09/01/1986

At first glance, the question of whether conservatism is optimistic or pessimistic seems to touch on an issue centrally important to the discussion of what it means to be conservative. We are all, I think, aware of the (lately mostly unspoken) debate out of which this question arises: it is a debate about nothing less [...]

At first glance, the question of whether conservatism is optimistic or pessimistic seems to touch on an issue centrally important to the discussion of what it means to be conservative. We are all, I think, aware of the (lately mostly unspoken) debate out of which this question arises: it is a debate about nothing less [...]

The exercise of discipline is often a painful experience — not only for the one disciplined, but for the one who disciplines him as well. Although the Vatican did not intend to cause Father Curran distress (indeed, the Sacred Congregation made every effort to find a mutually acceptable solution), no one can deny that his [...]

Since Pope John Paul II's visit to Central America,  something has become evident that had earlier drawn little attention: the religiousness of our Central American peoples and that religion's moral and civic force. But in the same measure, a crisis could be observed: a new awareness, an uneasiness, a search by these great religious forces. [...]

More than any single person, John Henry Newman is responsible for legitimizing Catholicism in Britain. Before the publication of his classic, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (an account of his religious conversion and beliefs), it was still fashionable to espouse anti-Catholic and antipapist sentiments in England. Certainly prejudice against Catholics was not entirely obliterated after Newman's [...]

With scarcely a voice raised in protest, adoption in America has become the Silent Solution. In the last 20 years we've witnessed a remarkable statistical turnaround: then 85 to 90 percent of all unwed mothers placed their babies for adoption; now 85 to 90 percent of unmarried teens who give birth choose to keep their [...]

It is hard to deny that the Roman Catholic Church is in a period of decline almost everywhere — Africa being the major exception. Nuns, monks, and priests leave their vocation. Seminaries are depleted. Bishops and the clergy often seem more interested in social work, social justice, and questions of war and peace, than in [...]

Mary Tyler Moore, television's sweetheart, pushed into Lou Grant's male turf to raise a point. Grant, television's tough guy, wouldn't look up from his papers, but allowed her to argue her case. Then he growled like a grizzly, shuffled his papers, and, without looking up, gave in. His capitulation confirmed stale news. The family wage [...]

Written and directed by John Hughes Paramount In the American heart there's a spacious niche for rogues. Flux rules American life and rogues know how to go with the flow: up and down the social scale, into intimacies with reform-minded women, into the pockets of the rich, out of harm's way. While most of us [...]

The tax reform of 1981 was far less sweeping than tax reform in 1986 promises to be. Nonetheless, a top advisor to the U.S. Catholic bishops has said the 1981 tax law can "in no way" be characterized as fair. Monsignor George G. Higgins so advised the bishops in his regular column last spring in [...]

Back to school used to mean piling the kids into the station wagon and heading for Payless. It meant Star Trek lunchpails and packets of wide-lined paper. It meant picking up new uniform jumpers crisply pleated, and hours on the phone with assorted parents, working out carpool schedules against myriad conflicts. It meant laying in [...]

On Pentecost, 1986, John Paul II published a fundamental encyclical, Dominum et Vivificantem, on the "Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World." This encyclical is meant to be the third part of a series on the Trinity — still, as Frank Sheed used to remark, the most fascinating of topics to [...]

Talking on the phone with a woman whose name is one of those that dangle from my family tree, I asked her how she spelled it. The answer was an orthographic surprise, but there was an explanation. Her husband's family changed the spelling when they left the Church so they wouldn't be confused with their [...]

“This chamber literally reeks of blood." The speaker was Senator George McGovern, the subject was American involvement in Vietnam, and the chamber in question was the United States Senate. At the time, I was favorably disposed toward McGovern; I shared his general views about Vietnam. Yet that statement shocked me, disturbed me; it forced me [...]

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