11/01/2001

September 11 was the beginning of a sea change in American life. It's not the end of the pursuit of happiness, as Christostopher Hitchens called it in the Evening Standard, but the end of narcissism. You can see it on the faces of President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of [...]

September 11 was the beginning of a sea change in American life. It's not the end of the pursuit of happiness, as Christostopher Hitchens called it in the Evening Standard, but the end of narcissism. You can see it on the faces of President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of [...]

Americans went to their comfortable beds on the night of September 10 and awoke to a dawn drawn in blood. By the time the sun had set again, the hideous scar in the wall of the Pentagon and the cascading horror of the World Trade towers would be forever fused in our memory with the [...]

“Get up, son,” my mother said, tapping softly on the door of the bedroom of my childhood home in Missouri. "Liz just called from New York. She says to turn on the TV. It's something about an airplane hitting the World Trade Center." I came awake a split-second later, my head full of memories. I [...]

We buried a good man Saturday, September 22. His name was Patrick McGuire, and he was in his office on the 84th floor of Tower 2 when the first plane smacked into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. The McGuires had four children, and Pat served on the education committee at St. Vincent Martyr, [...]

There is no question that our nation will respond with force to the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What will our response look like if it is shaped by the Catholic understanding of principles of justice in warfare? The first question that arises is whether war is a proper response at all. Some [...]

I live on the Brooklyn waterfront, just across the harbor from lower Manhattan. On that horrible morning on September 11, my father phoned me from Louisiana to tell me to look out my front door, the World Trade Center was on fire. It was, and I ran down to the basement to grab my reporter's [...]

Infandum

In 1789 George Washington prayed in St. Paul's Church, on what we now call lower Broadway, on the day of his inauguration as the first president of the United States. The churchyard was already old. On September 11, 2001, several new corpses were lying on the old graves. Then quickly a temporary morgue was set [...]

Since the time of the Second Vatican Council, an almost obsessive focus on the Catholic Church as institution has preoccupied many Catholics in North America and western Europe. That obsession with the institutional dimension of the Church helps to explain why so much of the contemporary Catholic debate is framed in terms borrowed from politics: [...]

Great books have much to fear from blockbuster movies. And Peter Jackson's new film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, set to be released in theaters next month, poses such a threat. Mesmerized by the cinematic eye-candy, the spin-off toys and games, and the fast-food tie-ins, fans who enter J.R.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth [...]

"Marry for money, not for love," a doctor once advised me. He had married for love, he told me, and that's why he had had to become a doctor (instead of an archaeologist) to support his family. Such advice, I have learned, leads to unhappy marriages. This sad fact can be a lesson for individuals [...]

I do not know whether the French mystic and writer Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a saint. On balance, I think not. She may have been something even rarer: a true contemplative who still had many deep flaws. In the plus column, Weil wrote about spiritual questions with a penetration that may be unequaled since John [...]

Before he died, a great music-loving friend of mine, Phil Nicolaides, said that he would regret departing this life because of the wonderful melodies he would never hear. He was wrong. The best melodies are in heaven. This is especially so in the case of the music of Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981). Tveitt lived [...]

I love to tango. As a single Catholic woman, this isn't always easy. Argentine tango can be danced close—very close. Its intimacy and passion can sweep me into the romantic ozone layer, obscuring any sense of reality. It lures me into wanting more—more intimacy, more connectedness, more transcendence. So why do I tango? Because Argentine [...]

By a delicate symmetry, the parable of the mustard seed takes up just two verses of the Scriptures (Matthew 13: 31-32). In the 18th century "the smallest of all the seeds" was such a convenient metaphor for next-to-nothingness that land was sometimes rented for the symbolic fee of one peppercorn, its minuteness a sign of [...]

A certain gentleman I know recently told me that his young son is attending a private Catholic school that is run independently of the diocesan or religious order systems. He and his wife were evidently happy with the school: "It is a much more loving place, no Baltimore Catechism sort of thing." Aside from the [...]

"Daniel Maguire, a Roman Catholic theologian at a Jesuit university, has spent the last three decades defying the church." Thus begins an Associated Press article on the new mandatum—the mandate set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae (1990) that those teaching theology in Catholic institutions must seek from their bishops. Of course Maguire, a professor of [...]

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