03/01/2002

The angel Gabriel announced the birth of Christ at a town called Nazareth. Most people know that—it could be a $4,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. What most people don't know is that the largest church in the Middle East stands at the site: the Basilica of the Annunciation. Within a few [...]

The angel Gabriel announced the birth of Christ at a town called Nazareth. Most people know that—it could be a $4,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. What most people don't know is that the largest church in the Middle East stands at the site: the Basilica of the Annunciation. Within a few [...]

Before September 11 erased our collective political memory, embryonic stem cell research was just about the hottest item on the national political agenda. President George W. Bush defused the issue temporarily when he announced last August that federal financial support would be limited to research on existing embryonic stem cell lines. The boys in the [...]

When the guards had finished searching me, I walked into the airy, white rotunda lobby of the Marriott Center in Washington, D.C. I was there for the United Jewish Community's General Assembly, the largest annual gathering of Jewish leaders in the world. It was postponed after September 11, and many feared the turnout would be [...]

Until not long ago, the word dead seemed unambiguous. Death (in a physiological sense) meant the cessation of both heartbeat and breathing, known as cardiorespiratory arrest. Today, most doctors view this criterion as insignificant, even irrelevant. In its place, they have adopted a set of neurological criteria that define death as "the absence of brain [...]

John Cornwell is controversial. The best-selling author of Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII has been widely condemned both for the quality of his research and for the alleged heterodoxy of his Catholic faith. In his newest book, Breaking Faith: The Pope, the People, and the Fate of Catholicism, Cornwell opens himself up [...]

One brisk, gray afternoon in London, I stood on a corner of Hyde Park with one of Frank Sheed's old friends. "That's the spot where he used to stand and preach," she said with a wistful smile. Now an elderly widow, in the 1940s and 1950s she had worked in the London Catholic Evidence Guild [...]

On the third Sunday of Advent in 1998, a handful of middle-aged women wearing purple ribbons clutched purple flowers as they entered St. Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, England. The members of Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO) had come from surrounding parishes to stand as witnesses to their hope for women priests. "At the end of Mass, [...]

Mike Garside didn't know what he was getting into. Easing his BMW off the busy main road connecting the boom towns of Reading and Newbury in southeast England, he felt he might be wasting the weekend. He could be spending the time at work or with his family. But here he was, on his way [...]

History occupies a different position in the modern world than it once did. Since roughly the French Revolution, large swaths of the West have made liberation from the past a conscious project. And because out civilization depends heavily on technology, we have grown accustomed to the notion that what is old—bursts of nostalgia notwithstanding—is gone [...]

Every winter, Hollywood releases its annual quota of films for grown-ups, just in time for the Oscar nominations. It's never more than a dribble, and it never lasts for long—the dumb stuff is always back in the theaters by late January. But for those adults who still go to the movies from time to time, [...]

I am generally suspicious of modern interpolations in traditional religious texts, like the Requiem or Stabat Mater. For centuries, the Latin words seemed perfectly capable of expressing themselves without being interlarded with commentary from other sources. I am suspicious because this is often done to make the texts "relevant" to modern audiences by relating them [...]

  St. Peter was an impetuous man, unlike his most recent successors, and so his reserve through our Lord's discourse in Matthew 18 up to verse 20 is note worthy. The disciples' question about who is greatest may have been urged by him, or they may have asked it ironically in oblique reference to him. [...]

The title of this essay could be "The Duty to Be Thin," or "The Dignity of Fatness," but these titles lack pizzazz. The present title adds a codicil to that long list of "rights" that have recently been invented to enable the government to perfect our happiness by denying us what we like. These reflections [...]

It was a mark of the most influential thinkers of the late millennium that they are said not to mean what they seem it to say but something almost the opposite. Thus, Friedrich Nietzsche, we are told, is not the champion of the antinomianism that he superficially appears to embrace, but rather someone who laments [...]

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