09/01/2002

Every group has its code words. These words serve an important social function they enable the members of the group to deliver a harsh judgment on others without accountability. In the Catholic world, when someone is called "divisive," it means he is too conservative to be trusted. Those who are "divisive" threaten the "unity of [...]

Every group has its code words. These words serve an important social function they enable the members of the group to deliver a harsh judgment on others without accountability. In the Catholic world, when someone is called "divisive," it means he is too conservative to be trusted. Those who are "divisive" threaten the "unity of [...]

The Supreme Court's June decision in the Cleveland school voucher case (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris) was a clean, surgical strike at the legal pieties that for years have held poor inner-city kids hostage to the incompetence of the public school establishment. The nation owes Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and his concurring colleagues a debt of [...]

He is washing dishes in a small deli in lower Manhattan as he tells me the story of his life. Chris Maceira is a Latino in his late teens, with short black hair and small red pockmarks on his throat. Something about him, perhaps the way his pupils enlarge like syrup being poured on a [...]

Janet Gail was used to looking at mammograms and finding bad news. As a hospital technician in Pennsylvania, that was her job. But she was unprepared for what found in her own mammogram when she did a routine screening at age 42. "I immediately recognized a suspicious area on the films," Gail—who asked that her [...]

It's a sickening story. In one section of Goodbye, Good Men (pp. 73-78 of the Regnery Press edition), author Michael S. Rose pulls the curtain back on the moral corruption at the American College of Louvain, a U.S.-run seminary associated with the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Here's the gist of it: In 1999, [...]

Once upon a time, Catholic parents sent their sons and daughters off to a Catholic college confident that their children would receive a sound Catholic education. They expected their offspring to return home in four years not only with professional skills and greater knowledge of science, art, and culture but with a deepened understanding of [...]

Europe is the heartland of Western culture, and it bodes ill that so little of enduring cultural value has come out of that heart in recent decades. Europeans look down on the United States as a powerful giant with an inferior culture, but at least America still has the vitality—and the will—to do something in [...]

On paper, John Sayles would seem to be the quintessence of a critics' darling. He writes, directs, and edits serious-minded independent films shot on skintight budgets. What's more, these films are politically conscious (to use his own olive-drab phrase), and the politics are both explicitly presented and impeccably liberal-populist, with a pinch of curdled Sixties [...]

I have spent the last several months listening to some of the finest chamber music I have ever encountered by a composer of whom you have probably never heard. Until I began dabbling in and then fanatically pursuing the works of Russian composer Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915), I had not heard of him either. If you [...]

The Debt Relief Enhancement Act is victory for President George W. Bush's compassionate conservative agenda. Although debt relief has been primarily embraced by Democrats, more and more conservatives are seeing its value. Third World countries that carry large amounts of debt are unable to fight poverty and build an infrastructure for a healthy and prosperous [...]

If the Basiclica of St. Peter in Rome were destroyed by an earthquake, the Catholic Church would go on a bit dusted but without missing a beat. Lost, though, would be any aesthete whose faith was founded on a fondness for the architecture of Michelangelo. I am perhaps belaboring the obvious, but the obvious was [...]

Virtues and vices are habits, modifications of our activities brought about by our choosing to do things objectively good or bad. Vice is a settled bad habit. When we have a vice, it means that we have so guided ourselves in our free actions that now we spontaneously do the wrong or bad thing. We [...]

End Notes: On the Road

When writing a novel, Evelyn Waugh found it useful to go off to a hotel in the provinces and hole up there for the duration. Without intending any exalted comparison, I have in the past 15 years or so followed a similar course, with a difference: Waugh stayed in England; my practice is to fly [...]

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