04/01/2000

When the helicopters lifted off the roof of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975, and that project of American arms was allowed to collapse, President Gerald Ford went on television to reassure and calm the country. His message was that this was no time for recriminations. To which a friend of mine remarked, "What [...]

When the helicopters lifted off the roof of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975, and that project of American arms was allowed to collapse, President Gerald Ford went on television to reassure and calm the country. His message was that this was no time for recriminations. To which a friend of mine remarked, "What [...]

The night before the president's first veto, hundreds of Catholics gathered in the pouring rain outside the White House in a silent candlelight vigil to pray that Clinton would reconsider his announced opposition to banning partial birth abortions. Several American cardinals were present. The American hierarchy had placed high priority on banning partial birth abortions [...]

Avila, with its gray, granite walls that each afternoon change to a golden hue in the setting sun, is one of the few remaining fortress cities in Europe. The massive walls, built toward the end of the eleventh century during the reconquest of Spain by the Christians, encircle the entire historic section of town. One [...]

In America, we give three cheers to persons and things that earn our unrestrained approval: the American flag, the United States Marine Corps, Pope John Paul II. By this standard, I can give only a single cheer to capitalism. My friend Irving Kristol once wrote a book called Two Cheers for Capitalism. The phrase was [...]

The "dialogue of love" between Rome and the Orthodox Churches that offered so much promise after nine centuries of ecclesial estrangement seems to be running out of breath as we enter the third Christian millennium. A dramatic breakthrough is needed to restore the flagging spirits, in particular, of the rambunctious Orthodox participants. Taking a cue [...]

Biblical scholarship is usually granted instant credibility today because it is considered "scientific." Thus, the findings of the Jesus Seminar, however ill-founded, nevertheless quickly become front-page news. The assumption is that "science" has once again exploded claims about the Jesus found in the New Testament and preached by the Church. On the other hand, the [...]

With the departure of Johnny Carson, I lost my late-night viewing habit. Like his predecessor, Jack Parr, Carson could entertain a broad audience while maintaining a reasonable standard of taste and decorum. When we laughed at Carson's jokes, we laughed not just at others but at ourselves, as well as Carson, whose greatest asset was [...]

A few impressions on the morning after Super Tuesday, if you please. First, although something unforeseen may intrude before you read this, John McCain's alternatives are now essentially three: (1) He can concede defeat, bury the hatchet somewhere else than in Governor's Bush's head, and rally 'round the Republican flag. (2) He can sulk in [...]

It was sometime in the early 1980s. My friend, the late Nachman Greenberg, had a daughter the age of our oldest son. She was spirited and appealing, and so I spake unto him: "Nachman, there is no reason," I said, "that things must be with the next generation as they were with ours. You and [...]

So far as I know, the natural law contains no clauses specifying the maximum length of movies. Neither did Shakespeare have anything particularly useful to say on the subject, his passing mention of "the two hours' traffic of our stage" having nothing to do with the actual playing time of Romeo and Juliet. The reason [...]

I recently had a chance to talk with one of America's most sought-after conductors, John Nelson. Maestro Nelson is currently music director of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He also conducts regularly at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Chicago Lyric Opera. His many recordings have won such prestigious prizes as the Grammy [...]

A petition in a litany written, I believe, by Cardinal Merry del Val, wisely asks: "From rashly entering the clergy, free us Jesus." The problem is less common today than in his time. But we have a whole host of people rashly ready to step into pseudoclerical and other highly sensitive roles for which they [...]

Felicitous arrangements allowed me as a student to repair weekly to practice the piano in a house by the Folly Bridge on the site in Oxford where Roger Bacon had conducted scientific experiments in the 13th century. His philosophy and theology (he having introduced the schema of Aristotle to the University of Paris) had tough [...]

Fatherhood is coming back into favor. For most of us, it never went out. However, in today's climate of absurd perversions of biology, we can expect—and lately have seen in certain academic circles as, for example, Peter Singer's Princeton—that even such natural, normal beings as fathers have been deemed unnecessary and cumbersome. Fortunately, truly absurd [...]

In Acts 10, Peter tells Cornelius that "they killed Him [Christ] by hanging Him to a tree; yet three days afterward God raised Him to life and allowed Him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand." On reading this passage, the obvious question is, how [...]

Shirley Hazzard has written a tasteful memoir of times she and her husband spent with Graham Greene, infrequent but over many decades, on the isle of Capri. All Greenekeepers are in her debt, not least because of the focused brevity of her book. Compared with the massive, multivolumed and dogged biography by Patrick Sherry, Greene [...]

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