06/01/2001

At 10:30 on a recent Friday morning at St. Vincent de Paul School in Denver, about 20 blue-and-white-uniformed fifth-graders kneel silently, fidgeting only slightly, in a small chapel lit only by the flickering of a thick red candle. Two floors down in the school building, a fresh- faced nun in full black-and-white habit paces the [...]

At 10:30 on a recent Friday morning at St. Vincent de Paul School in Denver, about 20 blue-and-white-uniformed fifth-graders kneel silently, fidgeting only slightly, in a small chapel lit only by the flickering of a thick red candle. Two floors down in the school building, a fresh- faced nun in full black-and-white habit paces the [...]

The battle over President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative—his plan to increase government support for church- and community-run social services—opened on a second front this spring, when political and religious heavyweights on the right began to unload some potent criticism on the newly assembled team of experts who came from far and wide to lay [...]

At the pool last summer I met a mother of a three-year-old and a five-year-old. She started talking to me about my two youngest girls, Patricia and Kathleen. Slowly, she realized that Brian, the four-year-old boy bobbing up and down with great delight in the three-foot end, was also mine. When Maggie, my seven-year-old, came [...]

A German opera called Palestrina, composed by Hans Pfitzner during the First World War, portrayed the 16th-century composer as the savior of Catholic Church music. Set during the Council of Trent, the opera had the council fathers on the verge of banning polyphonic music (many voices singing various melodies at variance) from the Mass. Then [...]

Although the communion lines at Sunday Mass in American churches have perhaps never been longer, polls show that more than 60 percent of American Catholics say they do not believe in the "real presence"—that Jesus Christ is bodily present in the Eucharist. What does this mean? Are U.S. Catholics lacking in faith or poorly catechized [...]

The top priority of Republican Party strategists over the last few years has been winning more support from two groups—religiously active voters and racial and ethnic minorities. In the case of Mass-attending Catholics who also belong to minority groups—Hispanic, Asian, and African-American—this outreach effort poses an intriguing question: Will Republicans succeed in entering minority communities [...]

When the history of the Dutch in the 21st century is written, assuming they're around long enough to have one, it will be recorded that in April 2001, they became the first free people on earth to legalize euthanasia. This dubious honor may not be only theirs for long. A similar euthanasia bill is pending [...]

The only religion that enjoys near-universal respect in our culture is Buddhism. Even revelations of corrupt Asian "holy" men or Buddhist nuns involved in fund-raising scams never seem to touch its vague prestige. Christianity and Judaism are well-known and widely practiced. But in the academy, in Hollywood, among journalists, and at publishing houses, both faiths [...]

The surprising thing about movies is not that most of them are stupid, but that any of them are smart. This blinding flash of insight came to me not long ago as I sat in my neighborhood movie house and watched a more than usually bone-headed reel of trailers advertising this summer's coming attractions. I [...]

I was in L.A. I should have known better. I went to Sunday morning Mass in a beautiful Spanish Baroque-style church that lulled me into expecting a liturgy that comported with its appearance. That didn't happen. The experience reminded me afresh of the pod-people feeling I have as a pre-Vatican II Catholic every time I [...]

Catholic Charities USA is the largest religious charity in America, with a $2.3 million budget and local affiliates in 1,400 dioceses across the United States. Those local offices in turn support a myriad of good works for the poor—soup kitchens, homeless shelters, help for women facing crisis pregnancies, AIDS treatment, services for the elderly—with the [...]

This is my last “Coincidentally” Column. And so, as at the end of a dinner party, I am gathering up the crumbs. What follows are items that I have been unable to organize around a particular theme, as in my past columns, but which, when put together, make their own loaf of synchrony and concomitance. [...]

In Book Four of his Ethics, Aristotle discusses the virtue of "liberality," or "generosity"—what we do with our wealth, or better, our material goods. Aristotle held that from the point of view of virtue, it doesn't make much difference if we have much or little wealth. Rich or poor, we have essentially the same problem: [...]

Penelope Fitzgerald's The Knox Brothers (Counterpoint Press, 2000) got a rave review from Charlotte Hays in the April 2001 issue of Crisis, and rightly so. While Hays laid before the reader the major merits of Fitzgerald’s biography of her father, Edmund Knox, and her uncles Dillwyn, Wilfred, and the Catholic convert Ronald Knox, I want [...]

MENU