Art & Culture

In Massachusetts, a young woman, Michelle Carter, has just been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter because, by verbal encouragement—numerous emails and other communications—she aided in the suicide of Conrad Roy III in July 2014. Mr. Roy had stepped out of the cab of a vehicle, filling with lethal fumes, only to hear Ms. Carter tell [...]

In Massachusetts, a young woman, Michelle Carter, has just been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter because, by verbal encouragement—numerous emails and other communications—she aided in the suicide of Conrad Roy III in July 2014. Mr. Roy had stepped out of the cab of a vehicle, filling with lethal fumes, only to hear Ms. Carter tell [...]

Writer Dan Mattson has bequeathed a lasting treasure to the Church, a spiritual masterpiece titled Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace. Might this be over-effusive praise for a book that’s only about homosexuality and identity labels? Not quite. That would be like saying St. Augustine’s Confessions was [...]

One of the cherished respites in my life is the Symphony Hall channel on Sirius-XM Radio. It’s a getaway, an oasis, a safe-space from the political madness and cultural insanity ruining so much of everyday life. When I need to escape the nattering news cycles, the toxic noise, the gagging cultursmog, the Symphony Hall channel [...]

Plato said that changes in music and sports were also indications in changes in constitutions of polities. Changes in politics are usually also indicative of changes in souls. Music mirrors human souls and the direction they are taking, good or bad. The mind and body may be closest together in music. The notion that we [...]

At a class at Acton University, Dr. Carrie Gress was lecturing about the Benedict Option and somewhat informally proposed a Marian option. She said she was impressed by the interest the proposal sparked. I happened to be in the class and remember thinking at the time about how well her message resonated with everyone. I [...]

In “The Preacher,” a 1956 episode of Gunsmoke, a minister who has lost his faith is relentlessly hounded by a bully until Marshal Matt Dillon intervenes. Asks the persecuted preacher: “Why, Marshal, why are men always fighting and hating each other?” Leaving aside the answer that St. James, in his Epistle, gives to that perennial [...]

A friend of mine lives in one of Philadelphia’s comfortable suburbs. She and her husband are both attorneys. Both hold Ivy League degrees. Their community is nearly 90 percent white, rich in Quaker history, above average in education and income, and low in crime. People are friendly. Nights are quiet. Streets are clean and safe. [...]

The Economist began its editorial promoting paid surrogacy by quoting the Bible: the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is an “exploitative version of surrogacy that still shapes attitudes and laws today.” Why the lessons of that story do not remain relevant for today (and today’s “attitudes and laws”) is never really explained. Neither the [...]

Viggo Mortensen, the same actor who played Strider/Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, seems to enjoy getting naked in his non-Tolkien films, evincing, perhaps, certain latent exhibitionist fantasies: In Eastern Promises, he fought off, el fresco, two Russian mobsters in a steam bath; in The Road, he chucked it all to swim out [...]

Something has been terribly lost in the story of Maddi Runkles, the 18-year-old who became pregnant and was punished by her Evangelical school for breaking the morality clause she signed when becoming a student. To begin, I believe it has been a tad unseemly that she has taken to the national airwaves to air her [...]

Perhaps one of the more sensitive personal issues you can raise with people is that of dress. How you dress has become a purely personal affair. Most are left to their own opinion as to what is appropriate. There are, of course, some limits. Most Catholics will admit in theory that there is something that [...]

More on arguments.  “It's only a clump of cells,” says my interlocutor. I'll call him Mike. “I'm not aware of the scientific meaning of the word clump.” In all arguments regarding abortion, sex, marriage, and the raising of children, we may well steal a march on our opponents by appealing to biological or anthropological facts, [...]

“Benedict Option" is a fertile expression that could refer to several things worth discussing. Saint Benedict had one version of what it means, Rod Dreher has another, and commentators have presented still more. For Benedict himself it meant turning away from worldly ties so he could follow Christ and grow closer to God. As a secondary [...]

Much has been written about Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option. It has been portrayed as not so much an option as an opting out. Critics have said it is a call to run away from the public square, an escape, an indefensible retreat, and an admission of defeat. The Benedict Option is thought to be a [...]

“Contemporary liberalism is less a political philosophy than a façade for undermining extant social and legal mores.”   ∼ John Safranek, The Myth of Liberalism, 2015. When I first looked into this insightful book of John Safranek titled The Myth of Liberalism, I was struck by the introductory sentence that he cited from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. [...]

Anthony Esolen is a prophet. But before you pick up Out of the Ashes looking for predictions concerning, say, whether Donald Trump will serve out his entire term as president, or what the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima presages for U.S.-Russia relations, be warned: Contrary to popular perception, a prophet [...]

Father, I must confess: I have made comments on social media. There is at least one thing that social media illuminate, and that is the unwillingness or the incapacity of people to reason. I attribute it in part to “critical thinking,” which turns otherwise intelligent people into perpetual sophomores, ready to play what they think [...]

If you are going to visit Niagara Falls, there’s one more stop every Catholic-traveller must make: The New York Power Authority on Route 104 between Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY. It’s right between the Lower Niagara River and the Vincentian Niagara University. You must see this because, by all standards of current political correctness, it [...]

The gauntlet has now been thrown down, that computers, or more specifically artificial intelligence, will soon be able to create more perfect art than humans. This prediction, or threat, depending upon your point of view, applies in particular to music, the most mathematical and 'algorithmic' of the arts, following set patterns of chord structure, harmonies, [...]

The Gallup polling people have issued a new report on the views Americans hold on what used to be called the moral issues. The results are totally expected and still disappointing. We love our contraception. A whopping 91 percent find it morally acceptable. Divorce is approved of by 73 percent. Fornication is okay with 69 [...]

There are many serious problems facing moderns, but one of the most troubling—and worrying—is the loss and degradation of beauty, not just in the arts, but in society as a whole. Classical Greek philosophy, to which Catholic philosophy largely inherited and preserved, maintained that beauty and morality were intertwined with one another. When Christianity began [...]

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