04/01/2001

It all started in 1978. Louise Brown, the world's first baby conceived in a scientific laboratory, was born that year to her thrilled, otherwise infertile parents in Oldham, England. She was the offspring, so to speak, of ten-plus painstaking years of similar attempts by a Cambridge University scientist named Robert Edwards, who sought to bring [...]

It all started in 1978. Louise Brown, the world's first baby conceived in a scientific laboratory, was born that year to her thrilled, otherwise infertile parents in Oldham, England. She was the offspring, so to speak, of ten-plus painstaking years of similar attempts by a Cambridge University scientist named Robert Edwards, who sought to bring [...]

In May 2000, the nation's first commercial Catholic radio network went off the air after just 18 months in operation. Catholic Family Radio's launching in 1998 had been accompanied by a fanfare of publicity in the Catholic and even the secular trade media, and when it crashed and burned a little over a year later, [...]

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, has been gaining in popularity and academic respect for his literary achievements. The revival of his 1895 play, An Ideal Husband, on Broadway and in a 1999 film proved very successful. However, the Irish playwright's personal lifestyle, rather [...]

As I have not received nearly enough hate mail of late, I thought it best to write something else on modesty, this time modesty at Mass (see my first article, "Drawing a Hemline: Sexual Modesty and the Pursuit of Wisdom," July/August 2000). I realize, of course, how delicate this subject is, but I also know [...]

A little-known relic in Oviedo, Spain, called the Sudarium, the cloth said to have covered Jesus' face after He was crucified, may be the key to unveiling the mystery of the Shroud of Turin. The history and scientific findings respecting the Sudarium, often called the "Cloth of Oviedo," provide an unfolding story that rivals the [...]

America has the world's largest economy and, even during the current mild recession, a nearly insa­tiable thirst for new workers. But how can America absorb about two million new immigrants a year without losing its specifically American culture? How can we do the right thing by the strangers who flock to our shores looking for [...]

Hispanics, are supposed to be the quintessential "unmeltable" ethnics who don't assimilate easily and thus tend to vote as a bloc for liberal Democratic candidates who appeal to their sense of victim status. This perception especially holds for recent Latino immigrants. In fact, thanks to the peculiar workings of the Electoral College, Hispanics are an [...]

The new president of the University of San Francisco (USF), Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J., recently announced the reorganization— the effective dismantling—of the St. Ignatius Institute, which for the past 25 years has offered the university's undergraduates the option of a Catholic great-books program in addition to their other courses. Founded in 1976 by Rev. [...]

The most innovative feature of President George W. Bush's domestic program is his effort to transform the way Americans think about the dispensation of social services and, more broadly, the role of government. He sounded these themes in his inaugural address on Jan. 20, reminding the nation that the maintenance of free institutions rests, in [...]

People read newspapers for many reasons. The purest spirits go straight to the sports or the comics. In my adopted home, Washington, D.C., national politics (it's a company town) starts the morning for many poor souls. You can tell when someone with the habit hasn't scanned the day's Washington Post: shaky hands, shifty eyes, fear [...]

When I was in college, I went out a couple of times with a Seventh-Day Adventist who took me one Sunday to a church supper. As we strolled into the meeting hall, she whispered nervously, "Some of us are vegetarians, and you're going to see some strange stuff here." Most of the food I saw [...]

Growing up in pre-revolutionary Russia, Alexander Tcherepnin (pronounced cher-up-neen) imbibed music from his composer father, Nicolai, and his mother, an accomplished pianist and singer. "There was plenty of music paper around our home," he recalled in his autobiography. "I observed how my father was writing his scores and tried to do the same while alone." [...]

My very favorite Catholic Liturgy is the opening of the Easter Vigil service and the lighting of the paschal candle. Taking place in black night outside the church, it is a moment of absolute transformation: from darkness to light, from emptiness to fullness, from death to life. A fire burns in a brazier, but it [...]

In October 1883 the poet and critic Matthew Arnold arrived in New York on the Cunarder Servia to begin a lecture tour. The Sudanese revolutionary who called himself the Mandi was annihilating the army of his country's Egyptian rulers. Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary had formed the Triple Alliance against France the year before. And Prince [...]

Last December the executive council of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The "football" in the association's title does not, of course, refer to our ellipsoid American pigskin, but to the checkered sphere of futbol, or soccer, the game that doesn't allow blocking. In his brief address, [...]

For a quarter of a century, my imaginative companion has been Father Roger Dowling, pastor of St. Hilary's Parish in Fox River, Illinois. During this time, he has remained 50 years of age while I have become considerably more than that. But in the beginning, I was younger than the good father. We met quite [...]

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