Cultural Decline

Armenian Church - Trabzon - 1918 - Auction House

Return Our Churches: Murder, Theft and Denial

Property restitution is an indispensable step to right the wrongs of the past and, thus, to legitimize one’s system as free and just; hence a democracy. The Republic of Turkey projects itself as a modern democracy, a state that has successfully fused secular and religious elements and aspires not only to represent the Muslim world [...]

When Textbooks Upheld the Ideals of Our Ancestors

I am musing upon a fine book written by a teacher and prolific author, Leroy Armstrong. He is introducing the reader to the life and the work of John Greenleaf Whittier, the old Quaker poet who was once one of the most beloved writers in America. He directs our attention to “Snow-Bound,” which he says [...]

How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

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 [...]

You Can’t Have a Culture of Life if You Have No Culture at All

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 [...]

When Grace was a Staple of Popular Entertainment

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 [...]

How to Accentuate the Positive

In recent decades the Church has tried more than ever to accentuate the positive. As a result, she talks less about rules and prohibitions than in the past. Those things are important, the thought seems to be, but they exist for a purpose, and the positive teachings tell us what the purpose is. After all, [...]

Why Do We Read Good Books?

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, [...]

The Beatles and the Dawning of a New Age

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 [...]

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 [...]

How to Evangelize Without Saying a Word

St. Francis of Assisi is said to have once instructed his followers to “preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” Underlying this statement is the idea that the Christian message is made more credible and powerful when integrated within the flow of our everyday actions. It is one thing to say [...]

Know Your Enemy

A few weeks ago, as readers of Crisis are well aware, Cardinal Ludwig Mueller delivered to the American nuns who head the Leadership Conference of Women Religious the most glorious day they've enjoyed in twenty years. He noticed them. He called them out for heresy, for praising groups who had “moved beyond Jesus,” for honoring [...]

Where Is the Virtue?

A sentinel watches upon the battlements. The air is raw and cold, and it seems to have penetrated to his knees and ankles and the shoulder upon which he rests his rifle. But he paces his rounds, hour after long hour. He peers into the little glooming light showing in the east. He turns again [...]

Why Silencing Christians will Continue

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to [...]

Down the Slippery Slope: A Timeline of Social Revolution

It is certainly not breaking news to assert that America is in cultural decline. Many aspects of this decline have been widely documented: the breakdown of the family, threats to life, and ever increasing secularization. My intent in this article is to draw together the consistent progression of this cultural decline so that we can [...]

Presidential Power: A Rescuer, Not a Nemesis

Conservative voices are railing against excessive presidential power in this Obama era of government by executive order to advance a destructive leftist political agenda. Their criticism is “spot-on,” but they need to consider that the strong exertion of presidential power may be the best way after Obama to restore liberty and begin to mend the [...]

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 [...]

Miley Cyrus: Bellwether of Cultural Progress?

Miley Cyrus’s gyrations on the Video Music Awards are hardly new. In fact, Miley is getting whupped by the black community for a white performer once more taking a cultural artifact from the black experience. Some have gone so far as to call Miley racist for taking on-stage twerking into the white mainstream. You probably [...]

Finding and Losing Train Culture

My family and I are in the process of moving to a small town in northwest Ohio called Fostoria. We are here for practical reasons—it is the town closest to where I work that has a good Catholic school. That said, I have found the people, on the whole, to be quite charming and welcoming. [...]

A Nation of Sludge

 I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee; And live alone in the bee-loud glade.  And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils [...]

Stupidity: A Malady of the Cultural Elite

We live in something of a meritocracy, and our rulers believe they are by far the most enlightened and well-informed people who ever lived. For that reason they feel entitled to make the aspirations of the present day, or what they consider such, the compulsory standard for public life. They view the claim that there [...]

Another Ordinary Year in America

The student congress at Harvard, America’s most prestigious “institution of higher learning,” as the euphemism goes, has voted to provide funds to a campus group promoting sadomasochistic sex.  Members of the Love and Fidelity Network, a group promoting chastity before marriage and faithfulness within, voice their opposition, and are widely denounced and ridiculed. A female [...]

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