05/01/1998

You are in a large church basement on the upper east side of Manhattan. Like all church basements, it freelances as a basketball court, a dining hall, a wailing room for various twelve-step programs. This morning, it's marriage preparation. Seventy-five couples who plan to marry in the Catholic Church are here for a day of [...]

You are in a large church basement on the upper east side of Manhattan. Like all church basements, it freelances as a basketball court, a dining hall, a wailing room for various twelve-step programs. This morning, it's marriage preparation. Seventy-five couples who plan to marry in the Catholic Church are here for a day of [...]

Anyone for whom religion is more than a matter of "lifestyle" must regard the coverage afforded to religion by the New York Times with grave dismay. It is no secret—indeed, it has become notorious—that the Times has in recent years introduced a strong element of political correctness into its coverage of culture and even the [...]

Christianity in the Islamic World When I first arrived in the Middle East in 1967 to attend the American University of Beirut, I was told by a number of faculty advisers that between a course in Islam and one in Arab Communism, the course in Communism would be more beneficial. It's hard to see the [...]

In the spring of 1968, we celebrated Easter weeks ahead of the rest of the world. We didn't know when it was to fall (April 14, as I discovered many years later), so we guessed and chose a Sunday in March. I said that we should pray for a sign that would deliver us from [...]

If you had your pick of pagans who might throw light on what is good and bad about American higher education at the end of the second millennium, you probably would not settle on Seneca. If you were going to propose a reform of liberal education, you probably would not ignore St. Augustine, Cassiodorus Senator, [...]

E.I. Watkin, English convert and writer, died in 1981 at the age of ninety-two. In his obituary notice in the London Times, he was described as "one of the most distinguished Catholic philosophers of his day." Special attention was paid to his work The Philosophy of Form (1951), a study in the philosophy of art, [...]

If you were a classroom teacher during the '70s and '80s, like I was, you probably noticed how students were adopting talk-show manners. Intensity of feeling, not logical inference, was treated as the surest criterion of truth. To protect these privileged feelings, the font of wisdom, self-esteem became the purpose of pedagogy. Such silliness could [...]

Whether William Jefferson Clinton will spend his last days in office defending himself before an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives is debatable, but his presidency is almost certainly damaged beyond repair. In one of his few memorable statements, Jimmy Carter said that on the important issues a president's advisers are more or less [...]

For the past several years, the leaders of virtually every pro-life group in the country have been meeting quarterly in Washington, for the sake of comparing notes. At the most recent meeting, people were pressing the question on me: What do we do apart from the bill on partial birth abortions? And what would be [...]

Italian music is so synonymous with opera that most music lovers would be hard put to think of any Italian orchestral or chamber music from the last two centuries. The only exception may be the music of Ottorino Respighi, especially his highly colorful tone poems, Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. A group of [...]

There was a time when one could find challenging and touching work off-Broadway. I am sorry to report that time is passing. After seeing two celebrated off-Broadway plays, I am convinced that theater is morphing into propaganda, a tiresome Johnny One Note. Where universal human experience was once explored, the new off-Broadway prefers to reflect [...]

All of a sudden, it's hip to be noir. L.A. Confidential, Curtis Hanson's tough-minded homage to the most influential American film genre of the '40s, was the best-reviewed movie of 1997; Robert Polito, author of a prize-winning biography of pulp novelist Jim Thompson, edited a two-volume anthology of crime fiction published last year by the [...]

For twenty-five years, Francisco Morales delivered milk to the lactarians of El Paso, Texas. This "Pancho," who died in 1997 at the age of seventy-eight, was the father of the adult beverage known as the "margarita." Milk and margaritas do not combine. Many of us as children learned the nursery adage, "contraria contrariis curantur": the [...]

The British poet and classicist A. E. Houseman once felt obliged to take a colleague to task for simplifying his labors by ignoring a troublesome manuscript of the Roman poet Catullus. The scholar in question, said Houseman, presented a new twist on the classic pons asinorum: Like a donkey paralyzed equidistant from two bales of [...]

Consider the case of Rabbi Asher Bern and realize that his is a mirror image of myriad cases throughout the nation. Bern is a yeshiva teacher with a big family and very modest means. He has a young daughter, Golda, who suffers from spina bifida, a painful neurological disorder needing catheterization four times a day. [...]

I could have died last night. Wednesday, March 11, was a bitterly cold Lenten day. Snow squalls showered every hour or so until four o'clock, when snow fell thickly for two hours. As I drove into Cincinnati, however, intending to spend the day and evening in town, I was in good spirits. At 9:45 I [...]

At a ceremony in a small naval chapel in Washington at which a nephew of mine was installed as master chief of the Naval Security Group Command, I gave the invocation. I had mentioned this occasion to my friend, Brother George Reilly, S.J., who, when World War II ended, had been a corpsman on a [...]

I knew John L. Swan for thirty-two years. When I was a kid he was my tutor in Christian philosophy and in practical politics, and when I was a young man he taught me about good Scotch. He loved a good argument, a good fight, and good whiskey. When Jack died on February 2, I [...]

As we prepared to go to press, the sad news came that John Keating, bishop of Arlington, Virginia, had died suddenly in Rome on the day following an ad limina visit with the Holy Father. Few bishops of the modern era brought to their duties such a felicitous combination of practical skill and personal piety. [...]

If events of the day prompt one to cry, "O Shakespeare, thou shouldst be living at this hour," a Henry Adams or Ambrose Bierce might suffice to chronicle the current ascendancy of the Snopeses. There is a sense in which Shakespeare lives at every hour, his iambic pentameter furnishing even the most modest of minds [...]

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