Art & Culture

Nikolaus_Kopernikus

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 [...]

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 [...]

It takes courage to speak out against the threatening presence of Islam in today’s world. And it takes courage to defend those who have the courage to speak out. Eight years ago, after Benedict XVI gave his controversial Regensburg address, most European commentators were shamefully timid in their response. Most refused to raise their heads [...]

On its 50th anniversary, A Hard Days Night has been released in a newly restored digital version to universal critical acclaim. A precious cinematic artifact of social history, even a catalyst of cultural change, the first Beatles movie is now looked upon as more than just a piece of filmmaking, with its four heroes praised [...]

In his speech closing the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI noted that “the trend of modern culture” is “centered on humanity, … the modern mind” is “accustomed to assess everything in terms of usefulness,” “the fundamental act of the human person … tends to pronounce in favor of his own absolute autonomy, … [and] [...]

I have just watched an extraordinary and deeply moving film, soon to be released by the Catholic apostolate Courage, called Desire of the Everlasting Hills. It is knit together, like a polychronic chorale, from the personal witnesses of three people, two men and one woman, who have come out of a life of sexual sin [...]

With almost $40 billion in assets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation possesses incredible influence, and is unafraid to use it. As one staffer put it, the foundation’s greatest strength is “setting agendas, framing debates, advocating the foundation's point of view and taking action ... an unchecked way of getting things done,” although some might [...]

Who Needs Poetry?

What are poems for? Is there any real point in writing them? And what about us, the folks who are expected to buy all that bilge—is it quite necessary that we actually read all that bleeping poetry? Exercising his customary acuity, C.S. Lewis tells us that poems exist to remind us that water is wet [...]

Breaking Mad

Many Americans are just getting out of rehab for their addiction to AMC’s taut modern-western crime-drama, Breaking Bad. The expression “breaking bad” is street slang meaning to break loose from the established traces and give in to wildness and wickedness. The series told the tragic, traumatic tale of Walter White, an unassuming high-school chemistry teacher [...]

On Friday, July 12, 1929, the following report appeared in The Times of London: “Our Paris Correspondent telegraphs that the death has occurred at Thuilieres, in the Vosges, of Mlle. Eve Lavalliere, formerly an actress of distinction. She had been living in retirement for the last 12 years, having suddenly come to the decision, in [...]

Modern times don’t like the authority of tradition, any more than they like prejudice or deeply rooted social stereotypes. We know more today than people did in the past, so why should we view the unreflective habits and attitudes they happened to fall into as somehow binding? People today believe in science, which relies on [...]

How would you feel if your boss came into your office one day and asked if you are supportive of the “LGBT community”? Maybe you are sympathetic to gays who face discrimination but you do not support the overall agenda. Maybe you are a faithful Catholic who accepts the teaching of the Church on homosexuality, [...]

In the splendid biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow the leitmotif that bursts into a glorious finale is that Washington truly was one of the noblest of men and Hamilton, in some ways the son that Washington never had, was a stunning genius and no less entertaining as a character. Jefferson [...]

Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptism service, the Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against [...]

“How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your [...]

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