Washington Post

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 [...]

The Left Lobbies for a Liberal Successor to Benedict

To the dictators of relativism and their allies in the chattering class, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is seen as an occasion for celebration and a chance to lobby the Church for a liberal successor. The mischief is already underway, as seen in such headlines as: “New Pope should not condemn contraception, says cardinal.” [...]

Free Market, Not Government Policy, Drives Energy Boom

There's an awful lot that's stale in the debate on government energy policy. Some stale arguments are nevertheless valid: It's dangerous to depend heavily on Middle Eastern oil. Others have increasingly been seen as dubious: that global warming caused by human activity will result in catastrophe. There's stale talk about federal and state laws that [...]

Social Justice and the “Redistribution of Wealth”

Rev. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute takes Washington Post columnist Anthony Stevens-Arroyo to task for a piece he wrote about Catholic Social Teaching. Stevens-Arroyo argues that "since the world economy has been so badly distorted by those seeking advantage of one class over the other, Catholic social justice demands a redistribution of wealth." Rev. [...]

Words, Words, Words

If this Washington Post article is correct, modern-day Hamlets are going to have to find a new way to express their frustrations: Acronyms have been around for years. But with the advent of text and Twitter-language, it certainly feels like we're speaking in groups of capital letters a lot more. It's a question that intrigues [...]

Egypt and the Loss of U.S. Prestige in the Middle East

The upheaval in Egypt appears to be a political revolution in its purest form: a united, non-violent effort against a military dictator from across the spectrum of Egyptian people, including leftists, Christians, Muslims, Arab nationalists, Nasserites, and the Muslim Brotherhood. More than 100 Egyptians have been killed, with thousands more injured, and there has been [...]

Tucson as an Object Lesson in Political ‘Reality’

Mine was a circuitous route from philosophy to politics, and there are few recent events that better illustrate the difference between my origin and ultimate destination than the tragic event in Tucson last week. Already, the pundits are talking about the "post-Tucson climate" of politics going forward, one where "rancor" and "vitriol" should have no [...]

Does the USCCB Understand Subsidiarity?

The plan of House Republicans to read the Constitution aloud on January 6, the second day of the 112th Congress, has provoked jeering from the liberal media. Yet in the midst of the jeers came a revealing comment from Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein in an appearance on MSNBC's Daily Rundown: The issue [...]

The Tea Party versus The GOP Establishment

In a must-read morning Wall Street Journal op-ed, Senator Jim DeMint offers some advice to the incoming Tea Party candidates: The battle with your Democratic opponents is over; your war with Republican insiders is about to begin. Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you [...]

Election Day Roundup

I just returned from my polling place -- things were awfully quiet in this corner of Baltimore -- and thought I might do an Election Day roundup. First, if you're looking for an interactive election map to keep track of results, the Huffington Post has a good one. *          *   [...]

The Problem of Secrecy

Finding the correct balance between secrecy and openness in the governance of any large institution is something like finding the right balance of ingredients in your favorite mixed drink: In the end, taste has a lot to do with it. Yet, as Gabriel Schoenfeld points out in his informative new book Necessary Secrets: National Security, [...]

What’s headed to history’s dustbin?

In yesterday's Washington Post, a column by Kwame Anthony Appiah asked, "What will future generations condemn us for?" We tend to marvel at the shortsightedness of our ancestors with respect to, say, slavery; Appiah argues that actions we unthinkingly accept today will be viewed with similar incomprehension somewhere down the line. He offers three criteria [...]

Bridging the gap between the press and the Church

Last week at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen Jr. took aim at the "religious illiteracy" that still reigns among his fellow journalists (h/t Get Religion): On Tuesday a piece in the U.K.-based Telegraph carried the following headline: "Muslims will become majority in Europe, senior Vatican official warns." An alarmist subhead added: "European Christians must have more [...]

The Hook: A Week in the Life of a Catholic Preacher

It's Thursday night, and Rev. Bill Parent, a Roman Catholic priest, is still struggling with the opening of his Sunday homily. His fingers sit unmoving on his computer keyboard. He has had several ideas, but none has taken hold. He writes two sentences, stops, and rubs his chin. Then he quickly highlights them and presses [...]

Impressionable Minds: Teaching Politically Correct History

I am sitting in front of my computer in Washington, D.C. The electricity is on, and lights shine overhead; outside, I hear planes, trains, automobiles. Down the street, not far from where I live, are the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. None of this would be remarkable except that the purveyors of politically [...]

Is the WHO’s reputation damaged?

Two European reports have accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of both exaggerating the threat of the H1N1 virus and failing to disclose important information about it. In Friday's Washington Post, Rob Stein explained:    The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars, according to [...]

Seminarians in the age of the abuse scandal

I missed this article in the Washington Post when it appeared last week, but it deserves a mention now. William Wan talks with seminarians graduating from Mount Saint Mary's this year about studying for the priesthood under the shadow of the sex-abuse scandal: "In the last six years alone, I've been fingerprinted four times," said [...]

What happened to the crack babies?

Most of us can remember hearing about "crack babies" -- infants born to crack-addicted women and believed to be irreparably harmed. They were abandoned at hospitals and courageous people came forward to adopt them, warned by professionals that these children were pretty much hopeless causes.  In fact, Theresa Vargas in last Thursday's Washington Post remembers [...]

This Just In…

I collect illuminating tidbits from Modernity and offer them to discriminating readers from time to time. Herewith are the most recent for your delectation.   A Parade magazine poll on spirituality reported that "69% of Americans believe in God," and that "77% pray outside of religious services." While the article invites us to find encouragement [...]

Why Do the Media Hate the Church?

It's sad to watch the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and others attack Pope Benedict XVI. The story they have spun over the last week about his supposed mishandling of the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Rev. Joseph Murphy is risibly tenuous. These once-great newspapers trivialize themselves by publishing front-page stories making obvious their [...]

John Allen answers questions about the pope

Following up on Margaret's morning post...   John Allen, Jr., senior correspondent with the National Catholic Reporter, senior Vatican analyst with CNN, and author of The Rise of Benedict XVI, answered questions yesterday at the Washington Post about the pope and the ongoing sex abuse crisis. It's a short read and Allen is typically fair [...]

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