The problem involves stuff nobody wants. The possessions of parents are no longer prized by many children. The family silver means little to them. Even sentimental reasons are not [...]

St. Patrick’s Day in our home was a quiet, subdued affair—no appurtenances of green, no consumption of green beer. We wore no stovepipe hats, nor any buttons of boasting Irishry. However, it was a special day, my saint’s day, the day when St. Patrick passed from the discord of time to the mystery of eternity. My [...]

Oregon has long been ground zero for radical, end-of-life ideology and legislation. It was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) two decades ago, and since that time the practice has grown both in social acceptance and legislative momentum. Currently, more than 20 states have PAS bills on the legislative docket, and three jurisdictions [...]

Like all good Catholics, I hope very much that President Donald Trump follows through on his promises to pro-life Americans. It looks as though he will follow through in appointing a pro-life Supreme Court justice; obviously this is a tremendous blessing. Despite that, regular Crisis readers may recall that I have never harbored enthusiasm for [...]

The people who brought you the extra-large vaginas marching on Washington in January are at it again. They have deemed today, March 8th, as “A Day Without Women.” You can show your support for abortion, Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, and of all things—transgenderism, by ... not showing up for work. (They wisely didn’t make female [...]

Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant (Sirach). I heard last month about the Academy Awards and the Big Flub. I suppose it would’ve been fun to witness it live instead of on YouTube, but not fun enough to regret skipping the broadcast altogether. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about [...]

Throughout the centuries, one of the biggest sources of crises of faith has been the ignoble, hypocritical behavior of Christians. Józef Tischner, a Polish priest, philosopher, and Solidarity chaplain, once said that he never met anyone who lost his or her faith by reading Marx or Lenin, but he knew many who had lost it [...]

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on ’t, ah fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. Hamlet, I, ii, 133-8 Recently, a document about education in Australia found its way onto my desk. Hereafter [...]

Advocates typically maintain that abuse of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) laws is extremely difficult, and when it comes to the legalization of PAS, we have nothing to worry about. Despite the fact that safeguards designed to prevent abuse are wholesale neglected in other areas of the world where PAS and/or euthanasia have been legalized for any [...]

Classical education required students, before anything else, to learn the basic building blocks of thought. In the ancient trivium, students learned grammar, logic, and rhetoric, or how language, argument, and persuasion work. As emphasis on these arts has decreased, so has our society’s capacity to think. And where thought decreases, emotion increases, so that we [...]

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 [...]

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