Art & Culture

bouguereau-painting

Tis the season to attack traditional Christianity by pedaling, through social networks and the mass media, speculative theories that contradict orthodox Christian beliefs. On Christmas Eve (predictably), the Washington Post revived a 2014 article promoting the discredited theory that the "historical Jesus" never even existed. Yet even the agnostic New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, famously [...]

Tis the season to attack traditional Christianity by pedaling, through social networks and the mass media, speculative theories that contradict orthodox Christian beliefs. On Christmas Eve (predictably), the Washington Post revived a 2014 article promoting the discredited theory that the "historical Jesus" never even existed. Yet even the agnostic New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, famously [...]

That there is some sense in which Christmas can be said to have become “secularized” over the years is undoubtedly true. Nevertheless, this judgment may be overwrought. Perhaps Christ is more present in “secularized” expressions of Christmas than either Christian or non-Christian is willing to acknowledge. This is borne out by close examination of such [...]

Back in 1947 it was possible for a Catholic novel to shoot to the top of the national bestseller list in the U.S.A. That's exactly what happened to Russell Janney's The Miracle of the Bells. Janney (1884-1963), a theatrical producer by trade, produced Miracle as his first novel at the mature age of 62 and [...]

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Frank Capra’s beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. It debuted December 20, 1946, just a year after World War II ended. (Remember, the film begins and ends with the expected return of war hero Harry Bailey.) The film offers several Catholic perspectives. How many movies today would [...]

With everyone marrying anyone, it would seem only a matter of time before someone would end up marrying no one. Leave it to the postmodern imagination to open up absurd frontiers in non-marriage. Marrying no one is now an option. Officially, it is called sologamy. It consists of a person marrying one’s self. It sounds [...]

Are Atheists Addled?

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”  ∼ G. K. Chesterton “When I hear the word culture,” Herman Goering boasted, “I reach for my revolver.” Since he was, after Adolf Hitler, the second-most powerful man in the Third Reich, attention was paid. And while he may have stolen the line from Nazi playwright [...]

Buzzfeed reported last week that HGTV stars of the show “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines, belong to a church that is “firmly against same-sex marriage.” Of course, it may come as little surprise that an Evangelical church in Waco, Texas holds such a view. After all, no more than 27 percent of white Evangelical [...]

On Giving Thanks

The Pilgrims first sighted land off Cape Cod on November 9, 1620 after spending 65 days at sea. They rejoiced singing Psalm 100, a traditional song of thanksgiving. But as William Bradford recorded in Of Plymouth Plantation, it was winter when, “all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face.” “They had no friends to [...]

In honor of Thanksgiving and in anticipation of the Christmas season, I offer this story of gratitude and faith concerning the experiences of a Catholic girl in Amsterdam during World War II. The girl, now enjoying her golden age ensconced on a quiet suburban street in northern Virginia, is my neighbor Mrs. Stien van Egmond. [...]

Last month marked the 75th anniversary theatrical release of the movie classic How Green Was My Valley. Though “classic” is one of those terms all too liberally assigned these days, the word is surely appropriate in this case. The story of a family’s love, trials, and ultimate dissolution struck a chord with American movie goers at [...]

In an episode of Antiques Roadshow, a furniture expert was presented an unexceptional-looking table, one that struck me as something I could put together in an afternoon. Although the piece had no decorative embellishments or maker's mark, the expert immediately identified it as the work of George Nakashima, an innovative furniture maker of the last century. I was amazed, for somewhere in the table’s stark simplicity [...]

“Happy the man that understands the causes of things,” wrote Virgil. Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko, who is also a Member of the European Parliament, is one of those deep thinkers who likes to get to the root of matters. He is not content with superficial observations or political platitudes. In his new book, The Demon in [...]

We are living in a moment of peril. It is also a moment of opportunity. Our liberal friends are currently gnashing their teeth, worrying that the end may be near. In their minds, dark forces of tribalism and hatred are descending from all sides to obliterate them. After years of having similar feelings ourselves, it’s [...]

The Babble of Babel

“Noise — Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile … We will make the whole universe a noise in the end.” – Screwtape Perhaps it was providence (or editorial insight) that led to two particular articles being published in Crisis Magazine on the same day. On the [...]

History has a habit of repeating itself. No matter how advanced modern man becomes the world still seems to make similar mistakes as in the past and falls for the same lies. One of the lies which America continues to believe is the notion that man can become God. This struggle to be like God [...]

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), Catholic convert and novelist. I had never read anything by Waugh and thought it was time I gave him a go, especially since I love English Catholic literary figures. Problem is, Waugh specialized in fiction and I don't. So I decided to [...]

The noted psychologist and author Dr. Leonard Sax recently visited our youngest daughter’s school for a talk with parents, focused on his recent book, The Collapse of Parenting. Sax is a leading proponent of treating boys and girls differently, and educating them separately; previous titles of his are Girls on the Edge (2005), Boys Adrift [...]

“Music praises God. Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church in all its decoration; it is the church's greatest ornament.”  ∼ Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Igor Stravinsky is everyone's idea of a “modern composer.” The riot that accompanied the premiere of his 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring has [...]

Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., among others, thought highly of Orestes Brownson—indeed, Russell Kirk, who led the Brownson revival in the last century, placed him “in the first rank of American men of ideas,” and his work is of more than historical interest. Reflections on American society as good as Tocqueville? Check. Addressing a devastating critique [...]

“You’re not making Christianity better, you’re just making rock n’ roll worse.” ∼ Hank Hill on “Christian Rock” from King of the Hill There are these musical artists who have done some religious music or who have moved from gospel to mainstream or who have dabbled in it, but there is someone else who is not [...]

John Zmirak makes all the right heads explode. For that alone, we should be grateful. John caused quite an Internet kerfuffle a few years ago with a column called Illiberal Catholicism where he identified and took apart a tendency he spotted among young Catholics who were trending toward a hatred of America, a belief now [...]

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