Art & Culture

Abortion Anniversary

A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him [...]

A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him [...]

Recently, whilst traveling through Ireland, I passed over a small bridge. The river was easily crossed but I was conscious that the waters below were those of the River Boyne, and that upon its banks had been fought a battle that was to prove calamitous for the Catholic faith in these islands. And yet, for [...]

It is often assumed that Norman Rockwell did not like “modern art.” This is definitely false. He liked it very much. On his studio wall, Rockwell had a print of a work by Picasso: on the bookshelves in his studio he had books on painters such as Roualt, Matisse, Munch, Seurat, Dali, Toulouse-Lautrec and other [...]

The Drop Box is a heart wrenching, yet, inspirational documentary about a selflessly heroic South Korean pastor, Lee Jong-rak, who is consumed by a compelling desire to love unconditionally abandoned and helpless newborn babies. The film opened at a limited number of Canadian theaters in early March. Yet, due to its popularity, movie goers in the United [...]

What does one do when faced with obvious and widespread wickedness? Are there protocols to consult that enable one precisely to know what ethical course of action to take? And how do these protocols work when so many of one’s own countrymen seem not to have noticed, or particularly to care, that awful things are [...]

Is it really only 10 years since the book named after a genius rose to the top of the bestseller lists—a name linked forever to that true genius, Leonardo De Vinci? The link with the painter, and what his art purportedly represented, was in theological terms to become, for some at least, akin to Darwin’s [...]

Confirmation bias is the tendency to ascribe greater significance to information that supports our pre-existing theories and lesser significance to information that contradicts those theories. We often do this subconsciously. For example you get a new car, and now you notice that same type of car on the road with a much greater frequency than [...]

Mercatornet, a pro-life blog about end-of-life issues, has just reported the latest doublespeak percolating among the anti-life crowd: “dignicide.” How to describe killing yourself, or getting somebody to kill you? “Murder” is so gauche in our voluntaristic, nominalistic culture in which the will defines reality: can you really be murdered if you agree to being [...]

While the Christian world and its religious allies cry in the wilderness that sex is sacred; the rest of the world is rushing to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Over Saint Valentine’s Day weekend, the bacchanal film set a box-office record for an R-rated movie opening in the month of February—and thus the record set [...]

The time was 1941, the war then raging across Europe had entered its third terrible year, and a young Catholic philosopher by the name of Josef Pieper had just brought out a book, a lovely little thing of less than sixty pages, called A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart. Amazingly enough, [...]

Lent is a time for taking stock. It is a spiritual workout consisting of prayer, fasting and alms giving. We pray, read spiritual books, and give something to someone in need. But too often we get distracted, we forget to pray, and lose interest in the books we have earmarked for the season whilst suddenly realizing [...]

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently noted the visceral kind of cringe we experience when we hear that ISIS jihadis have decapitated yet another person. Brooks adeptly explained that the thought of a person’s head torn away from the rest of him triggers horror precisely because of its bold irreverence toward the human form. [...]

The expression “sexual immorality” seems overly contentious to people today. To say someone has acted immorally is usually to say he’s acted in a way that’s morally repellent. But most people don’t feel that way about non-standard sexual activity. It’s not fornication, adultery, or sodomy that leaders of thought consider repellent, but the pharisaical judgmentalism [...]

“Heraclitus once said that ‘Nature loves to hide.’ Not from Aristotle. He writes as though nature is living next door and running a taverna.” This summary judgment—at once engaging, elegant, and thoughtful—typifies Armand-Marie Leroi’s The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science (Viking-Penguin, 2014). Equal parts pilgrimage, idyll, and polemic, The Lagoon is a marvelous invitation to [...]

For a little more than 100 years we’ve had standardized IQ tests, and over those 100 years there has been a consistent, linear increase in IQ scores, on the order of 3 points per decade. According to IQ tests, we are getting smarter. Also over the last 100 years, rates of belief in God and [...]

The God of Sundays

In the year 1617, King James issued his famous Declaration of Sports, a document which would be controversial due to its encouragement of the English to participate in certain sports on Sundays and Holy Days. This document, also known as simply the Book of Sports, enumerated a number of licit sports, which were fair game, [...]

Of late, much attention has been given in both the secular media and Christian media to those who call themselves “gay celibate Christians.” As a man attracted to men yet committed to traditional Catholic teaching on human sexuality, I find the notion both of being “gay” or “celibate” strange. Indeed, in the context of what [...]

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” Those who choose repose receive release from the mandates of truth—but it is only temporary. Truth cannot be rejected forever. Those who choose truth, on the other hand, have no rest—and so they march. They march ever onward. The March [...]

“Truth is the self-manifestation and state of evidence of real things. Consequently, truth is something secondary, following from something else. Truth does not exist for itself alone. Primary and precedent to it are existing things, the real. Knowledge of truth, therefore, aims ultimately not at ‘truth’ but, strictly speaking, at gaining sight of reality.” ∼ [...]

Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson and directed by John Michael McDonagh is a movie serious Catholics must see. Largely overlooked when it was released in North America in August 2014, moviegoers who missed it in the theater now have a chance to see it on DVD. The confessional is the tomb, and the confessed sinner, pushing [...]

What do we see? And what does it matter? As an older father and educator of my youngest daughter, now sixteen years old, I have the joy of truly learning Shakespeare for the first time. In recent months we have tackled two Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. One is billed as the [...]

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