Paris

A Medieval Remedy for Modernity’s Ills

Show me a Catholic not troubled by the circumstances of these days, and I will show you a Catholic asleep. Society’s woes rock his soul, but the historic perils facing Holy Church do so even more. Not only from outside her walls, but more frighteningly, from within. How are we to keep our spirits from [...]

No-Go Zones of the Mind

According to a report in the Daily Mail, there are more Muslim than Christian children in Birmingham, England’s second largest city. The same is true in a number of other large and mid-size cities—in Luton, Leicester, Bradford, and Slough. At least three boroughs in London have more Muslim than Christian children, including Tower Hamlets, which [...]

Of Human Dignity and Shoes

For most of you this weekend contains a date you'll never forget, along the lines of September 11, or December 7 -- anniversaries of profound wounds to our country as a whole, even if we didn't lose a relative in those surprise attacks or the wars that ensued. For millions of Americans, however, January 22 [...]

Hope Flies on the Ascalon

The Avro York LV 633  “Ascalon” was an air transport developed in 1942, somewhat bulky in appearance with wings mounted high in the fuselage.   It was Churchill’s favorite flight model, with enough space for a conference room.  The name “Ascalon” was the traditional name for the lance used by St. George to slay the dragon, [...]

A Love Letter to Capitalism?

So here I am in the Holy City for a week, to attend a family wedding and restore my shattered nerves. Too many months spent teaching Great Books in rural New Hampshire is enough to reduce a civilized man to a bag of broken glass, and I need at least a week of taking subways [...]

The Constant Threat of the Miraculous

For the modern informed Catholic, the miraculous and the holy do not necessarily go hand in hand. Among many of the devout, confusion often exists as to whether miracles are real, whether they are from God or from somewhere else, and whether questionable people are profiting from them. In our time, places like Medjugorje have [...]

Searching for Holiness and Glory

It has fallen to my lot recently to teach classics in a small high school not far from my house that offers courses for homeschooled students. Most of them come from Christian households, so one may take it for granted in the classroom that traditional moral values are in place. This is convenient in an [...]

Why George Orwell Was Pro-Life

More than three decades after the legalization of abortion, the story line has barely changed. Granted, technology, especially the increasing sophistication of ultrasound, is altering the debate. But if some disinterested screenwriter right now were to turn the script into a movie, what would it most closely resemble? I'd put my money on Inherit the [...]

Universities: Who Needs ‘Em?

Normally, I would not question the wisdom of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, especially when backed by the general disposition of the Church and specific, solid papal bulls. I do not doubt that the founders of the universities at Bologna, Paris, Oxford, Salamanca, and so forth meant well. But in light of the experience of [...]

A Movie About the “Father-Son Business”

To my eye, nothing is more powerful in films than the depiction of the love parents have for their children.  Sometimes this love pops up in unexpected cinematic places. Unable to sleep this morning, still jet-lagged from my trip to the Holy Land, I watched what many consider to be Wim Wender's masterpiece, "Paris, Texas."  [...]

An American Tragedy

I taught for a while in Paris and, after knocking off work, would walk down the rue des Écoles, past the College de France, past the statue of Joachim du Bellay, to the Cinéma Henri Langois -- the best repertory cinema I know -- to see a Western. I took my seat in the dark [...]

She Is Black, but She Is Beautiful

When Dante rises with his guide Beatrice to the circle of the lovers, symbolized in Paradise by the planet Venus, he is told that the most brilliant and most deeply blessed of all the souls in that realm is Rahab, the harlot of Jerusalem who housed Joshua's spies and assisted the children of Israel in [...]

1942: Just Because You’re Paranoid

   A September article in De Misthoorn, a Dutch Nazi Journal, scorned plutocracy as an enemy of National Socialism. The Nazi Party, representing the socialism of the masses, declared itself more hostile to capitalism than to Marxism, because the latter was based on "sounder principles." Nonetheless, Bolshevism in the Soviet Union was collapsing under the [...]

No pantalons in Paris, and other archaic laws…

Appalachian Gothic

In his powerful novel Serena, Ron Rash offers a haunting depiction of greed, inhumanity, and single-minded ambition. Put in more stark terms, he writes about the force of evil.   Set in the Appalachians of Western North Carolina during the Great Depression, the book tells the story of a logging company owner named Pemberton and [...]

Bastille Day: Baptism by Blood

Yesterday probably passed without much fanfare in your home, but July 14 is a day I usually try to commemorate. Not because I carry a single drop of French blood (more's the pity -- I'd be proud to be a cousin of Joan of Arc and François Mauriac). No, it's because I think Bastille Day [...]

Should the United Nations Control the Internet?

This past November, the United Nations sponsored a meeting in Rio de Janeiro with about 1,700 participants from some 90 countries to consider the future direction of the Internet. The most serious issue they dealt with was supported by a group of nations that included China, Cuba, and Iran: Leaders from these countries are pressing [...]

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) opens to fuzzy images and confusion as the camera -- and the audience -- tries to focus itself. As the images become clearer, it appears that the camera has embodied a patient in a hospital bed.  PG-13, 112 minutes   The Diving Bell and [...]

Jean-Marie Lustiger

Journalists trying to assess the life of Jean-Marie Lustiger (1926-2007) are like the crowd at the foot of Mount Sinai trying to figure out why Moses was complicating their lives. An eloquent sadness in him was too ancient for any one race to claim; and when, in 1999, he read his own mother's name, Gisele, [...]

‘But, Monseigneur…’

Several months ago, I came across an anecdote in the life of Madame de Maintenon who, readers will recall, became the wife of Louis XIV in his latter years. This devout lady had refused to be his mistress, and was apparently instrumental in bundling him along toward some rag of authenticity in his practice of [...]

What Might Have Been

Paris, Saturday, January 14, 2004. We are at Maillot Gate, a few steps away from the Champs Elysées and the business quarter of La Defense. On the left is the 34-story skyscraper of the Hotel Concorde La Fayette—a disruptive landmark amid the gorgeous town houses whose plush façades date back to the end of the [...]

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