Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen, a contributing editor at Crisis, is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts. He is the author, most recently, of Sex and the Unreal City (Ignatius Press, 2020).

Books by esolen

recent articles

Mourning the Loss

Modernism, as an ideological stance, is essentially iconoclastic. It exists principally by standing in judgment against what has existed, even when what has existed is profoundly and naturally human.

caroling

Heap Songs Upon Their Heads

We need to take our faith into the public square, and this includes bringing meaningful songs to a people starved for beauty.

crumbling

Our Moral Edifice Has Fallen

In a recent article at The Pillar, the estimable J.D. Flynn interviews a family in the Cleveland archdiocese whose son was preyed upon—through two years of utterly demonic enticement, spiritual blackmail, and cruelty—by a priest now serving a life sentence in prison. It is an agony to read, as it should be. The young man … Read more

Eden

All or Nothing

“Ye shall be as gods,” said the serpent. Whitaker Chambers called it the second oldest religion in the world. It has always proved popular. In his time, it took the form of communism. But the tempter is not so stupid as to appear in the same guise always; even human beings eventually get the idea … Read more

billboard

The Billboards of the Times

“From the beginning of creation,” said Jesus, when the Pharisees, seeking trouble, tried to pin Him down on the matter of divorce, “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are … Read more

Mass

Shadows of the Liturgy

I’ve heard a lot of gloating in the last few weeks, as Catholics of a certain sort enjoy the discomfiture of their brothers who attend the Latin Mass. Evil motives prompt those brothers, they say: hatred of Pope Francis, disdain for Vatican II, unease with women in the sanctuary, and a Right-wing politics that makes … Read more

Megan Rapinoe

The Faith and Women’s Sports

A few days ago, as everyone on social media knows, the American gymnast Simone Biles, a truly spectacular athlete, removed herself from her team at the Olympics because she could no longer trust her sense of her body as it must spin and somersault in the air and plunge to the floor. Divers have been … Read more

First things first

First Things First

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” That is from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who is one among our gallery of honored men and women at Magdalen College of the … Read more

Flag

The Sins of the Children

I have been thinking lately about the three sons of Noah. Some people have had monsters for parents, and they should tell their admonitory stories, as dispassionately but as accurately as they can, lest others fall into the same patterns of wickedness. Yet most people have for parents just the ordinary stuff of human sinners … Read more

Flag

Prodigal Nation

In my recent book-length poem The Hundredfold, you will find this hymn, inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son, to be sung to the melody “Old One Hundred Twenty-Fourth,” a melody you may know from the hymn “Turn Back, O Man”: I shall arise, and seek my Father’s house. Sated am I with all … Read more

race

The Roots of Race

The Word of the Month is RADISH. I’ve long told my students that one really interesting thing about the Roman Empire is that nobody seemed to care much about what we call “race,” that is, a large group of people, not bound by ethnicity, who share a few physical characteristics held to be definitive and … Read more

Feelings

When Your Feelings Are Wrong

“If I have to choose between my feelings or experiences and the Bible,” I heard someone say recently, “it’s impossible for me to choose the Bible.” Well, people lie about their feelings all the time, to others and even to themselves. Very often, “He offended me” means “I was looking for a way to hurt … Read more

Courthouse

Ignoble Simplism

According to the instruction Inter Oecumenici (1964), certain rites performed during the Mass were to be revised, that the services might “manifest a noble simplicity more attuned to the spirit of the times.” The noble simplicity apparently demanded that the so-called Last Gospel, the soaring prologue to the Gospel of John, was no longer to … Read more

discord

Antisocial Justice

Which is better for your own sake, to think that most people will treat you well, even if that is not quite true, or to think that most people will treat you badly? If it is the former, then people who discourage you do not have your best interest in mind. Why would they do … Read more

Police

An Accident of Attention

Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd. I won’t express any opinion about the verdict because I was not at the trial, and I have not examined the evidence closely. I’ve been advised by a policeman whose opinion I trust that a conviction for manslaughter was appropriate. … Read more

Trinity College

The Church and the Barbarians

One of the ironic things about my diploma from Princeton is that it is written in a language that almost none of the graduates understand: Latin. It confers upon me the degree of Artium baccalaureus, literally, crowned with bay leaves for knowledge of the arts. Since most college graduates write badly, if they write at … Read more

divorce

Another Kind of Death Sentence

“If you forgive men their trespasses,” says Jesus, “your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt. 6:14-15). In permitting divorced and remarried Catholics to partake of the Eucharist, Pope Francis may seem to have such words in mind, words … Read more

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