Art & Culture

As the Nazis prepared to invade Poland, they must have thought about the Polish history of sustaining its national spirit through art and literature. When Poland was partitioned in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was poets like Adam Mickiewicz and novelists like Henryk Sienkiewicz who kept Polish culture alive and inspired their downtrodden countrymen. [...]

As the Nazis prepared to invade Poland, they must have thought about the Polish history of sustaining its national spirit through art and literature. When Poland was partitioned in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was poets like Adam Mickiewicz and novelists like Henryk Sienkiewicz who kept Polish culture alive and inspired their downtrodden countrymen. [...]

Several years before his death last spring, the Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs remarked to me, in reference to 21st-century America, that “this is what a proletarian society looks like.” I was reminded of his words at Mass last Sunday as I surveyed the congregation below from the choir loft. A corpulent youth at the back [...]

In the waning days of summer, 1974, a man named Philippe Petit dared to do something beautiful. Petit, a professional funambulist, pulled off an undercover job tantamount to a heist, illegally securing a cable between the nearly completed World Trade Center Towers in New York City. He had walked a wire between the towers of [...]

It’s no secret that virtually all of Hollywood is hostile to Catholicism—to the Church, the Faith, the priesthood, and especially the moral teachings that serious Catholics strive to live by. Really, they do themselves no favors. From Ben Hur to I Confess to Going My Way to The Mission to The Passion of the Christ, [...]

I haven’t done it in years, but, before I was assigned to cantor Sunday Mass every week, I occasionally served as one of our several parish lectors. In those days, a parishioner was entrusted with finding and scheduling lectors. Whether these were given special training or not I don’t recall, though I do remember receiving [...]

“He is truly there in the Eucharist,” says Amelia Shripka. The 8th-grader at Everest Collegiate High School and Academy in Clarkston, Michigan takes delight in the Eucharistic procession that her school holds every year. It’s a “great time to reflect on what Jesus did for us,” she says. But according to a recent report from [...]

It’s all but inevitable on social media that someone will (sooner rather than later) call me an “old white man.” This can be in response to practically any topic. I never write about race, for instance. It’s a boring topic. But a politically incorrect comment on poverty, or global warming, or national defense, or whatever—can [...]

On August 15–17, 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held on a 600-acre dairy farm near Bethel, New York. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of this monumental cultural event that marked an epoch. Woodstock changed America. It helped usher in a period of moral devastation. The event enshrined free love as acceptable in [...]

Two elderly priests I know have offered complementary insights into our current cultural crisis: “Social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering,” and “Those who win the language wars win the culture wars.” Language carefully hones, shapes—or distorts—our culture. And, since language is our medium for comprehension, our use of language directly impacts our ability to [...]

With the continued normalization of vice in modern life, the idea of preserving or recovering innocence seems somewhat irrelevant. For most people, a return to innocence is more likely to bring to mind a new age hit single from the nineties than a serious societal concern. Today, only a few parents (usually of the Mormon [...]

We are an extraordinarily intolerant people. We take pride in our intolerance, though we don’t call it by that name. The tolerant person sees something bad and, for reasons of prudence or clemency, he bears with it. He sees his cousin drinking too much at a party; he ascertains that the cousin will not be [...]

A friend took me to lunch at the Harvard Club in New York City some years ago. When the food arrived, he looked around at the Masters of the Universe, he said: “Let’s shock the locals.” He then proceeded to cross himself and a say a blessing. I was shocked unto tears by something similar, [...]

Cultural appropriation: the label is increasingly applied in concert with those other derogatory words — bigot, homophobe, sexist —to smear those who violate the amorphous tenets of progressive ideology. Popular musician Rihanna was recently accused of cultural appropriation for donning traditional Asian garb for a recent Harper’s Bazaar photoshoot. Kim Kardashain, likewise, is an alleged [...]

Western civilization is weak, exhausted, dying. Our leaders in the Church – servants in attendance to the Great Physician – can now think of nothing to do but preach this thing they call “mercy.” There is nothing wrong with mercy, of course; but when our clerics use the word, they sound more like hospice nurses [...]

Reading good books can help save your soul. A liberal education and Christianity share a mutual pursuit of the truth. With the torrential influx of electronic entertainment and the focus on STEM-based disciplines, people today are reading books less than ever before. This is one of the great crises of our time. The National Endowment [...]

Many religious roads lead a convert to Rome, and a frequent guidebook is something written by G.K. Chesterton: often Orthodoxy. In his new collection of convert stories, My Name is Lazarus, Dale Ahlquist, the world’s greatest living Chesterton promoter, claims that he can name a couple of thousand who followed the fat journalist across the [...]

Most of us have probably wondered why people who clearly do not believe in Catholicism choose to remain within the Church, actively working to undermine its doctrines, structures, and practices. I have thought of more and more such reasons as time has gone on, some of whose validity has recently been confirmed by my reading [...]

In the wake of ongoing new reporting regarding sex scandals among many clerics, we have witnessed increased calls for the Catholic Church to loosen celibacy restrictions for the priesthood. Even many devout Catholics have begun to believe celibacy represents an unhealthy repression of sexual urges. To stem the tide of clerical abuse, the Church must [...]

Each of us knows that certain things are wrong—not because we believe they are wrong, but because they really are wrong. And that applies to the moral relativist as well. If you want to see a relativist sink into a sophistic seizure, ask him about the “virtues” of cruelty, rape, bigotry, exploitation, or the Holocaust. [...]

Centenarians are not as rare as they used to be and one can profit from their memories. In California, I spoke with a woman who had traveled there from Missouri in a covered wagon. I visited another woman in a retirement home who was the first to hear her English professor at Wellesley College, Katherine [...]

We had spent the morning with our children at the magnificent Sacré-Cœur Basilica, where we attended Mass. Then we went for a long walk in Père Lachaise, the remarkable cemetery where, among others, are buried Chopin and Jim Morrison. We visited both of their graves. After a very long and blistering hot morning, we boarded [...]

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