03/01/1999

The popular film Dead Man Walking sent more than a few ripples through the country on the topic of the death penalty. Despite the film's well-taken point about God's mercy, its sentimental appeal only convinced me that most arguments against the death penalty are ill-founded. Not the overt emotional plea, the gruesomeness of the execution [...]

The popular film Dead Man Walking sent more than a few ripples through the country on the topic of the death penalty. Despite the film's well-taken point about God's mercy, its sentimental appeal only convinced me that most arguments against the death penalty are ill-founded. Not the overt emotional plea, the gruesomeness of the execution [...]

Shortly after l'affaire Lewinsky broke open last year, the public let it be known that if in fact President Clinton had lied under oath, he would have rendered himself unfit to remain in office. O what a difference a year makes! Somewhere between then and now, the public appears to have concluded that having a [...]

I used to complain that I lived in an academic enclave, the People's Republic of Amherst, Massachusetts, a place that is in America and yet not quite of it. And I used to remark that we are not far, however, from an American consulate in Hartford, Connecticut. But in the middle of January, I was [...]

Right now, in America, all things Irish are hot. Sparked by best-selling books like Angela's Ashes and How the Irish Saved Civilization; the remarkable contemporary economic prosperity in Ireland; Irish creativity in cinema, dance, and popular music; and the apparent peace settlement in Northern Ireland; this new interest in Irish history and culture has been [...]

Just the other day I was wondering how many tenors there really are. Of course there are "The Three Tenors," who actually consist of a spinto, a somewhat aging lyric, and a baritone. There are the countertenors, familiar fixtures on the early music scene who are also known to the fans of PDQ Bach—because his [...]

Almost a year has passed since Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland's major political parties signed the Good Friday Pact in April 1998. This agreement mandates the creation of a Northern Ireland Assembly, cross-border bodies linking northern and southern Ireland, and a British-Irish council. Ending 24 years of direct rule by Westminster, [...]

The Archdiocese of Dublin is easily the largest in Ireland, with around one million Catholics, but last year, for the first time ever, it advertised for vocations. The campaign asked, "Who are the men in black?" Posters appeared around the city posing the question to passers-by, featuring what were supposed to be two Roman collars [...]

For the Church at large, the Holy Father's call to renew the faithful in prayer on the eve of the third millennium is a splendid opportunity to strengthen the faithful and redeem the times. For the individual pastor, however, it can be a splendid misery. Overworked, weary, with resources stretched thin by administrative and pastoral [...]

Pope John Paul II, a man ahead of his times in many ways, was again a prophet for our age when, in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he exhorted pro-lifers to embrace a "radical solidarity with women." This was no mere rhetorical flourish, nor was the pope selling out to the feminist agenda. [...]

There is a famous story, repeated in every Boy Scout Handbook since the first edition published in 1910, about the origin of the Boy Scouts of America. Reportedly, an American businessman named William Boyce was lost on a rainy London street and asked a boy to give him directions. After the boy led Boyce to [...]

Man bites dog: The Prince of Egypt, DreamWorks' animated feature film about the life of Moses, has been banned in Malaysia because it is too explicitly religious. "We found it insensitive for religious and moral reasons," says Lukeman Saaid, chairman of Malaysia's Film Censorship Board. The ban is all the more comical given the equally [...]

From recent releases, I have found a number of intriguing additions to the discographies of composers previously reviewed in this column, as well as several discoveries of note. More than ten years ago, Crisis publication committee member Stephen Hough started the Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) revival with his brilliant, prize-winning performances of what are probably [...]

William Bentley Ball, the distinguished constitutional lawyer and Crisis contributor, passed away in Florida on January 10, 1999. Bill Ball was an extraordinary man—a lawyer of great skill and subtlety who argued many cases before the nation's highest courts, a legal scholar of surpassing acuity, and a deeply humble Christian gentleman. At his funeral in [...]

Some essays write themselves and this is one of them. In 1996 the philanthropist George W. Mallinckrodt gave a substantial gift to the Bodleian Library of Oxford University to preserve its vast collection of incunabula. When the gift was announced, Mallinckrodt said it was "a happy coincidence that one of my ancestors, the Canon of [...]

A little over a year ago, along with thousands of other foreigners, I was in Havana for John Paul II's pilgrimage to Cuba (See "Our Man in Havana," Crisis, April 1998). A lot has happened since. The Lewinsky scandal, which broke at the same time to the great annoyance of Cuban officials who were hoping [...]

Years ago, when Russell Kirk wrote The Conservative Mind, he defined the towering problem of our time as "the problem of community lost and community regained." It is natural that we crave community, which is the union we have with others through common affection and spiritual and practical interest. To desire community, especially the primary [...]

The pervasive relativism in our culture would understand the phrase "the ultimate truth about human life" to be either unknown, unknowable, or merely an expression of "personal choice" ungrounded in anything but our will and therefore not expressive of one truth. The phrase itself is found in John Paul II's Fides et Ratio (#2). At [...]

On the eve of the papal visit to St. Louis, the president of Notre Dame and the chancellor of Boston College published a challenge to John Paul II's Apostolic constitution on the nature of the Catholic university, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Since its appearance in 1990, there has been a ritual dance going on between Catholic [...]

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