12/01/1994

Stalks of aged goldenrod and teasel stood frozen stiff beside the roadside. Milkweed pods on rigid stems had long since split their casings, spilling seeds to the wind, leaving only whitened hollows. Rows of stubbled corn, bleached to gray-brown, sat in ice-puddled fields. Except for the black dots of crows and grackles in bare distant [...]

Stalks of aged goldenrod and teasel stood frozen stiff beside the roadside. Milkweed pods on rigid stems had long since split their casings, spilling seeds to the wind, leaving only whitened hollows. Rows of stubbled corn, bleached to gray-brown, sat in ice-puddled fields. Except for the black dots of crows and grackles in bare distant [...]

The term "deconstruction," which has its roots in Heidegger and Derrida, is now sufficiently emancipated from its philosophical moorings that it not only has entered the American vernacular, but has assumed enough trendiness to make it a bona fide "sign of the times" in our postmodern world. Examples are legion. A bookstore in the university [...]

The United Nations declared 1994 to be the Year of the Family, and that brings to mind a quip by Cardinal Newman when an avowed atheist was elected to Parliament. Asked if it would not be a scandal for such a person to take the oath of office, thereby evoking the name of God, Newman [...]

I first came across Robert Bellarmine in the late 1930s, when I was an undergraduate at Harvard, studying the history and literature of the Italian Renaissance. I remember him particularly because of the respectful presentation of his work in Charles H. McIlwain's course on the history of political thought in the West. About the time [...]

Paul Johnson

Crisis caught up with Paul Johnson on his recent visit to the United States. In this wide ranging and candid interview, the prolific British writer speaks about a coming renewal of Catholicism, his own spiritual journey, his forthcoming book on America, and democratic capitalism. Mr. Johnson also reveals his penchant for writing poetry and painting [...]

On October 22, 1994, the Catholic Campaign for America held its first National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on the theme of "Public Catholicism versus Private Catholicism" [see box below]. A series of distinguished speakers presented talks that were unusually well received; among them were Thomas P. Melady, Thomas V. Wykes, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, [...]

The following meditations were presented by Doctor Graham Leonard at Littlemore, England. I hope that I may be forgiven if I begin with some personal remarks. I think that I have reason for doing so, speaking as I am in Littlemore of one in whose relationship to God a consuming concern for truth was inextricably [...]

The Superbowl came early to Dallas this year. This showdown, however, had nothing to do with the NFL. The theme of this match: "Is Contraception Morally Permissible? Humanae vitae Revisited." On the right, Janet Smith, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, defender of Humanae vitae; on the left, Rev. Charles Curran, Scurlock [...]

How would it feel to find out one day that your biological mother was an aborted fetus? It sounds like the premise of an implausible science fiction horror story, but researchers at Edinburgh University have used mice to develop a new technique that could allow eggs from aborted female fetuses to be implanted in the [...]

If every woman enjoys an unrestricted right to abort, then every aborted child is rightfully aborted. It must also be admitted that every child which was not aborted could have been rightfully aborted. Therefore, no child who happens to be born rather than aborted can claim any right to have been born, since every woman's [...]

In recent years, especially, of course, in feminist criticism, it has become a, standard accusation that the medieval Church was misogynistic: that it was hostile, degrading, and insulting to women. But the evidence suggests that the standard view of the medieval Church as misogynistic is in many instances a tendentious oversimplification; in others simply false. [...]

The center of gravity for evangelical Protestant world mission is southern California. It was here that a group of evangelical foundations and wealthy donors gathered to discuss "world strategy" for promoting evangelism in developing countries, Eastern Europe, and the Pacific Rim. While not entirely free of problems, the focus, commitment, and sophistication of these evangelicals [...]

It was said of Woody Allen's neighborhood near Coney Island that Himmler could be elected to Congress from that district if he ran as a Democrat. In this electoral season, pro-lifers have faced a scaled-down version of this problem, as they have been compelled to incorporate, in their judgments, the strategic place of the political [...]

Why a "FIRST Amendment Watch"? The 45 words of the First Amendment were placed in the Constitution in 1791, and not a syllable of that text ever changes. What's there to watch? We watch, of course, not the Amendment but what our courts do to the meaning of its words. In two cases now pending [...]

A couple of years ago, I was to spend Christmas Eve with one of my nephews and his dear family. Though I will not specify where the following account took place, following St. Luke's example, I will say that I was an eye-witness to the truth of what follows in this sober account. I write [...]

While flipping through one of the many Christmas catalogs on the coffee table the other day, I noticed an attractive silver cross pendant and read, "The cross represents the four winds in Native American culture . . . ($39.95)." A couple of catalogs later I ran across this description of a medieval "Tree of Life" [...]

Common Wisdom: The Gift

Here we are again. Christmas. No word triggers more images, more memories. Christmas present inevitably evokes Christmases past. From childhood to old age comes this birth date, this December 25th, this portentous spiritual intrusion into secular preoccupations. That we are already heading into the red and green tsunami of Christmas — I write in October [...]

The recent elections spread distaste for the centralization of power in Washington as well ass for the corresponding effort to micromanage a longe the affairs of the nation. Far more than the arrogance of those too long in power, what irks many are those unelected bureaucrats who have come to exercise such dictatorial powers over [...]

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