04/01/1996

Several years ago this month, I nearly disturbed the decorum of my parish church in the northern suburbs of New York City. It was Easter morning. Theresa and I had brought our three year old daughter to Mass. The church was packed with people, but when the organist began playing "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today," [...]

Several years ago this month, I nearly disturbed the decorum of my parish church in the northern suburbs of New York City. It was Easter morning. Theresa and I had brought our three year old daughter to Mass. The church was packed with people, but when the organist began playing "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today," [...]

On December 4, 1995, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich had a letter in the Washington Times. He wrote, "Except for those who revere ideological preconceptions over the evidence of their own eyes, the growth in inequality and the precariousness of the middle class are stunningly obvious features of the contemporary American landscape." Although the secretary's [...]

Crisis Update

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops surveyed 1,000 U.S. voters, asking: "Would you support a law which would prohibit partial-birth abortion, except to save the mother's life?" 57 percent responded with a "strong" yes, and 14 percent a "somewhat" yes. 13 percent were unsure, and only 16 percent said no. The NCCB also commissioned a [...]

Catholic Essentials

Nation Bishop John Leibrecht of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, head of the American bishops' committee to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae at Catholic universities, recently stated, "The bishop's crosier is not meant to be a big stick but the staff of a shepherd." A comment like this indicates how widespread is the false presupposition that Catholic university officials [...]

The deepest problem in America's culture war is that the Christians have grown ditzy about the theological virtue of charity. It's bad enough when the new Visigoths (usually representing some government agency) ride in preaching a false compassion that denies the old law even as it imposes a harsh new one. But even most Catholics [...]

It has been, as we used to say, the kind of political season that would strain the temper of even the Good Humor Man. How else to account for a recent show of testiness on the part of the editors of the Wall Street Journal, directed, of all things, to the pro-life movement. The editors [...]

The asthma was back. The heavy coughing that convulses her body beneath the habit, the tightening of the chest, the drowning struggle to pull in another gasp of air—still Mother Mary Angelica was determined to make her show. With potentially forty-one million households counting on her, she couldn't stay in bed. As host of the [...]

During 1990 and 1991, Hillary Clinton was paid $102,000 by the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) for her alleged work on the center's "Workforce Skills" program. NCEE is an education thinktank created in 1988, jump-started by Carnegie Foundation funds as well as $5.5 million of New York state taxpayer money, sold to [...]

In a November 22, 1995, editorial in the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. joined his voice to the chorus of pundits who fear the political actions of the religiously minded. Predicting that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was indicative of things to come, Schlesinger wrote: "More than a third of American adults claim that [...]

As one of the premier Catholic historians in this century, Christopher Dawson sought to rehabilitate both the history of salvation and religion in Europe. Strongly embraced by conservatives today, Dawson was considered an innovative scholar among his peers. Even after Dawson's conversion in 1919, his interdisciplinary approach to history stirred controversy among Catholic scholars. Dawson [...]

This dramatic demographic transformation produced an encounter between Catholicism and American culture that was to prove highly significant. It meant that Americans would, for the first time, be forced to think seriously about the relationship between their inherited political institutions and the cultural underpinnings capable of sustaining them. The encounter would, also for the first [...]

Tolerance is an ambiguous word greatly valued by the zeitgeist. Who dares to declare himself against tolerance? There would be nothing left to say, however, if the contemporary idea of tolerance was not fundamentally distorted. Properly understood, tolerance implies respect for people but not agreement with their error or fault. Thus, ideas do not have [...]

No matter how old we were, we always called him "Mr. Lytle." Those who were fortunate enough to know Andrew Nelson Lytle, Southern novelist, critic, historian, storyteller, and farmer, could not imagine calling him by any other name. In the 1920s Mr. Lytle helped form the Southern Agrarians, an extraordinary fellowship of brilliant traditionalist Southern [...]

Songs of Mercy

One of most compelling sights of Holy Week is that of Mary standing beneath the cross on which her son hangs dying. There were, after all, two innocents at Calvary—her son, innocence itself, nailed to the Cross; and Mary herself, innocently suffering from sin, her heart pierced. Yet Mary is our intercessor. She asks for [...]

Let me state it simply and directly: the films of director Robert Bresson are by far the most Catholic in the history of cinema. Fortunately for serious students of film, but unfortunately for moviegoers whose experience of cinema is largely confined to blockbusters, the French director's work is as aesthetically rewarding as it is demanding [...]

My first view of Russia was grim. Looking down on the stark chessboard of frozen forests and fields, I was never so unenthusiastic about visiting a country in my life. On approach to Moscow's international airport, Shermetyevo, looking down on lifeless factories and villages, I regretted my haste in agreeing to the trip. However, with [...]

I recently debated bilingual education at a Washington, D.C., area public magnet school. My opponent, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher, said that Spanish-speaking children in her school district were being moved from first grade to second grade, and even to third grade, without sufficient English skills. Her solution was to give [...]

Every now and then a book is published that makes me proud to be Jewish. This does not happen often, but Rabbi Samuel Dresner's book, Can Families Survive in Pagan America? is one such book. Let me confess my prejudice right up front; I admire heroes. The American Jewish community, which seems to confront the [...]

When the Academy Award nominations came out, I began to wonder who would win the Oscars. I think I can predict as well as anyone who will win this year. I can do it, because I have certain advantages that the paid movie reviewers do not. For one, I have not seen any of the [...]

April 15, 1781, was Easter Sunday. Boswell tells us that he went to services at St. Paul's in London, then to Dr. Johnson's for a chat. Dr. William Scott dropped in and remarked that some of the best essays in The Spectator were written with "the warmth of wine." When Johnson did not want to [...]

Nothing is more deadly to discourse than Johnny One Note launching another pitch for his particular crusade. I risk sounding a familiar theme only because I just witnessed powerful evidence favoring its cause. I refer to an overwhelming, positive reaction shown by a congregation to a Gregorian chant Mass, given at Saturday five p.m., the [...]

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