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Media Repeatedly Deceives Public in Hobby Lobby Coverage

In the buildup to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, and even more so in its aftermath, prominent news outlets have been aggressively spreading falsehoods about key aspects of the case. Beyond logical fallacies about who is imposing their will on others, many reports and commentaries also contain statements that are discredited by the scientific [...]

There and Back Again

The mythologist Joseph Campbell discerned that the pattern of the hero’s quest is for the classic hero to be discontented in his ordinary world, hear the call of adventure, embark on a great quest and then return to the ordinary world bearing a great gift for the salvation and redemption of the ordinary folks left [...]

Keeping the Feast: The Unity of Faith & Life

My friend Jeremiah sent me a link to the music video for the song “Dégénération,” by the French-Canadian band Mes Aïeux. In the video, an elderly Québécois farmer shovels dirt from a pile into a wheelbarrow before trudging deliberately down the furrows of a field to meet a slightly younger woman who scoops some into [...]

Contemporary Challenges to Family Unity

Absence often manifests the importance of presence. I think of my one year old son Raphael. When my wife is not at home, he looks at me and utters a plaintive interrogative, "Mama?" "Mama will be home soon," I respond, hoping the tone and feeling behind my words will convey a comfort their meaning cannot. [...]

Obama Misrepresents Catholic Schools

Recently visiting Northern Ireland for the G8 meeting at Lough Erne, President Obama said this during his now-traditional speech to local young people: If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages [...]

Great Gatsby’s Facebook Mansion

The Great Gatsby (the book; I haven’t seen the movie yet) describes a particular kind of life that used to be the sole property of well-heeled WASPs. They were the privileged ones who came from all parts of the country to convene on The East—New York, Boston, New Haven. They could afford all the new [...]

Leo XIII: “Without Faith, Liberty Degenerates into License”

The good and wise Pope Leo XIII never condemned an error without commending a truth.  In this series on Catholic Social Teaching, then, I believe I should follow the Holy Father’s example.  It’s easy to inveigh against what Leo condemns; more rewarding, though, to reveal the beauty of what he commends.  In this essay, then, [...]

The Nation of Alcatraz

President Clinton, wagging his finger in accusation, has said that the Republican philosophy of government is, “You’re on your own.”  The sheer absurdity of the statement staggers the mind.  I doubt there is a single person in the nation who knows, even approximately, the number of government programs at all levels instituted to assist the [...]

The Case Against School-Based Clinics

Let me start by telling a story. I was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I lived before coming to Washington. Chapel Hill is a fairly typical up-and-coming community. I think it would be fair to call parts of Chapel Hill a home of Yuppiedom — very successful, wealthy young professionals on the way up. [...]

The Small Community Revival: Solving Social Problems On a Human Scale

The revitalization of our federal system of government promises to be one of the enduring legacies of the administration of Ronald Reagan. Certainly it has been an essential ingredient in its electoral success. Ronald Reagan has understood the essence of federalism in a way that few other conservative public figures have in recent decades. Until [...]

The Deadly Silence: AIDS and Social Censorship

We are an amazing nation. Almost daily we are reminded that we are blessed with media analysts who fear nothing and will always tell us the unvarnished truth. Nor do we lightly ridicule the media’s sacred cows. Defamation awaits anyone who speaks impiously of, for instance, the Nobel Prize, clubbing seals, Black African governments, Planned [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

The lay state is, of course, the normal condition under which life is led. The priesthood is defined in relief against the lay state. A priest in any culture is one set apart to mediate between God and man. He is the offeror of sacrifice on behalf of the people, the master of rite and [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

The cynic might say that the typical diocese is headed by a bishop and has various operations which are run by priests, staffed by religious, and paid for by the laity. This checkbook approach to the apostolate of the laity certainly exists, even flourishes, in certain parts, but it has severe dangers for those on [...]

Empty Liturgies: Where Sentiment Triumphs Over Transcendence

Councils of the Church do not always turn out as close participants thought, as I learned at Vatican I. So it has been sobering to an historian to observe below the fate of Vatican II. I seem to detect a universal consensus that "the spirit of Vatican II" was destructive of the true life of [...]

Privatizing Religion: The Supreme Court’s Real Objective

“Baby Jesus Saved by Plastic Reindeer.” That should have been among the many headlines of March 6, 1984 heralding the Supreme Court's most celebrated church-state ruling of the eighties. At least, that is precisely what the decision amounted to. The Court concluded that, were it not for the inclusion of such "secular" figures as Rudolph [...]

American Women and the Church: A Dialogue

Sister Marita Carew, RSHM is President of the Executive Committee of the New York Archdiocesan Council of Women Religious, a position to which she was elected in 1985. She is also Provincial Superior of the Eastern American Province of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, presently serving her second three-year term. Sisters of [...]

Quodlibets: Going Home

Late spring and summer become, with age, times of commemoration. Class reunions, anniversaries of one graduation or another and, for many, a visit to the town where we grew up. Some move from a small town to the city, but I went from Minneapolis — which, together with St. Paul and the swarming suburbs, makes [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

As members of the Theology Department of the University of America we wish to associate ourselves with the public statement of support issued by Bishop Matthew B. Clark, Father Curran's local ordinary. We concur with Bishop Clark that Father Curran is a priest of exemplary personal life, generous in his availability to other persons. We [...]

Our Tradition: The Restless Soul of Thomas Merton

In his early years as a monk, Thomas Merton tried determinedly to give up writing, convinced that it was a worldly occupation and hence incompatible with his monastic vocation. He met determined opposition in this effort, opposition incongruously provided by his religious superiors. Their argument — that Merton should consider writing as part of his [...]

Observations: A Day in the Decline of America

There are days when I find myself imagining a 1 historian in some future century writing an account of "The Decline and Fall Of the United States" similar to the book Edward Gibbon produced in the 18th century about ancient Rome. One of those days was Thursday, March 20, 1986, when the City Council of [...]

The Last Word: Sandinophilia

A profoundly disturbing note in the debate on the conflict in Nicaragua was sounded in a nationally televised debate in March. Appearing on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour as an opponent of U.S. aid to the contras, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton refused to offer a shred of sympathy or support for Managua's embattled archbishop, Cardinal Obando y [...]

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