03/01/1995

Freedom — liberty — everyone clamors for it. Few know how to define exactly what it is, or how to get it, or how to handle it when they have it — least of all how to use it sensibly. They think freedom or liberty brings everything else worthwhile in its train. But as that [...]

Freedom — liberty — everyone clamors for it. Few know how to define exactly what it is, or how to get it, or how to handle it when they have it — least of all how to use it sensibly. They think freedom or liberty brings everything else worthwhile in its train. But as that [...]

In the current controversies over homosexuality and gay rights, much attention has been devoted to the example of ancient Greece. Most college students today do not study the classical world in depth, and many have been told categorically that the Greek and Roman cultures were sexist, elitist, imperialist, racist, and oppressive — in a word, [...]

The recent controversy in England and Wales over sex education in Catholic schools has exposed the basic difference dividing Catholics on the approach that should be taken to what John Paul II has called the "aphrodisiac of culture" of the west. One party seems to believe that the traditional teaching of the Church on sexual [...]

In Spain Opus Dei was once taken to court by its detractors, who accused it of being a Freemasonic conspiracy. The judge asked if its members were chaste. The accusers admitted that they were. The judge dismissed the suit, saying that he had never met a chaste Freemason. However, Opus Dei plays the role in [...]

On May 17, 1992, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, was beatified by the Pope in a ceremony in Rome that drew a crowd of over 200,000, perhaps the largest crowd in the Vatican since the declaration of the dogma of the Assumption in 1954. The remarkably quick pace of the beatification [...]

It is no secret that while all the Roman Pontiffs whose reigns have coincided with the growth and development of Opus Dei since 1928 have highly approved of its message and mission, John Paul II— perhaps as a result of his varied work and educational background—has grasped its importance in a deeper fashion and has [...]

A number of people have suggested to me that the name Crisis should be changed. They worry about the magazine having a negative image. Beyond merely criticizing the present state of affairs, they feel the magazine should appear more forward-looking: the name Crisis doesn't sound like a magazine showing the way toward a Catholicism for [...]

During 1994 I was Guest Coordinator for Prodigy Interactive Computer Services, responsible for scheduling experts on Prodigy's Education Bulletin Board. As part of a barter arrangement, I utilized my education "connections" to help Prodigy develop their bulletin board business in exchange for complimentary use of the service. I was free to select any guest, as [...]

The Upper East Side of Manhattan is an unlikely spot for any populist phenomenon, especially within the Church. Yet, for the last 12 years, a dedicated group of lay persons has been quietly bringing off a minor revolution in the way the Catholic catechism is taught to children. This small revolution, which is bound to [...]

It is the first prayer that Catholics learn as children. As we advance in lifting our hearts and minds to God, it serves as the prelude and conclusion to other prayers. It marks both the formal beginning and end of the perfect prayer — the Mass. Employed by Christians since at least the second century, [...]

The Republican victory in 1994 has been appropriately heralded as a political revolution. Speaker Newt Gingrich has been elevated to a household name. The Contract with America has become the performance chart for the Republican Party. Big government has come under an incredible media assault even from those who once praised it. And issues of [...]

The scenes arranged around the abortion clinic in Brookline might have been staged by the old Monty Python troup in Britain. To the raw event of the shootings there was now added the hand of artifice: the attempt to shape the meaning of the event by staging scenes, and choreography, outside the clinic. There were [...]

A recent issue of Interfaith Focus, a publication of the Anti-Defamation League, is devoted to a discussion of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. In a mildly critical evaluation of the Catechism, Rabbi Leon Klenicki mentions two New Testament writings as worthy candidates for a joint study between Christians and Jews: Paul's letter to [...]

"Once the dragon is slain," advised former Secretary of Education William Bennett at a recent conference on education reform, "don't put another dragon in its place." Bennett was urging caution upon education reformers as they seek to "end federal tutelage," that is, undue government involvement in public school education. Advocates of school choice in particular [...]

If, as Simone Weil maintains, all great works of art are implicitly religious, the twenty best Catholic films are the twenty best films as well. That list would include, among others, Ikiru, The Grand Illusion, 8-1/2, North by Northwest, and The Searchers. All of them dramatize the great subjects of human nature, natural law, sacrifice, [...]

Have you ever suspected that all church music sounds the same, at least in certain genres? If you have heard one plainchant, you have heard them all? No matter how much the New Agers rave about the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, who must be somewhat perplexed by the new pop chart audience for [...]

The Brookline incident, in which two abortion clinic receptionists were killed by a man who had disrupted a Christmas Eve Mass a week earlier, inspired a full-scale media attack on the Catholic Church. Editorial cartoons seethed with rage at the Church for calling abortion "murder," accusing Catholic pro-lifers of promoting attitudes of violence. Cardinal O'Connor [...]

One Sunday noon hour during January, it was the Epiphany in fact, I read Michael Medved's article in Policy Review (Winter, 1995) about what was "right" with America. Naturally, he had to mention what was wrong. "The problem with this country isn't too much violence on TV, and it isn't too much promiscuous sexuality in [...]

In the month when cinematic achievement is honored with Oscars, I am reminded of the comedic brilliance of Jacques Tati. His memorable Mon Oncle is particularly relevant today, as much for its trenchant social commentary as for the hilarious misadventures of its star. Tati, as the unsophisticated Mr. Hulot, is confronted by dazzling technology which [...]

When Ex corde ecclesiae, the document on the nature of the Catholic university, appeared a few years ago, I was a member of a panel on a campus other than my own. The topic under discussion was, serendipitously, I thought, the Catholic character of the institution which hosted the discussion. By sheer accident, I had [...]

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