09/01/1995

In 1993 I was paid a visit in my home by an Irish writer, Colm Toibin, who was gathering material for a book on Catholicism in Europe. Toibin himself had lost his faith and seemed surprised when I told him that I believed not just in God but also in such difficult notions as Hell [...]

In 1993 I was paid a visit in my home by an Irish writer, Colm Toibin, who was gathering material for a book on Catholicism in Europe. Toibin himself had lost his faith and seemed surprised when I told him that I believed not just in God but also in such difficult notions as Hell [...]

The feminist challenge to the Catholic faith is based upon a deep misunderstanding. Feminists accuse Catholicism of being thoroughly patriarchal. They claim that women have been oppressed since the Church’s inception by a male power structure. In the Catholic Church, they charge, men and men alone are the rulers in a hierarchically-based system of pope, [...]

Some people have said glibly that the pope simply cannot teach ex cathedra regarding the ordination of women to the priesthood. It seems to me, however, that the question cannot be dismissed quite so offhandedly. From a close reading of the apostolic letter Ordinato Sacerdotalis a good argument can be made that John Paul II [...]

God and the Sexes

For Christianity, gender is both important and irrelevant. God creates, Christ redeems, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies men and women alike, along with Jews and Greeks, rich and poor, black and white. But, apart from salvation, gender possesses a special importance in Christianity that cannot be viewed as either accidental or superficial. Both views flow [...]

Orthodoxy, both upper case and lower case, is at the heart of Pope John Paul II’s twelfth encyclical, Ut unum sunt (That They May Be One). The document underscores the priority of East-West relations in the Catholic Church’s understanding of the ecumenical imperative, with the pope repeatedly emphasizing that we can settle for nothing less [...]

On September 18th, 1939, the public hospital in the port city of Dieppe, France recorded the death of a sixty-three year old woman, a Catholic painter of some reputation. Gwen John had traveled to this port city from Paris only days before, carrying nothing except a copy of her will and burial instructions. Augustus John, [...]

Long ago, the Church left the Constantinian political context which the Roman Empire and its successors, the old monarchical regimes of Europe, provided for it. The Church had formally accepted this context. She saw in it the natural political form within which she was to carry out her various missions. It was natural because the [...]

The War in Our Schools

As the daffodils of  ’95 bloomed, I was putting the finishing touches on a book, Not With My Child, You Don’t, which I am going to publish through a small company set up expressly for that purpose. Given that those who oppose nationalized education have had to fight their battles mostly underground, it seems only [...]

Some people think that religious belief makes you narrow-minded, parochial. If you think so, try lecturing on human rights to high school teachers in Estonia, a county trying to recover from its period of Soviet domination. My Estonian audience listened uncomprehendingly as I spoke to them about natural right and human nature. This was no [...]

In a subcommittee of the House, the bill to ban the grisly “D&X” abortions passed its first hurdle in Congress. In a straight party line vote, seven Republican s voted to ban this procedure, which offers, as its point of genius, puncturing the head of the child, and sucking out its brains, so that the [...]

Pity the likes of Henry Ford, George Washington, and Bill Gates, who had to forge their own way in school and in the workplace. However did they manage without the nanny state to guide them? Citizen-workers in the future, however, will no longer have to endure such autonomy, for the ultimate passport to success, the [...]

It is fascinating to speculate that in the final days of the Nuremberg Trials as the Nazi leaders angrily acknowledged their own defeat, the Third Reich posthumously dealt a blow that would seriously undermine the West for the rest of the twentieth century. Intentions are not nearly as significant as consequences when the time comes [...]

Catholics at Beijing

Many more Catholic women will attend the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing (August 30 — September 15) than went to the Cairo Conference. In a forum hostile to the Church, and in spite of a United States delegation led by radical feminists, these women will articulate and defend Catholic teaching. As official delegates [...]

Flourishing fully in the 19th century, with Darwin and Marx ascendant and Freud in the wings, the novel matured as a very worldly art from. A kind of heightened journalism, the art of Dickens, James, Balzac, and others chronicled society while examining class, romance, war, and politics. The great Russians—Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, the latter the [...]

A Requiem to Die For

Requiems are for the living. They shape our attitude toward death. What should we expect? Peace and serenity, or terror and judgment? Heaven or hell? It depends on the composer. In their Requiems, Hector Berlioz and Giuseppe Verdi frighten us with rafter-shaking, apocalyptic visions of the Dies Irae. Just as composing symphonies became a problem [...]

At precisely noon on June 25, 1995, in front of New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a police officer yelled into a bull horn: “Anyone who takes off his clothes will be arrested.” New York is home to more parades than any city in America. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, hardly a Sunday goes by [...]

“I saw a wooden cross vested in a green chasuble—the same cross before which I had knelt on Good Friday, silently offering God my gifts,” begins the author of Image Guidance: A Tool for Spiritual Direction, recounting one of many spiritually liberating explorations of Jungian archetypal images and “collective unconscious.” The author continues, The cross [...]

On April 28, a Friday morning, about ten-thirty, I boarded United Express at Islip, Long Island, for the flight back to Washington. The plane landed at about noon at Dulles. On the flight back, I thought I had better make arrangements for a ticket to the West Coast to see my family after classes ended [...]

Christianity has had, since its founding, a strong commitment to helping the poor, a commitment that is one of the glories of Christian history. Recently, the Catholic Church has expressed this concern by calling for “a preferential option for the poor.” Once we rightly assume that our duty is to help the poor, the really [...]

End Notes

After waking from his dogmatic slumber, Immanuel Kant wrote The Critique of Pure Reason in which he pronounced a requiescat over all preceding philosophy. But his attempt to begin ab ovo is done under the aegis of Ovid and Persius. In the preface he unabashedly quotes these Latin writers with the clear assumption that his [...]

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