secularization

Guidestar Joins the Targeting of Christian Groups

You may never have heard of the website Guidestar. It is an invaluable tool for those seeking information on nonprofits, everything from the Ford Foundation to your local pro-life group, provided they have nonprofit status with the federal government. All nonprofits are listed at Guidestar. Potential donors can peruse the tax returns of these nonprofits [...]

When Secular Elites Demand Religious Tests for Public Office

One piece of news in the wake of the surprise election results in the United Kingdom was the announcement that Tim Farron would resign as leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, in large part because of the tension he felt between his party’s platform and his Christian faith. “To be a political leader—especially of a [...]

Why the Odds Favor Islam

On May 22, an Islamic suicide bomber detonated himself outside a pop concert in Manchester, England, killing and wounding dozens, many of them young children. The terrorist was a 22-year-old named Salman Abedi. A few days after the attack, I was reading an article about the mosque he attended—the Didsbury Mosque. “That’s funny,” I thought [...]

Good News For Cranky Catholics in a Post-Christian Age

Whereas T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month” in The Waste Land (a fact empirically verified for me by living in Alaska for 9 years), I’ve found that, at least in the decade of the 2000s, October sometimes became my crankiest. 2004 and 2008 come to mind. Both involved a significant pre-election immersion [...]

The Catholic Answer to the Abuse of Power

The accumulation and exercise of power is on the rise in public life. The secular culture is obsessed with power, especially the universities and those institutions most directly influenced by them, including the media, even local government, and, sadly, service-oriented non-profit organizations. Corporations are also exercising power in new and frightening ways. Power is the [...]

Who Will Endure the Coming Persecution?

During the days when David was king (1010-970 BC), the leaders of the tribe of Issachar were lauded because they “were endowed with an understanding of the times and … knew what Israel had to do…” (I Chron. 13:33). Jesus rebuked the crowds for not understanding their present age: they knew how to predict the [...]

A Torah Scholar Helps Explain the Age Of Foolishness

Maybe it takes a Torah scholar and religious Jew to help us understand the roots of the inverted values that animate Western civilization. For over ten years, author and radio talk show host Dennis Prager taught the first five books of the Bible verse-by-verse at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. According to Prager [...]

The Godlessness of Cultural Uniformity

A story in Florence, Italy recently caught the attention of many around the world. It was big news when public outcry caused Florentine city officials to backtrack from an agreement to let a McDonald’s open in the historic Piazza del Duomo, not far from Florence’s historic fifteenth-century cathedral. It would harm the identity of the [...]

Apostasy in England and Europe

There once was an excellent Jesuit boarding school in England by the name of Beaumont, which began admitting boys back in the mid 1800s. Soon after opening its doors, it decided to challenge a neighboring school to a game of soccer. And so the headmaster sent his counterpart at nearby Eton a letter suggesting a [...]

Apostasy: The West’s Only Hope?

Edward Gibbon would be amused. Charles the Hammer would be disgusted. Augustine of Canterbury would be aghast. London, one of the great capitals of Christendom, now has a Muslim mayor. In 732, Charles Martel blocked the spread of Islam into Gaul and the heart of Europe at the Battle of Tours. In those days, Western [...]

Should the Solemnity of the Ascension Be Moved?

Thursday, May 14 was the Solemnity of the Ascension in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, Newark, New York, Omaha, and Philadelphia. In the rest of the United States, the Solemnity of the Ascension was marked on Sunday, May 17, which suppressed the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Church discipline in the United States allows for [...]

The True Benedict Option for Our Time

Catholics who concern themselves with political and social issues, and non-Catholics who believe in a social order that takes natural law and human nature seriously, face trends that seem overwhelming and point toward a social order with no concern for most of what makes us human. Hence the talk about the “Benedict option,“ which seems [...]

On Going to Gaming

When I was a graduate student at the Angelicum back in the 1980s, I sat at the feet of learned and clever Dominicans who were determined to teach me theology. It was a heady experience and to help pay for it, along with providing support for the young family I brought with me to Rome, [...]

Growing Opposition to Prayer in Public Life

In the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino on December 2, I noted a very disturbing reaction, which speaks of a growing cleft in American society. That chasm should be worrisome both to those who believe America is growing into two separate and irreconcilable societies, as well as for those who think American [...]

Subordinating the Sacred to the Secular

In recent decades the Church has softened her public witness for the truth of the Catholic vision of things. That tendency became much stronger after the Second Vatican Council, and can even claim some support from statements such as the address of Bl. Paul VI at the Council’s close. The change has corresponded to a [...]

The Next Steps in the Secularization of Ireland

The fact that more than sixty percent of the Irish electorate supported an amendment to the nation’s constitution recognizing same-sex “marriage” caught many people by surprise last spring. They may have been clinging to an outdated image of Ireland as a bastion of devout Catholicism. Unfortunately there further disturbing changes that are being advanced. One [...]

Is the Church Prepared to Confront the Secular Culture?

The Catholic Church in America (CCA) seems to be unable to play a leading role in fighting the damaging socio-cultural trends of our time and now, for the first time since the colonial era, even faces serious threats to religious liberty. Why is the Church in such a weakened state? Some commentators would single out [...]

The “Benedict Option” and the Barbarian Challenge

Scratch the soul of many a conservative and beneath you will find a villager. Something is there that attracts these Americans to more natural and simpler lifestyles. Perhaps it is because organic and authentic things appear restful and reassuring in a world of uncertainties and anxieties. However, what makes the organic option particularly attractive to [...]

Conciliation with Liberal Modernity is Not Possible

The transcendent aspects of religion have little meaning for most educated Westerners today. They may consider religion worthy of respect or at least toleration when it relates to practical matters like willingness to help others and accept them as they are. Otherwise, it’s “fundamentalist”—strange, irrational, dangerous, oppressive, and very likely fraudulent. So when the issue [...]

Why Religious Liberty Arguments Aren’t Working

I am a very committed, very public advocate of marriage as a gender-based institution. Many of my fellow proponents of man/woman marriage cite religious liberty as an argument against redefining marriage. While I have great respect for those who promote this view, I must respectfully disagree with their assessment. The uproar over the Indiana Religious [...]

The Medical Profession’s War on Christian Ethics

Over a quarter century ago, Richard John Neuhaus coined the phrase “the naked public square” to describe efforts to drive religiously influenced values and their adherents out of public life and policy making. Neuhaus foresaw the intolerance of the “tolerant” hanging out a “practicing Christians/Jews please check your values here” sign. He also rightly pointed [...]

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