12/01/2000

J. F. Powers's second (and last) novel, Wheat That Springeth Green, published in 1988, is flawed fiction in several respects, but at least it ends on the right note for a story about a priest. Having fled his stressful parish, Fr. Joe Hackett relents and returns. These are the book's final words: "When Lefty called [...]

J. F. Powers's second (and last) novel, Wheat That Springeth Green, published in 1988, is flawed fiction in several respects, but at least it ends on the right note for a story about a priest. Having fled his stressful parish, Fr. Joe Hackett relents and returns. These are the book's final words: "When Lefty called [...]

To maximize your Christmas cheer, the CRISIS editors and writers put their heads together to produce this guide to the twelve days of Christmas. According to Fr. George W. Rutler, the neglect of the octave of Christmas—the eight-day extension designated by the Church to highlight the feast of Christ's birth—and the evaporation of Advent are [...]

Tall and somewhat stocky in his later years, John Ireland, a square-jawed son of Irish immigrants, became bishop and then archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, during the late 19th century. He was influential in Church affairs in the upper Midwest, throughout the United States, and even in Europe for more than 50 years, until his [...]

I doubt there are many readers of this magazine who are pro-choice. Why, then, do I write an argument against abortion for its readers? Why preach to the choir? Preaching to the choir is a legitimate enterprise. Scripture calls it "edification," or "building up." It is what priests, ministers, rabbis, and mullahs try to do [...]

The celibate life of Catholic priests is constantly held up to ridicule for being unnatural and unnecessary. To get some answers on the nature of priestly celibacy and how it can be defended, CRISIS traveled to Detroit and talked to Auxiliary Bishop Allen H. Vigneron. Bishop Vigneron, rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, guides the [...]

The final months of the Jubilee year witnessed three pivotal encounters between the Church and an emerging system of global governance. The Millennium Peace Summit, sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and bankrolled by Ted Turner, honorary chair, gathered world religious leaders in New York August 28-31. Immediately following that controversial assembly, Mikhail Gorbachev convened [...]

Catholics must wonder sometimes why the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) exists. On October 16, Catholic News Service (CNS) of the USCC issued a story with the headline, "Gore sees hope for 'common ground' movement on abortion." Written by Patricia Zapor, based on an interview with the vice president, the article serves to provide official Catholic [...]

As you read this, you will know something I do not as I write: the results of the November elections. Whatever the outcome, we may rely on two things: (1) Political statisticians and savants of every stripe will exhaust half the world's supply of newsprint explaining it all to us, and (2) Despite their best [...]

Midge Decter once offered the model of the Jewish Telegram: "Start worrying now—details to follow." With our necessary lead time, I write now only two weeks before the election, and by the time this is read, we will all know how this election—the cause of so much nail-biting and bewilderment—has come out. As I write, [...]

I was considering a lovely invitation to the Flanders Music Festival in Belguim this fall, wondering whether its extraordinarily broad and ambitious program could have any connection to the general interests of our readers. Pondering the scores of concerts over several months' time, I almost gave up. What could possibly tether this welter of riches [...]

Based on the popular novel by Steven Pressfield, The Legend of Bagger Vance opens with elderly Hardy Greaves, played by Jack Lemon, suffering a mild heart attack on the golf course. Sinking to the ground, he asks himself why he continues to risk his life by playing golf. The answer comes when he tells the [...]

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. It was on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1965, that Paul VI officially and solemnly closed perhaps the greatest Catholic event in the last 100 years, declaring, "This immense and extraordinary assembly is disbanded." In middle age, like [...]

The Anglo-Irish critic Robert Wilson Lynd observed that only in literature does coincidence seem unnatural. The literary Detection Club, whose members included Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and G.K. Chesterton, denied their fictitious sleuths access to coincidences, along with divine revelation, feminine intuition, mumbo-jumbo, jiggery-pokery, and an act of God. Synchronicity and other forms of coincidence [...]

The startling announcement was made before the last blessing at a recent Mass. It was nothing less than putting the genie back in the bottle. High school students not yet confirmed were urged to contact our new pastor because next year our parish reverts to the traditional practice of eighth-grade confirmation. Twenty-four years ago, the [...]

Among the pleasures of a prolonged life, as I have had occasion to mention before, is the rereading of books whose memory lingers on. Sometimes the renewal of acquaintance dispels the pleasure, but certainly not always. When I go back to Henry James, my preference is for the earlier novels, those that came before the [...]

In the Phaedo, Plato tells of the punishment handed out in Tartarus for sins committed in this life. He pictures those swept along through the Acherusian Lake crying out to those they have "killed or misused." It seems that "there is no relief for their suffering until they prevail upon those whom they have wronged; [...]

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