03/01/1996

With the court battle over the constitutionality of Milwaukee's school choice program now under way, parents, educators, and legislators across the country are gearing up for an outcome that could determine the direction of education reform in America. Though some believe that Wisconsin's choice program, which allows religious schools to accept tax-funded vouchers from low-income [...]

With the court battle over the constitutionality of Milwaukee's school choice program now under way, parents, educators, and legislators across the country are gearing up for an outcome that could determine the direction of education reform in America. Though some believe that Wisconsin's choice program, which allows religious schools to accept tax-funded vouchers from low-income [...]

Communism was never popular in America, and no American group was more fervently anti-Communist than the Catholics. The American bishops, like the Vatican, had condemned Marxism before 1900 for its atheism, its violation of natural law principles, and its theory of inevitable class conflict. They condemned the Russian Revolution of 1917 that brought Lenin and [...]

Throughout 1995, the air in Rome was thick with rumors that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger might be stepping down from his post as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As the longest serving curial official to be appointed by Pope John Paul II over a major Vatican office, Ratzinger has hinted at [...]

Science is mankind's great success story since the Renaissance. Only the most obdurate Luddite can regret the computer chip, the Hubble telescope, and the heart bypass. But these material triumphs have come at a philosophical cost. The scientific method has been so successful in its own sphere that many intelligent people think it the only [...]

At an ecumenical conference, a Greek Orthodox bishop went around the breakfast table asking half a dozen people their favorite work of C. S. Lewis. There was animated discussion until my turn came, when I awkwardly confessed not to have read very much of that famous writer. My companions were certainly cordial, but more than [...]

Along with other graying baby boomers, I now sit and observe bemusedly the death-agony of '60s liberalism, an imminent demise brought about by ideological pathologies that were heralded as America's sure hope for a utopian future. Some of us learned sooner than others what St. Augustine knew when he observed that evil is always coincidental [...]

You've got to be careful about whom you invite to dinner these days. Arguments over abortion are apt to break out quickly and spread dark moods around the table. Some good-hearted soul, to save the occasion, will inevitably suggest, "Abortion should just be taken out of politics." This would be a terrible mistake, of course. [...]

Ralph Mclnerny and Michael Novak founded this magazine in 1982. They broke new ground with Curses—in doing so they changed the landscape of Catholicism and the conservative movement in America. For the first time, lay Catholics who were obedient to the Magisterium and confident in the past and future of the American founding could be [...]

For some thirty years now, America's Roman Catholic bishops have engaged in a curious political activism that has accomplished precious little by way of either transforming the views of Catholics in the pews or of power brokers in Washington. Finding its inspiration in pronouncements on human "dignity," "rights," and "development," a new strain of liberal [...]

Crisis Update

On September 29, 1995, a Washington jury ordered the Cult Awareness Network and three of its leading members (including its leading spokesman and "deprogrammer" Rick Ross) to pay $4,875,000 in damages to a member of a Pentecostal church who suffered a failed violent deprogramming by Ross in 1991. The court found that in kidnapping then [...]

National Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland has announced plans to take a sabbatical in the first six months of 1996. One of the concerns he intends to reflect on is the divisiveness he sees in the Church today and the incivility occurring in much of the discussion. The point is well taken. Incivility to the point [...]

There has been much controversy in the press concerning the creation of the Catholic Alliance, A Division of Christian Coalition. Most of the commentary has been premature as the Catholic Alliance was formally initiated on October 8, 1995, and is still in its formative stages. However, as the executive director of the Catholic Alliance, I [...]

It is common for Catholic politicians to say that they are personally opposed to abortion, but that they must accept the law and the rights of others to have a choice in the matter. They are, then, personally against but politically in favor of the right to abortion. Although this is a familiar stance, the [...]

In 1995, the first session of the 104th Congress was dominated by economic discussions and the battle to balance the budget. This was to be expected since the issue was the centerpiece of the "Contract With America." Social conservatives and pro-family organizations were told to sit tight and be patient, and that the second session [...]

All of a sudden, Catholics are in. As reported in these pages last month, the Clinton White House is knocking itself silly trying to look "Catholic"—frequent allusions to John F. Kennedy, a presidential visit to Ireland, a Hillary photo op with Mother Teresa, private briefings designed to flatter selected Catholic journalists, invocation of the pope [...]

Don't let that Kansas accent fool you; Bob Dole is really a version of Bertie Wooster, that improbable character invented by P. G. Wodehouse. Of course, Dole seems quite sober and anchored, with an edge of wry wit. Wooster was a flaky, upper-class twit, who was rendered functional in the world only through the artful [...]

These days public discussion of the American Constitution is all about "rights." So the media pulsate with talk of civil rights, rights of speech, press, and religion, the right to bear arms and, lately, the right to beg alms. Parts of the Constitution not involving rights claim little popular attention. But on the horizon looms [...]

Video Notes

Sex & Love: What's a Teenager to Do? Narrated by Mary Beth Bonacci 60 min/color Gateway Films/Vision Video, 1995 Distributed by Gateway Films, $20 A very engaging lecture to college students by Mary Beth Bonacci on the difficult subjects of sex, love, and chastity. Imagine someone who combines the gifts of a stand-up comic with [...]

In his masterpiece, Citizen Kane, Orson Welles was able to sum up the theme of his entire film with five or six dissolve shots in the opening seconds of the movie. Director Darrell James Roodt accomplishes the same feat in the opening seconds of Cry, the Beloved Country with one shot of a cross on [...]

Some critics think composers should be seismic devices. Music should not only reflect its time, but foretell things to come. In fact, it should even help usher in the new age. However, both politically and artistically, the cultural revolution is now over, and so too should be this view of music as a revolutionary muse. [...]

“Catch up with the Pope," Sister Mary urged in a talk on roles for women in the liturgy. She was not, however, suggesting that her audience accept the Church's teaching on ordination; still less to consider the issue settled. Instead Sister Mary interprets recent papal writings as actually contradicting this teaching—as well as the essence [...]

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