05/01/1987

In the first sentence of Caesar’s Coin: Religion and Politics in America (Macmillan, 294 pp., $19.95) Richard P. McBrien misquotes Lincoln. The error is only a trifling one; it alters neither the meaning of the president’s words nor Father McBrien’s application of them. But the resonances of the Gettysburg Address are so familiar to every [...]

In the first sentence of Caesar’s Coin: Religion and Politics in America (Macmillan, 294 pp., $19.95) Richard P. McBrien misquotes Lincoln. The error is only a trifling one; it alters neither the meaning of the president’s words nor Father McBrien’s application of them. But the resonances of the Gettysburg Address are so familiar to every [...]

By a stroke of genius, the film The Name of the Rose (like the book itself) casts that fourteenth-century Sherlock Holmes and early Whig, the English monk Baskerville (Sean Connery), as a Dominican friar in the order of St. Thomas Aquinas. From the very first moments, Baskerville is committed to being attentive, to being engaged [...]

To speak of Catholic education is to acknowledge, for one thing, a specific telos to education, and, for another a distinctive tradition. The recognition of that telos is, of course, shared by other believers. It consists in the awareness that the grave is not the end of man, that man is called to a life [...]

It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection — short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are [...]

The recent Vatican “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation” is a profoundly significant document. The issues it discusses, the “Brave New World” reproductive technologies and their associated social practices — in vitro fertilization, sperm banks, surrogate motherhood, sex selection, etc. — have recently emerged as major [...]

That the New York Times had as its lead story the release of the “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day” might have been predicted. That it would have run the entire text of the document in the same issue [...]

We are an amazing nation. Almost daily we are reminded that we are blessed with media analysts who fear nothing and will always tell us the unvarnished truth. Nor do we lightly ridicule the media’s sacred cows. Defamation awaits anyone who speaks impiously of, for instance, the Nobel Prize, clubbing seals, Black African governments, Planned [...]

On January 30, 1987, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed a petition on behalf of client Hector Rodas, requesting that Rodas be given a lethal injection or other “medicinal agent” to provide him with a “comfortable, dignified demise.” Rodas was a 34-year-old auto mechanic and illegal immigrant who became a quadraplegic after a [...]

God did not become man in order that men might become theologians, as the saint said, nor did God choose to save his people by means of dialectic. Presumably, too, being in constant dispute with other Catholics is not of the essence of being a Catholic. But it sure is hard to avoid. It was [...]

In an old Peanuts sketch, from a book Scott Walter once gave me, Linus and Charlie Brown are seen walking across the countryside. Linus says to Charlie, “I have a theological question. . . .” Next, they are seen, caps on, leaning on a stone fence, as Linus continues: “When you die and go to [...]

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