Original Sin

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

It’s Four O’Clock in America

The recent rage to knock down statues of men deemed to be evil has reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone. That series, which I believe was the best that television has ever gotten, mingled Greek tragedies with Christian morality plays, and sometimes the screenplays partook of both. That is the case with [...]

On Monuments and Memory

It is only necessary to refer to the recent incidents anent e.g. Confederate monuments and the like in order to introduce my topic: Why we ought to retain them, not only for the time being, but also for the very long run. There is, I believe, a parallel between the lives of individual persons and [...]

There Are Monsters Out There

Charity. Forgiveness. Love. Mercy. Peace. Here is the heart of the Gospel, the core of the classic Christian message. Should we, then, find someone today who models these ineffable virtues and seek to elect him, or her, to the presidency? Should a person of such transcendent noble character serve as a diplomat, a military leader, [...]

Judging Religion by the Actions of its Adherents

Throughout the centuries, one of the biggest sources of crises of faith has been the ignoble, hypocritical behavior of Christians. Józef Tischner, a Polish priest, philosopher, and Solidarity chaplain, once said that he never met anyone who lost his or her faith by reading Marx or Lenin, but he knew many who had lost it [...]

Why Do People Do Such Barbarous Things?

Hardly a day passes when some barbarous act does not jump to the headlines. Barbarous—there is no other word to describe these vile deeds. Thus, whether it be the sadistic torturing, terrorist beheadings, mass shootings or truck ramming murder sprees (not to mention genocide and war), these acts are becoming ever more common. There is something [...]

When the Perfect Becomes the Enemy of the Good

A friend shared a story with me about shopping for a birthday present for his wife. He wasn’t sure what to buy for her. She dropped some subtle hints a few weeks before her birthday that failed to bring much clarity. Then she dropped some not so subtle hints and he ended up getting her [...]

The Apocalypse in Angers

I recently stumbled upon a rare treasure: the Apocalypse Tapestry of Angers, France. Displayed in a special wing of a local chateau, the 400 foot long, double-wide fourteenth-century tapestry depicts more than 70 scenes from the Book of Revelation, the New Testament’s last book. Comprehensive depictions of the Apocalypse are not too common, so I [...]

Benedict XVI and the Roots of Injustice

As 2015 rapidly surges ahead, crashing into us like the waves from Ephesians 4:14, it is tempting to simply view the state of things pragmatically—deep thinking and serious debating on the extraordinary circumstances of today’s world seems simply out of the question. While there is no shortage of opinions, the garrulous talking heads avoid any [...]

The Voice of Fallen (and Redeemed) Humanity

For some time now I have been haunted by the image of a vast and shadowed church, in darkness but for the thin grey daylight streaming from clerestory windows. A group of boys stands about with hands in their pockets, held spell-bound by the music of an organ: Louder and louder it grew until it [...]

The Urgency of Infant Baptism

I recently wrote of one of my newborn son’s namesakes, Bl. Columba Marmion. My son, Colum, was baptized five days after birth (it would have been three except for the priest’s sickness), which is fast these days. In the old days it would have happened sooner. Pope Benedict XVI, for instance, was baptized on the [...]

Who’s to Blame for Human Depravity?

If ever you find yourself about to be eaten by an alligator, or sat upon by a hippopotamus, it is probably not a good idea to appeal to the better angels of their nature in hopes of securing your release.  In the first place, there are no better angels lurking about the animal world, nature [...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part Two: The State against the Churches

A small town in Vermont has recently been ordered to cease its immemorial tradition of opening meetings with a prayer.  The order came from a judge who does not live near.  A public school in the city where I am writing these words has banners hanging from its gymnasium ceiling, one of which featured a [...]

O the Mind has Mountains

It would be easier to follow James Thurber's advice to leave your mind alone if it could be mutual. Besides, you'd have to put your mind to it and that makes following Thurber's advice a contradiction in terms. Mind-boggling, as it were. Of course one could fall asleep, but then Thurber would lose a reader. [...]

Our Priesthood on the Couch

Since the early 1960s, almost all candidates applying to enter religious life or the priesthood have been required to undergo psychological screening. Further evaluation has sometimes been required if questions are raised about a person's fitness. Some have claimed that psychological evaluations have been used against them when the real problem is serious ideological and [...]

Original Sin

  Many people these days are utopians of some variety. We think that we can get rid of the doom that stands over us by our own efforts. We can reorganize the polity, the family, education, or the economy so that things will be fine. We cannot accept that the issue has to do with [...]

Bless Your Heart, Tramp!

  There we were, the four of us: me; an academic colleague of mine; a 60-something, salt o' the earth, sarcastic Yankee pastor; and a smart Midwestern seminarian on the brink of ordination. The beer was flowing freely -- into my glass, anyway -- and we were having the kind of conversation laymen have with [...]

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