02/01/2002

Shanghai—It's 8 a.m., and the dingy apartment building is momentarily unguarded. A woman sweeping her doorway across the street cranes her neck to watch the American walking hurriedly toward the home of her infamous neighbor. I knock, keeping my back to the police camera hidden in the hallway. An elderly man—not the one I've come [...]

Shanghai—It's 8 a.m., and the dingy apartment building is momentarily unguarded. A woman sweeping her doorway across the street cranes her neck to watch the American walking hurriedly toward the home of her infamous neighbor. I knock, keeping my back to the police camera hidden in the hallway. An elderly man—not the one I've come [...]

Mikhail Gorbachev was the final president of the Soviet Union, serving from 1985 to 1991. His policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness) led to the end of communism in the USSR and the birth of a new, democratic Russia. Currently, he heads the Gorbachev Foundation, an international think tank. He sat down with Deal [...]

I was relaxing in my favorite armchair and watching golf when my daughter, Hannah, strode into the room. "Dad," she said, "we need to have a serious talk." "Okay," I replied, turning toward her. She frowned. "You're going to have to turn the TV off." "Oh." I tapped the remote control. This was serious. Almost [...]

The career of Frank Capra coincided with the golden age of Hollywood, and many of his films are recognized as classics. Still, most critics seem not to have noticed that Capra's work reflects a profoundly Catholic vision of reality, a vision framed by the Sermon on the Mount. Because his cinema does not have an [...]

Twenty years ago this month, I was received into the Catholic Church. The late Archbishop Thomas Donellan of Atlanta had given Rev. Richard Lopez permission to perform my confirmation privately. Father Lopez chose the chapel at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the cancer home run by the Hawthorne Dominican sisters, where, some years earlier, Flannery [...]

Why is so much modern literature disappointing? One plausible answer is that most literature in any age is mediocre and that our sense of the emptiness of a large percentage of what comes from the publishing houses merely reflects the fact that there are few geniuses alive at any moment. A fair assessment. But contemporary [...]

Perhaps you noticed during the recent Christmas season the studied effort among newscasters to avoid saying the word "Christmas?' With conspicuous exceptions, the talking heads went to unusual and almost comical lengths to steer around the offending word, though from time to time some would lapse into older customary usage in spite of themselves. "Merry [...]

Rev. C. Frank Phillips rescues antiques. Wearing a soutane with the black cords of a Resurrectionist priest, he sits in the office of his Chicago parish surrounded by old objects and images. The furniture here—as throughout the rectory and sacristy—puts one in mind of 16th- century France. On a pedestal by the wall, a brass [...]

A lot of folks were surprised when Steven Soderbergh, the hot American director of the moment, chose to follow up Traffic, perhaps the most critically acclaimed film of 2000, with a remake of Ocean's Eleven, among the least critically acclaimed films ever made. Whether or not you remember the original—and there's no earthly reason why [...]

I am torn between writing about American composer George Antheil's life and writing about his music. Each contains such wild improbabilities that one cannot help but be intrigued and amused by the delightful eccentricities of both. I wonder if the connection between the two might not be crime—of both the literal and musical sort. Take, [...]

Without a "sense" of the Church, Jesus' parables can be reduced to exercises in moralism. Fundamentalist readers, or even those who would call themselves evangelicals, may miss the fundamentals of what Christ says about the Church, for the Church tends to be peripheral to a congenially de-historicized vision. In previous parables, Jesus rivets the eye [...]

A gentleman in Sought Carolina recently recalled hearing Professor Ronald Nash (Western Kentucky University) speaking at Hillsdale College. Nash had received a copy of my book The Praise of "Sons of Bitches": On the Worship of God by Fallen Men. He quipped that on receiving the book, he immediately hastened to its index to see [...]

One of the sources of the atheism that plagues modern society is, according to Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes, our alleged sense of being in control of things. But surely this is a mood, not a conviction. A stroll to the corner is usually sufficient reminder of one's contingency. When are we not open to [...]

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