04/01/1995

The welfare state is in crisis. As this is being written the Clinton administration has just had enormous difficulties in getting any budgetary program through Congress, even one as gimmick laden and patched together as this congressional product was. To be sure, the president's difficulties are compounded by his own ineptitude at key moments and [...]

The welfare state is in crisis. As this is being written the Clinton administration has just had enormous difficulties in getting any budgetary program through Congress, even one as gimmick laden and patched together as this congressional product was. To be sure, the president's difficulties are compounded by his own ineptitude at key moments and [...]

De Tocqueville is remembered among other things for having taught us that disestablishment or the separation of church and state, which America was the first nation to institutionalize, was good for both civil society and religion. That it should have been regarded as good for civil society is not surprising since state neutrality in matters [...]

When I admonished a group of pro-life picketers at a local abortion clinic that their big sign, "PRAY THE ROSARY TO END ABORTION!" was not a good idea, I found myself excoriated as a turncoat pro-lifer who despised the rosary. My only point had been that the place where they were making their display was [...]

During the final weeks of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, in late August and early September 1787, the text of the proposed new Constitution of the United States of America was almost finished. What still had to be decided was how to complete the job. What government the United States had at the time was [...]

The Supreme Court is at it again. The Justices are looking this term at two church-state questions which have long perplexed them. One is the yuletide baby-Jesus-in-the-public-square problem. This time, in the case of Pinette v. Review Board, a private group set up a Latin cross near the Ohio state capitol. This public space has [...]

The national tragedy occasioned by the Supreme Court's abortion decision in Roe v. Wade has obscured a similarly devastating and perhaps even more far-reaching catastrophe for American society brought about by the Court's jurisprudence. Coinciding with the decisions leading to and expanding a constitutional "right" to contraception and abortion has been a line of decisions [...]

Ash Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court: The justices are hearing arguments over the University of Virginia's refusal to fund the Christian student magazine Wide Awake. As debate focuses on the nature of religious speech, Justice David Souter remarks, "It seems to me it is one thing to recruit people to one's organization and another [...]

The 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is an occasion for taking stock — and not just for those whom general opinion deems remote accessories to the crime. As Solzhenitsyn discovered in the Gulag, the true divide of good and evil runs not between guard and prisoner, between tormentor and victim, but rather through [...]

Contemporary Catholic problems have been exacerbated, if not caused, by members of the intellectual elite, both inside and outside of the Church, who make it their business to challenge and ridicule authoritative teaching at every opportunity. Not surprisingly, the media willingly provide forums for these self-styled defenders of reason against the so-called irrational prejudices of [...]

In November, 1978, the late Terence Cardinal Cook of New York invited me to come to the archdiocese to establish a spiritual support system for men and women with homosexual orientation who desired to live chastely. With the help of Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., and others, I began our first meeting in September, 1980 at [...]

We are all familiar with that rite of passage in which an individual who has been elected or appointed to public office is asked to swear that he will defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. At the instant that he utters the magic words, "I do," that individual is vested with the [...]

The mind of the establishment media was reflected, as ever, by Mr. Peter Jennings of ABC News on the night that the White House was moved to fire the Surgeon General, over her remarks on sex for the single person: "Joycelyn Elders," he reported, "has finally rubbed President Clinton the wrong way." But character is [...]

As we think about building a politically conservative Jewish movement, I want to ensure that we pay attention to how we will persuade Jewish women to join us. The rabbis tell us that if a man who is inclined toward evil marries a virtuous woman, he will become more virtuous. Yet a pious man who [...]

Was Hildegard of Bingen a saint? One might think so from the way this 12th-century abbess wrote music. She compiled her Symphonia harmoniae caelestium revelationum ("The Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations") over the course of a long life that creatively did not begin until she was in her forties (b. 1098). In 1141, [...]

In the hands of a master, metaphysics and movies can make a marvelous mix. Ingmar Bergman, no longer directing films, was such a master. Robert Bresson was one also, as is Woody Allen. Metaphysical moviemakers are able to depict on celluloid those seductive but awesome infinitives: to be, to live, to love, to die. To [...]

While browsing in an antique store with my brother one day, I came across a china figurine of Adolph Hitler, six or seven inches tall. Hitler was bent over with a pained look on his face, and a pincushion was attached to his bare backside. "Stick Hitler in the Axis!" was painted across the base. [...]

That something is wrong with human nature has been known since ancient times, in all cultures, by any individual who, like Augustine, reflects on himself, on his own life, in the unclouded honesty of his memory. But let me be more accurate: On the whole, human nature seems to be intact; human nature is good, [...]

From time to time my daughters bring me up to date on what is socially current. Knowing that I am always five years or so behind the latest social fads, they take it upon themselves to give me an occasional lesson. In their latest instruction they assured me of the acceptability of an odd new [...]

Many recent biographers of writers put the reader in the place of the psychiatrist. Norman Sherry's life of Graham Greene, particularly the recently published second volume, puts the reader in the uncomfortable role of confessor. We are made privy to Greene's infidelities, to the crumbling of his marriage and his eerie disinterest in his children, [...]

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