Art & Culture

archbishop-c-j-chaput

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 [...]

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 [...]

More than four decades ago, Pope Paul VI predicted in Humanae Vitae that the emergence of the new reproductive technologies—especially the birth control pill—would lead to a “lowering of moral standards … and a rise in infidelity.” Today, with the emergence of Truvada, a pill that has been shown in clinical trials to be up [...]

In his very first homily at the Missa Pro Ecclesia in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis quoted the famous words of Leon Bloy, stating “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” Nature abhors a vacuum. Our experience of the material world tells us that things tend to occupy vacancies; substances naturally move [...]

What, in these benighted modern times, ought faithful Catholics to make of atheism? Robert Tracinski’s recent piece, "What Atheists Have To Offer The Right," gives us occasion for reflecting anew on this question. Tracinski is speaking primarily about politics, and in this realm, making common cause with atheists seems clearly warranted in our time. As [...]

Is civilization worth defending? Should we aim to conform to it so that we can be considered civilized? Should we aim to bring our children up according to its norms so that they can also be considered civilized? Should we try to make our country and our world as civilized as possible? The chances are [...]

I haven't watched more than two episodes of any contemporary television series in twenty years, but I do watch baseball and football and so I get a fair barrage of commercials advertising what is supposed to be funny or “edgy” or seriously dramatic and so forth. My wife likes to watch home decorating shows and [...]

Art is the pulse of the soul. It expresses much of what is kept hidden and even what could not be expressed in any other form. Many people talk of a crisis in modern art—its abstractness, banality, and, could we even say, ugliness. If there is such a crisis, to me, it is nothing other [...]

Some days ago, Josh Barro of the New York Times tweeted the following message: “Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly.” It’s quite a statement for a public figure to make—for anyone to make—but especially one supposedly devoted to [...]

Not long ago, one of my older essays was published in these pages to counterbalance, and to caution against, the unqualified praise of Flannery O’Connor’s fictional stories. As I expected, a great many O’Connor enthusiasts took exception to my critique. But amidst the ensuing disparagement, the common confusions, and the rebuttals of arguments never made, [...]

A few days ago a friend mentioned that this August marks the fiftieth anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s death, so I poked around the Internet to see whether this milestone is stirring up any interest. It is, but what captivated me was finding a few sites promoting the cause for her canonization and others that were [...]

Several years ago, I received a volume of Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories as the very kind and thoughtful fulfillment of a birthday wish. At the time I knew very little about the content of these writings, but I was enthusiastic to encounter the genius of an author who had been highly praised to me on [...]

MENU