Secularism

Amin al Husseini bei bosnischen SS-Freiwilligen

If It Looks Like a Duck: The Islamist-Nazi Connection

One of the great advantages we have over our ancestors is hindsight. With a clearer picture of the past, we can avoid making the same mistakes they made. But what if we’re not allowed to use our hindsight? What if we’re forced to pretend that what happened in the past bears no relation to what [...]

The World and the Church

In his speech closing the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI noted that “the trend of modern culture” is “centered on humanity, … the modern mind” is “accustomed to assess everything in terms of usefulness,” “the fundamental act of the human person … tends to pronounce in favor of his own absolute autonomy, … [and] [...]

Hobby Lobby Decision is Also a Mandate

On June 28, 1776, the first draft of our nation’s Declaration of Independence was introduced to the general session of the Second Continental Congress.  The 28th was a Friday, and so the founding fathers tabled the draft until the following Monday, July 1st, when they took it up again for debate.  A resolution for independence [...]

Why We Are Arguing About Religion

Most of us have been told from a young age that religious beliefs cause strife. The early modern “wars of religion” are portrayed as merely the most overt form of what happens when religion is allowed too much influence in public life. Of course, Protestant and Catholic forces fought on both sides of these conflicts. [...]

Is the Left Waging a War on Religion?

Is the left waging a war on religion? Peter Beinart doesn’t think so, and published a piece in The Atlantic explaining how the war on religion is just a silly conservative canard. As obtuse as this argument might seem, his missive is instructive as a tutorial in how egregiously modern progressives fail to understand what [...]

Escape Egalitarian Tyranny with Socratic Questioning

Last month I discussed how the assumptions and language of public life today, which are based on commercial and bureaucratic concerns, are biased against Catholics. To make matters worse, the all-pervasive electronic media, increasing reliance on commerce and bureaucracy in everyday affairs, and changes in the purposes of formal education, along with its radical expansion, [...]

Is Pluralism a Threat to Catholic Survival?

With few exceptions, American Catholics have given up on the dream of a Catholic society. Instead, they have come to aspire to a seat at the table: a respected position in public life that lets them bring their insights and values into public discussion within a pluralistic system. At first glance the aspiration seems sensible. [...]

The Blind Faith Beliefs of Secular Culture

Secularists are known for dismissing religion as merely espousing a set of blind faith beliefs without any evidence to support them. The crudest among them will often do it in a snide and sneering way, holding that religious belief is imagination and fantasy—like a childhood fairy tale—in contrast to the “scientific” view that they espouse. [...]

Rebuilding Catholic Society

The Church is not part of the State. Nor is she simply a part of civil society set up by her members to advance their public and private goals. She is an independent society established by God to be a light to the world. As such, she has her own principles of existence, authority, and [...]

Are Muslims Our Natural Allies?

Conservative Catholics have been faring badly in the fight against militant secularism, so it’s understandable that they would be looking for allies to stand alongside them in the culture wars. Some Catholic intellectuals seem to think that Muslims are our natural allies in this struggle because they supposedly share similar values and because, like Catholics, [...]

Conscience Freedoms Denied by Liberal Courts

Two recent court cases illustrate the incoherence and remarkable intolerance of “liberal” views regarding conscience. One involves the bottomless pockets of the atheist Michael Newdow, who most recently joined several plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department demanding the words “In God We Trust” be scrubbed from U.S. currency.  Newdow advocates what Richard [...]

Why We Should Respect Someone Else’s Conscience

The scene is from C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  The callow young sociology professor, Mark Studdock, an atheist and a social climber, has been detained in a cubicle deliberately fashioned with odd annoying angles and not-quite-right pictures on the wall.  His detainers aim to break down in him any last sense of the inner [...]

How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?

Secular liberalism is at odds with Catholicism. The point seemed obvious to most people until the postwar period, when the thought took hold that an essentially harmonious relationship could be established that would draw on the American model. America, it seemed, was different from Europe with its long tradition of statism and anti-clericalism. It rejected [...]

The Christian Vestiges of Post-Christianity

It would be a mistake to think that Post-Christianity is a return to paganism, purely and simply. Certainly its environs include numerous strains of paganism—New Ageism, eco-feminism, “new cosmology” mysticism, etc.; and one’s post-Christianity may be amalgamated with such strains. But the post-Christian denizen is marching to a different drummer. He may be unaware of [...]

The French Defy Socialists over Gay Marriage

Many should be aware of the massacres and massive human rights violations visited upon the Catholic Church during the French Revolution, especially in the Vendée, but there is another more recent period in French history in which the Church was violently oppressed that has received far less attention. Historian Jean Sévillia’s Quand les catholiques étaient [...]

The Coming Christian Renaissance

The linear conception of history is so seductive, even antagonistic groups like Enlightenment philosophers and Marxists adopt it.  It pervades their attitude toward religion. Both believe society matures as it sheds its religious heritage. Infantile societies practice religion, but progressive societies are secular, they maintain. Voltaire viciously expressed Enlightenment hostility toward organized religion when he [...]

Using the Aphorism to Challenge Liberalism

According to a recent survey, the average college student’s idea of Tyrannosaurus rex is modeled on Barney the purple dinosaur. Accurate portrayals in movies and textbooks make no difference: students continue to believe T. rex stood upright instead of pitched forward like the real thing. Once people get ideas in their heads it takes very [...]

Can You See the Baby?

Another December, another War on Christmas. Every Advent, it seems, we must slog through a barrage of anti-Christmas noise commandeered by the usual suspects. Full of sound and fury, they engage in a grotesque and painful pirouette with spineless officials and misguided judges to cleanse any remaining whiff of religion from public life. The all-too [...]

What the Reformation has Wrought

The day may come when Catholics can support neither of the main American political parties or their candidates. Some think it’s already arrived. Alasdair MacIntyre, the Notre Dame philosopher, argued along those lines a few years ago, explaining why he couldn’t vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t know what Professor MacIntyre [...]

The Wrong Side of History

October is the month of the Most Holy Rosary, a devotion associated in modern times with the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima in 1917, during the First World War. Mary asked for prayer and penance, which she always requests in these private revelations that echo the public revelation in the Gospel: “Repent, [...]

Godless Secularism Assaults Life and Liberty

Following is the homily given October 14 by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on the occasion of the Marian Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty. On this beautiful autumn Sunday in [...]

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