New York City

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Gay Activists Demand Secular Non-Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Twenty-five years ago, a small group of activists charged the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade with being a public gesture of pure homophobia. They built their case around the allegedly bigoted “Catholic character.” The trial was held before the judges of the left-leaning secular media. A jury composed of the general public yawned, [...]

Cardinal Dolan Must Step Down as Parade Grand Marshal

Now there can be no doubt—Timothy Cardinal Dolan has been played for a sucker by the organizers of the 2015 New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. He must step down as Grand Marshal. According to reports, parade organizers are engaged in last-minute negotiations with city officials to allow additional Irish LGBT advocacy organizations to [...]

More Controversy Over the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Irish are a people known for their pithy proverbs. Well, here’s one the committee that organizes the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade should take to heart: There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse. As part of a well-publicized “compromise,” the committee has said it will allow both a gay advocacy [...]

The Serpents Return to the Irish

Jesus reached out to harlots. He did not reach out to their harlotry. Jesus reached out to hypocrites, often with a rhetorical fist to capture their attention. He did not reach out to their hypocrisy. He reached out to tax collectors, those half-traitors to their nation. He did not reach out to their treachery. I [...]

When Catholic Leaders Abandon the Faithful

Earlier this year I warned that New York City’s centuries-old St. Patrick’s Day parade up 5th Avenue could soon be shut down for violating the human rights of gay groups. It never occurred to me that the parade’s organizers would unilaterally surrender the issue. A political and public relations battle has raged for decades between [...]

The Real Inequality in New York City

At the January 1 inauguration ceremony for New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Frederick Lucas, pastor of the Brooklyn Community Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, invoked God’s help to “let the plantation called New York City be the city of God.” While he was echoing Mayor de Blasio’s concerns about inequality, many denounced [...]

Sanger’s Racist Legacy Lives on in New York City Schools

In 1930, Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau allied with the Urban League to bring birth control services to the women of Harlem. By 1939, Sanger had raised thousands of dollars to support an expansion of the initiative she named “The Negro Project.” Targeted toward reducing an African-American population described in Sanger’s June, 1932 [...]

The Big Apple’s Most Deadly Zip Codes

For three years, I had the privilege of calling the New York City borough of Manhattan home. I say it was a privilege because many Americans don’t get the chance to visit, let alone to experience on a daily basis the beauty which is New York City’s organized chaos. There’s something about “the city” that [...]

Do You Believe in Good?

Not long ago, in New York City's subway system, there was a campaign underway proclaiming that people can be "good without God." The ads' anti-gospel followed upon the good news previously advertised f ro m the so-called Coalition of Reason: "Don't Believe in God? You're Not Alone." Of course, it's unlikely that even God "believes" [...]

Gotham’s Public Piano Project

While Pixar's One Man Band still holds the (somewhat dubious) distinction of being my favorite Imaginative Busking Example Ever, this New York story is a worthy entry: On Monday morning, New York City added a new sound to its usual cacophony of honking cars and taxis, groaning buses, and screeching subways: 5,280 tinkling piano keys. In a collaboration [...]

Adventures in Double Effect

Faithful Catholics have been so worn down by fighting fundamental heresies taught by bishops that we sometimes shun intrareligious dialogue -- that is, talking to sincere but confused fellow Catholics with whom we don't agree. And that's a mistake, since many issues really are complex, and we might in fact be confused ourselves. Let's take [...]

A Day in the Big Apple

This past weekend, I made my first-ever visit to New York City. Margaret and her trusty iPhone (complete with the indispensable NY Subway App) shepherded me safely through the most bewildering urban landscape I have ever experienced (as well as the most bewildering one I will ever experience, I suspect). My reactions mostly alternated between "I'm really confused [...]

1942

  For a few years now I have been writing, under the title "Cloud of Witnesses," brief reminiscences of dead people I knew when they were alive. I stopped at 50, and in the very short time it took to assemble them for a book, there were another five to be added to the list. [...]

Crime in Kansas

  During the persecution of Christians during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman prefect Rusticus was frustrated by the serene equanimity of the Christian convert Justin, a Platonic philosopher. The Romans considered Christianity a supserstitio parva (perverse superstition) and classified its morality as immodica (immoderate) for, among other things, refusing to abort the unborn [...]

‘Manners Makyth Man’

    Every day in the Great Hall of one of my schools I ate, or tried to dine, before a large fireplace carved with William of Wykeham's motto, "Manners Makyth Man." In another of my colleges, a Victorian alumnus had endowed a "Manners Makyth Man Award" for that member of the senior class who [...]

Avery Cardinal Dulles (1918-2008)

  Mies van der Rohe's dictum that "God is in the details" fit the moral architecture of Avery Dulles. While his physical architecture was likened to Lincoln, the man was discerned in the details: from his conversion to the Faith when noticing the first spring blossom on a tree, to his intimate regard for all [...]

Monsignor William B. Smith (1939-2009)

  After his Vigil Mass, the body of Msgr. William B. Smith was carried out the main doors of St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, for the last time, and I wondered how many thousands of entrances and exits he had made through those same doors since he had first arrived as a seminarian. It was not [...]

Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009

    About 25 years ago, I had the first of many dinners with the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, when he was still a Lutheran. He objected to the term "converting" for a baptized Christian who became Catholic: Rather, such a one "embraced" Catholicism. I demurred, as I thought I had converted, albeit not from [...]

Patrick Peyton

  It was astonishing to see thousands thronging the Jai Alai arena in West Palm Beach a few years before the death of Rev. Patrick Peyton (1909-1992) when I helped him with a Rosary Crusade, but I should have known that by his standard it was an unexceptional number, even smallish. No priest, unless he [...]

Pope Pius XII

In dire days of the last dark world war, one man said after a papal audience: "Pius XII judges everything from a perspective that surpasses human beings, their undertakings and their quarrels. . . . Pious, compassionate, political -- such does this pontiff and sovereign appear to me because of the respect that he inspires [...]

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