Christopher Manion

Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, and is the director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum Foundation. He is a Knight of Malta.

recent articles

Il Papa’s Not a Rollin’ Stone

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, has called the Rolling Stone’s recent cover story on Pope Francis superficial, negative, and crude. That’s a good start. “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” the title preens. Well, all change is “progress,” right? As we all know from the history of the past 100 years … Read more

Big Brother Makes It Personal

Four years ago, Obama’s Chicago crew borrowed a page from the Three-Card-Monte hustlers in Manhattan’s Central Park. With the nation distracted by the perils of Obamacare, Democrats quietly hijacked the student loan program from the private sector and handed it to the federal government. “We’ve eliminated the middleman,” they cawed, “and the savings will go … Read more

The Demise of Legitimate Political Authority

Some forty years ago, in his groundbreaking study, Twilight of Authority, sociologist Robert Nisbet observed a disturbing trend in American culture. As respect for authority had declined among the population, he wrote, members of that population became increasingly willing to accept and actually applaud an increasingly powerful, albeit less legitimate, government The notion of true … Read more

The Catholic Bishops and Immigration Reform

In the nineteenth century, German Catholics came to America by the millions, with surges following the revolutionary unrest of 1848 and the unification of Germany in 1871 that brought on Bismarck’s persecution of Catholics during the Kulturkampf. With them came heroic religious orders and devout laymen like those who founded Der Wanderer, a Catholic weekly … Read more

The Cost Of Being Catholic

Nowadays, “charity” conjures up various images, some of which are quite distant from everyday life. Consider the “nonprofit sector”—or government welfare programs. Others images are more immediate—soup kitchens, or Salvation Army kettles. But charity—caritas—is actually a supernatural virtue. As Saint Paul puts it, “now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these … Read more

The Return of the Conservative Conscience

In just thirteen hours, Rand Paul’s recent constitutional marathon established him as one of the best stump speakers in the senate. His easy-going, spontaneous, and cogent extended soliloquy sent a power surge through the somnambulant GOP. The ensuing swell of popular support for Senator Paul set the party—and, en passant, the conservative movement—on their collective … Read more

Benedict’s Coming Revolution Over State-Funded Catholic Charity

Pope Gregory XIV once said that “a lifetime is not enough” to see all of Rome. Similarly, the contributions of Pope Benedict XVI will last far beyond our lifetimes—yet their most lasting impact might be barely visible today. Take his “Regensburg Lecture,” delivered in 2006. The media huffed that the address offended Muslims, and wrote … Read more

The War We Are In

These are not the best of times. In fact, some folks say that the Catholic Church in the United States confronts today the greatest challenge in its history. Things were already tough before the November elections, but now they’re in the tank. The good news is that, this year, Catholic bishops were united as never … Read more

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 … Read more

Will Chairman Ryan Go To Hell? Bishop Blaire May Think So

We interrupt the presidential campaign to raise this pressing question. Back in 1969, Bill Buckley sent my parents a hilarious book—not his, but his sister’s. Aloïse Buckley Heath was mother of ten rambunctious and inquisitive children, one of whom asked her, some 48 Octobers ago, if Tommy Major’s mother, who lived next door, would go … Read more

Felix Culpa: The Movie

As Ryan Topping pointed out yesterday, in Augustine’s Confessions we learn a lot more about God than we do about Augustine. Magnus es domine, et laudabilis valde—“You are great Lord and worthy to be praised,” Augustine begins. As we read through the Confessions, we find that there is very little worthy of praise in Augustine’s … Read more

The Day After: A Declaration of War

“We’ve grown hoarse saying this is not about contraception, this is about religious freedom,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan has repeatedly insisted, regarding the lawsuits opposing the HHS Obamacare Mandate. I beg to differ. On both prudential and metaphysical grounds, it is about contraception. On the practical level, in politics, as Grover Norquist reminds us, you don’t … Read more

Sympathy for the Devil and Mercy for the Damned

And Lucifer approached the Throne, and from across the abyss there came a clamor, a wailing bereft of beauty, tone, and voice, as though a malignant choir had become suddenly awash in boiling oil. “Oh Great One,” he began, he who had been known throughout history as the Tempter, but who could tempt no more, … Read more

Authority and Its Discontents

The Church’s response to the ObamaCare Mandate calls to mind this journal’s original name, Catholicism in Crisis. Today the Church confronts a crisis – “an invasion of our religious freedom,” Donald Cardinal Wuerl calls it — and the outcome is far from certain. The Mandate is only one in a flood of attacks that will … Read more

Free Beer Mandate

It all started at the Tune Inn. The age-old dive on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast has been the launching pad for countless forays into “innovative policy initiatives,” and this one was no exception. A few Capitol Hill staff alumni had gathered for an informal reunion in the back room, beyond the louts, the lobbyists, and the … Read more

The Coming Age of the Laity

To win the culture war, the Church is going to have to break a lot of bad habits. And old habits die hard. A new generation of bishops now recognize the perils of allying with the American government that Pope Leo XIII warned against a century ago.

Is America Just a Protestant Botch?

  This essay is part of today’s symposium of lay Catholic opinion on immigration. For other contributions see this piece by Mark and Louise Zwick, this one by John Zmirak, and this news report from Zenit. For Deal Hudson’s view, see this article in The American Spectator. In the nineteenth century, German Catholics came to … Read more

A Debate That Will Live in Infamy

“Socrates understood … that a reform cannot be achieved by a well-intentioned leader who recruits his followers from the very people whose moral confusion is the cause of the disorder.” — Eric Voegelin, Plato and Aristotle   Lately I’ve been wondering if there are any conservatives left in the GOP. The Republican label hangs loosely … Read more

Bring the Troops Home

On the Feast of the Annunciation in 2003, Military Archbishop Edwin O’Brien wrote: “Long after the [Iraq] hostilities cease, the debate likely will continue as to the moral justification for the armed force recently initiated by the United States and its allies. It is to be hoped that all factors which have led to our … Read more

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