05/01/2000

In a quiet section of Tirana, the capital of Albania, in a relatively palatial building, John Cardinal O'Connor sits calmly sipping espresso and speaking to a reporter after arriving on a flight from Poland. "It's still difficult to believe," he exults, "that great big sign we saw in the center square, Welcome Pope John Paul [...]

In a quiet section of Tirana, the capital of Albania, in a relatively palatial building, John Cardinal O'Connor sits calmly sipping espresso and speaking to a reporter after arriving on a flight from Poland. "It's still difficult to believe," he exults, "that great big sign we saw in the center square, Welcome Pope John Paul [...]

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois Gaudium et Spes teaches that "in virtue of the Gospel entrusted to it the Church proclaims the rights of man.” It is no exaggeration to say that the foremost American practitioner of the "public Catholicism" Vatican Council II had in mind has been John Cardinal O'Connor. In [...]

Nothing quite focuses one as does a hospital room. Sounds of the day's news swirl around, heels clatter, subdued traffic noises lose their urgency as they float upward. The world goes on but makes little impact. One filters through tests that have been taken, and analyses offered, conjectures of what may be. Friendly, serious men [...]

One summer day last year, a young woman vacationing in northern Michigan stood atop the famous Sleeping Bear Sand Dune and looked back down the great slope she had just climbed. To her amazement, she spotted at the foot of the dune, ready to begin the ascent, three young religious sisters in sneakers and full [...]

Modern dissident Catholics have sought for years to challenge the Church from within Catholic universities, theological societies, and various anti-magisterial associations. Their litany of complaints has been drowned out of late by the voices of renewed orthodoxy. The papacy of John Paul II has met every thrust and parry progressive Catholics have attempted from within. [...]

The last acceptable bigotry in the United States is to defame Bible Christians—just tag them "religious right," heap scorn on them, and you will not lose public respect. By comparison, the charge of anti-Semitism and, increasingly, anti-Catholicism is the atomic bomb of American public life. Launched against someone and made to stick, it can ruin [...]

When Robert Funk announced the founding of the Jesus Seminar in 1985, he made a point of saying that all its work would be above-board. "We are going to carry out our work in full public view," the New Testament scholar told a gathering of scholars in Berkley, California. "We will not only honor the [...]

A sense of tragedy helps to keep a culture moral. Tragedy reminds us of the suffering we cannot alleviate, the finite boundaries we must not cross, no matter how tempting the horizon. In the ancient world, tragic boundaries were policed by the gods so that the men who acted as gods soon learned, painfully, otherwise. [...]

After a storm-tossed primary season, the SS Bush and the SS Gore have sailed into their respective home ports to repair damage and replenish supplies. Both candidates are lying low, in part because the public needs relief from the ardors of the long season and in part because the candidates themselves need to adjust their [...]

I was minding my own, prosaic business; I was on my way back to deal with the repairs on frozen pipes at our house in Amherst, Massachusetts, when a call came in from Robert George at Princeton. He was dialing 911, putting out a call for help with an upcoming conference on religion and public [...]

Movies look real. This is the source of their power: they seem to show us life as it is and people as they are. Yet I can't think of the last time I saw a hit movie, or a popular network TV series, in which anyone went to church. We see ordinary people at work, [...]

One of the most distinctive voices in 20th-century music was that of Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), a composer from a small Bohemian town in Czechoslovakia. Like his predecessor, Leos Janacek (1854-1928), Martinů was able to fashion an inimitably unique musical language that distinguishes each of his mature compositions and brings his name to mind within the [...]

We have just reenacted the resurrection of Christ at Easter and are waiting in the in-between time for His ascension and Pentecost. In such an atmosphere, the weary Catholic Culture Warrior in a morally decaying America has no reason to feel embattled, much less embittered. The main things of the faith are secure and the [...]

The promise to "build a bridge to the future" has become a mantra in recent politics. It is less cogent than Longfellow's maxim in The Golden Legend about not crossing a bridge until you come to it. The future needs no bridge. One cannot go out to it the way you can go from the [...]

I am embarked on a project at once painful and pleasurable, combing through pages of unidentified people in my deceased mother's photo albums. My daughter remarked she would never know who they were, the implication being, "when you are gone." She is right, of course. The pictures are of relatives and friends in my early [...]

Ogden Nash has a poem that begins, "A man could be granted to live a dozen lives/And he still wouldn't be understood by daughters and wives." We probably wouldn't want a world in which it were otherwise, a world in which absolutely everything could be understood by husbands and wives. I do not intend to [...]

For almost two centuries, there have been ever more frequent reports of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. If one takes as a beginning point Mary's appearance to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830—when the seer was presented with the miraculous medal, copies of which have been worn by millions since—one can trace a series of apparitions, [...]

So, it turns out, Patrick O'Brian was a liar, a child-abandoner, and a generally nasty piece of work. Before his death this year at the age of 85, the enormously popular author told—in a series of 20 volumes that have sold more than three million copies—the ongoing adventures of Capt. John Aubrey and Dr. Stephen [...]

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