07/01/1996

The Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) holds a central place in the tradition of Roman Catholic intellectual and spiritual life. The matrix of Aquinas's own mystical experiences was the thirty-some years of Dominican ministry and community life that this Neapolitan nobleman began in 1244. We see Aquinas's spiritual self-understanding reveal his deep personal love [...]

The Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) holds a central place in the tradition of Roman Catholic intellectual and spiritual life. The matrix of Aquinas's own mystical experiences was the thirty-some years of Dominican ministry and community life that this Neapolitan nobleman began in 1244. We see Aquinas's spiritual self-understanding reveal his deep personal love [...]

Marriage goes on trial in Hawaii this summer. More than thirty states have introduced bills to limit marriage to male-female couples. Congress is deliberating over a Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court may have concluded that traditional sexual morality is "irrational," "animus-based," and unconstitutional. The debate about same-sex marriage has exploded across the American [...]

According to Lynn Wardle, a professor at Brigham Young University's law school, sixty-nine law review writings in support of same-sex marriage were published between January 1990 and June 1995. During the same period, only one article appeared that fully defended the heterosexual nature of marriage, while two others criticized the constitutional arguments for same-sex marriage. [...]

Seventy-four percent of Hawaii residents are opposed to same-sex marriage, according to a recent media poll. So why is Hawaii being described as a state on the verge of recognizing the union of two men, or two women, as a legitimate, legal, licensed marriage? Because the people of Hawaii are not being allowed to decide [...]

Two relatively new religious coalitions are combating the burgeoning influence of Christian conservatives. The Interfaith Alliance, created in 1994, is largely a mishmash of fading, old-line Religious Left fixtures whose predictable denunciations of Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson have failed to attract sustained attention or new allies. But the Call to Renewal, which Sojourners publisher [...]

Thee Wethersfield Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the Ronald Knox Prize, a competition it sponsored for fine translations of elements of the Mass, namely, the prayers of the first ten weeks of the liturgical year and Canons II and III. The First Prize, in the amount of $10,000, was awarded to Dr. [...]

Dignitatis Humanae—the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom—is frequently described as an expression of Christian personalism, because of its teaching that every human being has an inalienable right to immunity from state coercion in matters of religious conviction. As the declaration puts it, "the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very [...]

Last fall an important announcement appeared in both the Catholic and secular press. Observing the one hundredth anniversary of cinema, the Vatican judged forty-five full length films to have special artistic and religious merit. The list, compiled by the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, can provide a stimulus for some serious reflection among film buffs. [...]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died 205 years ago. In 1991, the bicentennial of his death was the occasion for massive Mozart festivals and grand recording projects, as well as reappraisals of his genius and meaning. Five years later, the reappraisals continue. Unfortunately, they tell us more about ourselves than they do about Mozart. Here is an [...]

No person has the right to impose his or her values on another person, proclaimed an op-ed in the Springfield News-Leader, the daily paper of a middle-sized Missouri town. If you don't like what you see on TV, turn it off or change the channel. However, don't tell me that I have no right to [...]

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche tells us that both "Jesuitism" and "democratic enlightenment" reduce the pressure for living according to the "truth"—the truth that Nietzsche himself wanted to reject. Jesuits, by their casuistry, and democratic enlightenment, mainly by inventing newspapers, made people comfortable and distracted in their moral slavery. Instead of teaching people to [...]

Heading the list of vacant sentiments is the supermarket sign-off, "Have a nice day." In an era of diminished civility, pleasantries are welcome but meaningless when they become conventional clichés. We—and the president—routinely assure the bereaved, "You are in our prayers," the most in comfort we can offer. We will pray for them. The question [...]

A few days ago I witnessed an event that made me even more grateful for a magazine named Crisis.   "We Are Church" is a coalition of twenty dissident Catholic organizations that want a married clergy, a female clergy, homosexual rights, birth control, abortion, and, get this, the popular election of all bishops. Those who spoke [...]

Summer always puts me in a special mood about God and nature. Especially for those of us in northern climes who endure winters largely indoors, summer seems like an expansion of the world and our place in it. In the sunshine and full foliage it's easier to forget about the getting and spending, the political [...]

By giving a first place award to Richard McBrien's Encyclopedia of Catholicism, the Catholic Press Association again betrays its deep prejudice toward the Catholic left. Reviewing the encyclopedia in the January 1996 Crisis Russell Shaw wrote, "This encyclopedia is as free of bias as the well-known tower in Pisa and as reliable as a broken [...]

National Church Watch, a newsletter published by Call To Action, reports that a strong catalyst for Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz's excommunication decree was a "sarcastic and misleading article" on the 1995 CTA National Conference in Crisis (February 1996)—"the ultra-conservative monthly whose publishers are Michael Novak and Ralph McInerny." Mary Jo Anderson's eye-opening article is available on [...]

For most of us, political conventions signal three more months of intense political campaigning before our national life can return to normal. For candidates and political parties, conventions are quadrennial party rituals, replete with debates, caucuses, nominations, and more speeches. For Catholics, the 1996 conventions present an opportunity to take a serious look at the [...]

The improbable cast of characters, gathered in a spacious set of rooms, resembled nothing so much as those old Olson & Johnson movies (such as Hellzapoppin'), with every attribute save that of the trapdoors flying open and the guns exploding out of context. But it was, under its more sober title, a meeting of the [...]

It is now fashionable to denounce the sex and violence that saturate American entertainment. Rather than kissing babies, political leaders now thunder against the killing and the babes. Millions of Americans sit out their lives in darkened rooms, enthralled by the gasps and groans, cries and screams, and by the accompanying images on the screen. [...]

Many years ago, in 1948, a book was published that had an immediate dramatic effect on its readers. It was written by a young man, Thomas Merton, and told the story of his riotous youth, conversion to Catholicism, and entry into the Trappist monastery at Gethsemani, Kentucky, in 1941, when he was twenty-six years old. [...]

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