01/01/2001

In her prescient 1999 book, One Nation, Two Cultures, historian Gertrude Himmelfarb described America as a deeply divided country. The immediate response was: Of course we are divided. Look at the tiny margins that decide our political contests. But the acrimony-beset results of Election 2000 indicate that the division of America at this political moment [...]

In her prescient 1999 book, One Nation, Two Cultures, historian Gertrude Himmelfarb described America as a deeply divided country. The immediate response was: Of course we are divided. Look at the tiny margins that decide our political contests. But the acrimony-beset results of Election 2000 indicate that the division of America at this political moment [...]

At their general meeting in November 1999, the American bishops, by a vote of 223-31, adopted an "application to the United States" of Pope John Paul II's 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Later, someone with a good reason for wanting to know e-mailed me to ask who the 31 were [...]

The annual Edinburgh Festival is the largest international arts gathering in the world. During summer 1999, in the course of an otherwise generally non-controversial program, the leading Scottish composer James MacMillan gave a talk entitled "Scotland's Shame," in which he spoke of "sleepwalking bigotry" and "visceral anti-Catholicism" disfiguring the life of an ancient but newly [...]

St. Paul has long been vilified by feminists as an unreconstructed male chauvinist responsible for keeping women subservient to men by telling them to be submissive to their husbands, to be silent in church, and to cover their heads when at worship. Now it seems that the bishops of Ireland are at one with the [...]

They're at it again. On September 15, the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) issued a lengthy paper entitled "Theologians, Catholic Higher Education and the Mandatum," designed to tear out the heart of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The CTSA paper argues against the principle of the bishop's mandatum. While the bishops appear to be moving ahead [...]

“In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, through whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe." (Hebrews 1:1-2) This Crisis guide will focus on some of the foundational issues [...]

The postelection saga rent the veil of the media temple. It revealed something we have always known: They're not on our side! What was different this time was not merely ideological bias but tonal or, to put it another way, emotional bias. When Matt Lauer on The Today Show asked whether one of Florida Secretary [...]

Following almost every close presidential election, alarms sound to abolish the Electoral College, and the national salivations come forth on schedule. Dusty arguments are hauled out of storage, refitted, and gravely re-intoned by television newsreaders anxious to be seen on the side of trendy reform. The argument hasn't changed much since Andrew Jackson's partisans falsely [...]

He was one of the smartest of the "political" people I knew. He had been active in conservative politics, been in former President Bush's administration, been involved in a powerful consulting firm. He was plugged into all of the most recent surveys emanating from all quarters, he was in touch with Gov. George Bush's campaign, [...]

M. Night Shymalan's 1999 blockbuster, The Sixth Sense, took the moviegoing public by surprise. His previous film, the brilliant but underappreciated Wide Awake (1998), had gone straight from lackluster reviews to video-store oblivion, so Shymalan well-deserved the success and acclaim The Sixth Sense suddenly brought him. It made more than $250 million and has passed [...]

The Cold War was so cold that only now, more than ten years after its end, are some composers' works being thawed out for a general hearing. Hungarian composer László Lajtha (1892-1963) is finally emerging from the deep freeze in which the Hungarian Communist regime placed him. In 1947, when Lajtha (pronounced "Loy-tah") returned to [...]

National Cultures are strange things. Those of us impudent enough to talk about the way that the United States or some other nation seems headed face a big hurdle. How can you characterize what more than a quarter of a billion strangers are thinking, feeling, and doing at a particular moment? Anyone who has puzzled [...]

Facing me every morning on the wall of the room where I take my coffee and cast a cold eye on the New York Times is a small engraving of Edward Law, the first Baron Ellenborough (1750-1818), British governor-general of India until his death. By pure coincidence, he hangs next to an engraving of Clement [...]

"Woe to the mother who speaks of child-rearing, For lo, her children will misbehave. They will wail and scream in the market, They will poke eyes and pull hair. Even strangers will reprimand them, and Their cuteness will shield them not." If that's not received wisdom, it should be. While I'm not a superstitious person [...]

When it seemed like a long way into the future, I saw a spectacular film called 2001. The beginning focused attention on a mysterious monolith. This monolith was somehow connected with the meaning of the universe, although my memories of this are vague. The film was not explicitly Christian because for us, the center of [...]

Listening to others talk is enough to make you drop an eave. But what marvels they are, the urgent, the playful, the wistful, the countless purposes with which we visit what Hamlet called the porches of another's ear. The great Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges says that words are symbols for shared memories, nicely capturing [...]

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