Art & Culture

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The ALS Association’s viral “ice bucket challenge” has been successful in raising over $90 million dollars to fund research for the prevention, treatment and eventual cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The entertaining viral videos of celebrities and “regular” people successfully and sometimes not so successfully dumping full buckets of ice water over their heads [...]

The ALS Association’s viral “ice bucket challenge” has been successful in raising over $90 million dollars to fund research for the prevention, treatment and eventual cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The entertaining viral videos of celebrities and “regular” people successfully and sometimes not so successfully dumping full buckets of ice water over their heads [...]

The 1960s were intended as a rebellion against the materialism, mindless conformity, soullessness, and general inhumanity and immorality of commercial and bureaucratic (“corporate and militaristic”) America. The answer, it was thought, could be found in freeing ourselves from a society gone wrong by rejection of social forms, pursuit of intense experience, and “doing your own [...]

Across the nation the school year is starting, and on university campuses 18-year-olds are moving into their dormitories and starting their freshmen orientation. Many are apprehensive. Their parents are probably more so. Among the questions on the minds of their parents especially: are the intellects of the Ivory Tower going to undermine their children’s faith? [...]

Back to Schooling

The art of education is under a cloud in this country, largely because it is treated as a science. Schools are not research institutions. They are not data mills. They are conservatories of culture. In the current anti-cultural climate how can teachers, especially Catholic teachers, ensure that students learn the rudiments of culture—and the rudiments [...]

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 [...]

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