Books

Metropolitan Hilarion meets Pope Francis March 20, 2013

What Would the Conversion of Russia Look Like?

For much of the twentieth century, Catholics around the world prayed after every Low Mass for the conversion of Russia. Called the Leonine Prayers, originally they were conceived as a protection of the sovereignty of the Papal States, which were then under attack. This intention ended with the Lateran Treaty of 1929 but the prayers [...]

Subsidy or Subsidiarity

Individualism and community are the opposite halves of the American character. For every myth of the self-made man, there is the image of the closely knit New England small town. For every lone cowboy on the frontier, there are the social, political, and cultural groups that Americans have formed since the beginning of the Republic. [...]

The End of the Affair

It is officially over. I should admit that publicly, shameful and embarrassing though it may be. It pains me to think back over these years. When I first met her I cannot exactly recall (I had heard her name before I met her). I think I saw her first walking away from the library. In [...]

Books for Christmas

If memory serves, this past year saw electronic books top printed books in the sales figures at Amazon.com. Be that as it may, books—real books—still make wonderful Christmas gifts. Here are some recently published (and read) titles I can recommend with enthusiasm. The Union War, by Gary W. Gallagher (Harvard University Press): As the Civil [...]

The Bliss of Solitude

A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses, Isabel Colegate, Counterpoint Press,  320 pages, $25   When the English novelist Isabel Colegate, author of the acclaimed The Shooting Party, discovered an abandoned hermit’s cell in her garden, she restored it and thereby acquired an interest in the subject of hermits and solitaries. The result [...]

What’s So Great About Catholicism?

With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people -- even many baptized Catholics -- don't see it that way. Yet when the sins of men -- secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness -- blind us to this, they blind us to [...]

Is Multiculturalism Evil?

Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans? I’d be glad to read him. – Saul Bellow.   In asking about the Papuan Proust, novelist Saul Bellow summed up the core problem with the twin idols of our age, Multiculturalism and Diversity. For the ideology of Multiculturalism—now dominant on most college [...]

The Witness of Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography, Sam Tanenhaus, Modern Library, 1998, 638 pages, $20   It was early December 1948, and Congressman Richard Nixon was in the midst of the first of his "six crises." For the moment this particular crisis was in recess, and a supremely satisfied Nixon was posing for pictures. In his hands was [...]

A Portrait of Dietrich Von Hildebrand

The name Dietrich von Hildebrand is not, perhaps, as well known as it should be among intelligent and literate Catholics -- or, for that matter, among Christians of any ilk. He is a man whom Pius XII referred to as “a 20th-century doctor of the Church.” Those who remember this pontiff will recall that he [...]

Redeeming the Dreary

One of the fundamental characteristics of modernism, that cultural shift in the way we see the world, ourselves and our condition, was the celebration of the ordinary – ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary people and the ordinary things they do. Not everything about the “modern movement” – which began over a hundred years ago – [...]

On this Crock

Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, by Garry Wills, (2000) Doubleday, 328 pages, $25   When Pope John Paul II summoned Catholics to a “purification of memory” by facing up to faults, he spoke of a process that should engage us all. This stripping away of delusion and self-deception will be difficult, but it will be [...]

Exploring the Supernatural

Things in Heaven and Earth: Exploring the Supernatural, Harold Fickett, ed., Paraclete, 1998, 230 pages, $14.   We are now living through a third Great Awakening. It is, of course, a far cry from anything Jonathan Edwards could have imagined. The television show, Brimstone, depicts a damned soul released from Hell with the mission of [...]

The Atheist Book by “God”

Those prestigious publishers at Simon and Schuster selected All Saints Day to unleash the book world's latest attempt at mocking Christianity. It's called The Last Testament, by God. The author is David Javerbaum, a top writer for 11 years for The Daily Show on Comedy Central, perhaps America's leading religion-hating TV network. Is it any [...]

Crisis Magazine Summer Reading List 2011

With summer fully, oppressively upon us, it's time once again for the Crisis Magazine Summer Reading List. We've asked writers, staff, and friends to share with us some books they've recently enjoyed and what they recommend to while away a muggy afternoon. Their picks cover everything from classics to new favorites, fiction to history to [...]

The Home Lives of the Founding Fathers

All of the Founding Fathers were married, and most of them had children. What do the stories of the wives and families of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison tell us about the personality and character of these great Americans? In his latest book, Thomas Fleming superbly answers [...]

A sneak peek at Pope Benedict’s new book

Pope Benedict's second book on Jesus of Nazareth -- Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection -- is set to be released next week, but readers can get a sneak peek at a few sections now. Amy Welborn teases out one of the interesting chapters on "The Dating of the Last Supper." [...]

Dead Language: A Roger Knight Mystery

An hour after arrival in Minneapolis Philip Knight called on his client, but the man who answered the door was clearly a policeman. "Is Genevieve Magee at home?" "Who are you?" Though he was on a step below the man, Philip could see the top of his head. "I was going to ask you the [...]

On the Reading of Books

On Thursday, May 1, 1783, with "the young Mr. (Edmund) Burke" present, Samuel Johnson remarked: "It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read if they can have anything else to amuse them." The word "reading" here does not mean, [...]

The Longest Night

Tony Judt writes in the latest New York Review of Books about his struggles with Lou Gehrig's disease, the motor neuron disorder that results in the eventual loss of voluntary muscle movement. At this stage, Judt is effectively a paraplegic, a state he has come to manage (with help) during the day -- but being [...]

Mary as Global Icon

The historian Christopher Dawson acknowledged in a 1951 essay the difficulty in explaining the Christian view of history. For Christians, God's actual involvement in historical time through a particular Person and place is a theological principle around which secular history occurs. For people listening to the Christian message for the first Mother of God: A [...]

The Voice of Twentieth-Century Catholicism

Since the death of J. F. Powers in 1999, admiring reviewers (all of his reviewers have been admiring) have mourned not only his death, but the general obscurity of his novels and stories. Although his first novel, Morte D'Urban, won the 1963 National Book Award -- over the more familiar names of John Updike, Katherine [...]

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