12/01/1996

Best of 1996

Crisis editors and writers put their heads together to share their favorite books, movies, and CDs of the past year. Ralph Mclnerny Literature has been defined as anything you will read again. I read War & Peace for the third time this summer and hope to read it again. Dombey and Son, on the other [...]

Best of 1996

Crisis editors and writers put their heads together to share their favorite books, movies, and CDs of the past year. Ralph Mclnerny Literature has been defined as anything you will read again. I read War & Peace for the third time this summer and hope to read it again. Dombey and Son, on the other [...]

While pundits and commentators either commend or decry the political "Southernization" of the rest of the country, one wonders if theologians, priests, and churchgoers might some day remark the "Catholicization" of the South. Most Southern clergy will tell you it's not likely. Still, in the New South capital of Atlanta, some interesting trends are afoot. [...]

There are saints who sweep across the sky of their generation like blazing comets signaling the reality and glory of Sod. Others silently earn grace for a world blind to their presence. The friend of God whose life ended on a Dublin sidewalk on June 7, 1925, was one of those hidden holy. Like the [...]

The Human Face

Why is it that we often feel disturbed in a modern art museum? Surrounded by artifacts of our own culture, we should feel right at home. But many of these unrecognizable and fragmented images fail to communicate the true meaning of the human person. If, as Chesterton put it, "Art is the signature of man," [...]

"When a true genius is born, nothing in the family or its circumstances allows us to predict the new arrival. Something mysterious and sovereign suddenly erupts with genius. That's all there is to say. Among this century's Catholic geniuses, no clearer instance of this mystery exists than the brilliant French poet and essayist Charles Peguy. [...]

Liberals believe that the American principle of religious liberty requires not only the separation of church and state, but also the separation of religion from politics. They argue that a prohibited "establishment of religion" exists whenever government promotes religion at all. Some conservatives agree that government should be neutral on the matter of religion. Neutrality [...]

Reading Nietzsche taught me one thing: people can talk about values and really be interested only in getting their way. Case in point: All the recent talk about "civility" is more about power than good manners. Specifically, it's about marginalizing everyone who finds it necessary and appropriate to speak passionately on the subject of abortion. [...]

Catholic Essentials

National Despite prayer vigils and vehement opposition from the Catholic hierarchy and faithful, the U.S. Senate voted to sustain President Clinton's veto of a bill that would have banned partial-birth abortions. The House voted to override the veto, but after a vigorous floor debate about the procedure, the Senate voted 57 to 41, ten votes [...]

As the state governments begin to replace the old federally funded welfare program with their own plans, there is one federal welfare program that actually works and could be a model for the states. Contrary to popular opinion, the number of refugees on welfare has been quite high, running well over 50 percent in those [...]

Crisis Update

As the 104th Congress concludes, congratulations to the Honorable Christopher H. Smith for his work as Chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. Congressman Smith, in the words of the Deputy Director of the USCC, Mark J. Gallagher, "spearheaded these remarkable legislative advancements" for the unborn: restoring the exclusion of abortion coverage under the Federal Employees [...]

And are two, and only two, respectable attitudes to the Christmas season. One is P.G. Wodehouse's: "It was December, and another Christmas was at our throats." (I quote, accurately I hope, from memory). Whether it is the forced fellowship of most Christmas parties or just a sign of my descent into curmudgeondom, each year I [...]

It is clumsy to speak of the American Indian as a cipher for one people, for he was a cacophony of tribes and tongues; and if you imagine him like a Remington silhouette scanning a reddened midwestern prairie in the sunset, you might just as well think of him painting a psychedelic totem in the [...]

By the time most of you read this, I will be wedded to the lovely Maureen. Planning our wedding was much more of an ordeal than I had ever imagined. In the months leading up to our wedding, friends would ask me every day, "How are the plans coming along?" To which I would reply, [...]

Editor's note: Professor Arkes filed this story in October, when he was still hoping for the best but bracing for the worst. Cayman Islands December, 2010 Dear Eli: I gather, from your Dad, that you are working on a research paper in school, and that an idea was sparked when you found, in the attic [...]

Next January, the Supreme Court will review two lower federal court rulings granting constitutional protection to physician-assisted suicide. In the first case, the question to be decided is whether the Due Process Clause guarantees the right of a terminally ill patient to commit suicide and, if so, whether that includes the right to be assisted [...]

It is a rare thing to find a film like the latest work of Eric Rohmer, where the protagonists talk about the knowledge of God and the leap of faith, discuss reincarnation and abortion, where they go into churches to pray, and where the heroine thinks her partner ought to go to Mass, because it [...]

The poet Wallace Stevens once wrote that "The major poetic idea in the world is and always has been the idea of God." One might modify that insight and say that, since the first Christmas, the major poetic idea has been the Incarnation. Either way, one would think that this situation would have created an [...]

Sheldon Vanauken RIP

Sheldon Vanauken, who was the author of some of the most eloquent and moving meditations of death and loss since C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed, finally has gone through the portals of eternity himself. Or, to put it in a way he would have much preferred: He has at last sailed his beloved Grey [...]

It was an auspicious beginning of a new era. In a luncheon address in New York on September 21, following his enthronement as primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Spyridon promised to combat "the problems of crime, alcohol, tobacco, violence, and abortion." Pro-life Orthodox Christian Americans were gratified to hear abortion included [...]

The architecture of the homes we live in reflects the social and cultural values of the times. To explore this idea, let us consider the sort of houses—the domestic structures—found in America over the last one hundred fifty years or so. Generally, the houses of the nineteenth century had the following physical characteristics: The Victorian [...]

His eyes flashing fear and hostility, the little boy blurted an accusatory, "you are a stranger!" This, in response to my invitational query about a toy lobbed into a Macy's aisle by his brother in a stroller. "I guess one of us has to pick it up?" Embarrassed by her son's fury, his mother smiled [...]

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