Chilton Williamson, Jr.

Chilton Williamson, Jr. is a senior contributor at Crisis. He is the former editor of Chronicles magazine, and his column "Prejudices" appears in The Spectator USA. He is the author of After Tocqueville (ISI, 2012) and the novel Jerusalem, Jerusalem! (Chronicles Press, 2017). For over a decade he served as literary editor, then senior editor, at National Review. He blogs at chiltonwilliamson.com.

recent articles

The Scandal of Joe Biden

“Day to day pours forth speech,” we read in the Psalms; and so it does. Having read the news these past few mornings, and listened to some of the broadcasts, I’ve since been preoccupied by two questions. The first concerns Hillary Clinton: Why is the lady not in jail, or at least in the dock? … Read more

Who Will Be the Next Pope?

As a musician in my parish church, I am required to step into the sacristy every Sunday before Mass to take my temperature, register it on a form, and certify that I have no symptoms of the coronavirus before climbing up to the choir loft. The day the procedure was initiated several weeks ago, the … Read more

Liberalism Is a Sin

I have just read a story sent out on July 3 by CWN regarding the suspension of Rev. Theodore Rothrock from public ministry by the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana, where he was pastor at Saint Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel. The offense that brought about his suspension was an item he wrote in … Read more

The Sin of Sins

Baron Friedrich von Hügel was born in Germany but spent most of his life in England, having married into the distinguished family of Herberts. He was a popular spiritual writer in the Anglo-Catholic sphere of the early 20th century. One of his works, The Life of Prayer, is a short treatise that questions the assumption, … Read more

The Eldest Daughter of the Church

Recently Le Figaro printed an essay (“Le Christianisme est le coeur de l’Europe: n’oublions pas la leçon de Jean-Paul II !”) by Mateusz Morawiecki, the Prime Minister of Poland, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Pope Saint John Paul II and the battle of Warsaw, which saved Poland and Europe from invasion by Bolshevik … Read more

Who Was Jesus of Nazareth?

Reading and hearing the Passion of Christ this past Lent, I have been even more strongly impressed than in previous years by the historical objectivity and specificity of the four Gospel accounts of the events they relate. Competent narrative historians understand, as good novelists do, the importance of minute but telling factual detail to an … Read more

Why Don’t I Feel Bad for Jesus?

On the evening of Good Friday, as on the evening of every Good Friday as far back as I can remember, I was reading from Saint John Henry Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons, published by Ignatius Press. (I was surprised and disappointed to learn recently that Baron Friedrich von Hugel, the Catholic spiritual writer of … Read more

He Who Is Not Against Us

“For he who is not against us is for us.” — Mark 9:40 Ever since my conversion to the Catholic Church in 1992, I have begun every argument with Protestant disputants by justifying Her claim to be Christ’s true and only Church by adverting—after citing the plain historical fact that She is at any rate … Read more

Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic Mind

I have in my study a silver vase holding four peacock plumes and several parrot feathers. The plumes were dropped decades ago by avian residents of Andalusia, a dairy farm near Milledgeville, Georgia. The feathers come from my own Patagonian conures. The farm was once the property of Regina O’Connor and her daughter, Flannery. Both … Read more

The View from San Xavier

In an age in which the natural environment is not geography, flora, and fauna but human vulgarity in its limitless forms, it is easy to overlook even its most extreme manifestations. A notable exception is when these occur in the celebration of Holy Mass, where they are as obtrusive as clowns at a funeral. My … Read more

Musings of a ‘Catholic Agnostic’

The novelist Graham Greene belonged to a grand era in English Catholicism that began with Newman and ended around 1960. According to the author, his many books fall into two general categories: those works of fiction he described as “entertainments,” and the others he called simply “novels.” The latter reflect the degree to which Greene—a … Read more

A Royal Papacy

Some decades ago, my immediate boss at National Review, the late Priscilla Buckley, was fond of telling an anecdote about her sister-in-law Patricia (Mrs. William F. Jr.) Buckley. During a conversation on the style befitting royalty, Pat interjected vehemently, “Oh if only I were royal, how royal I should be!” Anyone who ever met her … Read more

There’s Nothing ‘Compassionate’ About Open Borders

My late father-in-law, Neil McCaffrey (founder of Arlington House publishers, The Conservative Book Club, etc.), remarked back in the 1960s that bishops would do well to learn something about economics, given their predilection for instructing the faithful and indeed the world in that discipline in its moral dimension. It has seemed to me for the … Read more

The Face of the Deep

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. I thought often of these first lines from Genesis while crossing the North Atlantic two weeks … Read more

The Nuclear Catechism

I found Charles Coulombe’s latest column for Crisis (“Can the Catechism Get It Wrong?”) of particular interest, coming as it did a few days after Pope Francis’s visit to Japan—the first such visit in 38 years—where his remarks about nuclear weapons apparently exceeded anything his predecessors had said on the subject. Before Francis, the Vatican’s … Read more

Lead Us, Please, Into Temptation

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), famous in his time but hardly ever read and nearly forgotten today, wrote two brilliant satirical novels (Main Street and Babbitt) and one gentle, bittersweet, and genuinely moving one (Dodsworth, about an uncultured Midwestern automobile executive who takes his socially and culturally ambitious wife to Europe, where she betrays him with another … Read more

Christ in the Waste Land

Thirty-six years ago a small slim book crossed my desk at the offices of National Review in Manhattan. Its title was The Restitution of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism; its author, Michael D. Aeschliman. I slipped it into my briefcase and began reading it over a martini on the flight back to Wyoming. At home, I finished … Read more

Facing Evil on All Hallow’s Eve

Several Sundays ago, our parish priest devoted his sermon to the subject of evil, which he argued has reached historic levels in the world today. A couple of weeks later, my local paper, The Laramie Boomerang, printed a front-page story about the forthcoming weeklong series of events preceding Hallowe’en (nowadays “Halloween” or “Holloween”) called “Scaramie,” … Read more

The Church Is Not a Democracy

The Amazon synod touches directly or indirectly on many issues that will have repercussions far beyond the river basin. Among them is democracy and its relationship to the Church of Rome. The current Vatican regime claims that the principle of “synodality” in ecclesiastical government is both legitimate and valuable. Bishops are in closer contact with … Read more

Living Up to Modernity

While traditional Catholic morality might have been suitable in pre-modern times, the circumstances of modern (or postmodern) life make it impractical, unreasonable, and cruel—or so argue the progressives. The world has changed since 1800, they claim, beginning with the Industrial Revolution; societies and their moralities must change with it. Once-unimaginable advances in technique (the term … Read more

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