Art & Culture

Two things converged this month that caused me to coalesce my thoughts more clearly on the cultural tragedy of “coming out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. Of course, the more obvious event was that this past October 11 was “National Coming Out Day,” marking the anniversary of the 1987 March on [...]

Two things converged this month that caused me to coalesce my thoughts more clearly on the cultural tragedy of “coming out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. Of course, the more obvious event was that this past October 11 was “National Coming Out Day,” marking the anniversary of the 1987 March on [...]

Two recent articles take a look at the effect of technology on our consumerist society and reach startlingly different conclusions. One laments that we don’t own as much stuff as we used to, while the other talks about how online shopping has created a nation of hoarders. Can both be true, at the same time? [...]

You look over your fence and see your neighbor in his backyard, with a big pot over a roaring fire. Clouds of steam are rising from it, and they bring to you the sharp sweet smell of something cooking, something you know very well, but somehow it doesn’t fit the scene. “What are you cooking [...]

Canada Up in Smoke

The day is nigh. Today, October 17, marijuana becomes legal in Canada, only the second sovereign nation to let loose the reins of law on the notorious drug (the other being Uruguay, with other nations taking a more incremental approach). Nine U.S. states have also approved its recreational use: Colorado, the entire western seaboard (Washington, Oregon, [...]

National Public Radio’s afternoon news program, “All Things Considered,” is about big stuff and small stuff, world-shaking events and minute ephemera. In this sense, it does approximate “all things,” indeed, and I’ve been a devoted fan since Terry, my college roomie, clued me in nearly 40 years ago. “What is this anyway?” I asked him [...]

It can be said with safety that no other movie completed within the last three years has faced the obstacles of the Gosnell film in finally making it to the “big screen.” Produced by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney and ready for distribution as far back as October 2015, the movie may be a minor [...]

Western culture, like Christianity, is generously teleological. Deep in the gullies of popular culture, high-profile coaches chatter about achieving goals at the end of the season while damaged celebrities explain therapeutic processes that have yielded redemptive outcomes. High culture abounds with savvy talking heads who can identify the long-term objectives of this or that nation; [...]

As the new school year commences, it may be worthwhile to examine the role which leisure plays in our lives. Although we all value our vacation time and enjoy moments of relaxation, leisure in its truest form seems to be a forgotten practice in this day and age. To begin, when an attempt is made [...]

In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, a Greek war hero faces imposing challenges in his long journey home. After decimating the armies of Troy, King Odysseus sets out for Ithaca only to find himself wrestling against more formidable foes. For ten years the whims of gods and the winds of fate hinder his journey, while [...]

How do we recognize what is right? In history, systems of laws have almost always been based on religion: decisions regarding what was to be lawful among men were taken from reference to the divinity. Unlike other great religions, Christianity has never proposed a revealed law to the state and to society, that is to [...]

To be a girl today is to be the beneficiary of decades of conversation about the complexities of womanhood, its many forms and expressions. Boys, though, have been left behind. No commensurate movement has emerged to help them navigate toward a full expression of their gender. It’s no longer enough to "be a man"—we no [...]

I am now three days into a wild and woolly debate, of sorts, on Twitter about the creation of homosexuality as a new category of being. When last I checked, there are almost 1,000 comments, many of them vulgar, some of them threatening, and hardly any demonstrating real knowledge about the issue, only Tourette’s-like grunts, [...]

At the beginning of the summer, an open letter by the heads of eight private schools in Washington D.C. appeared in the Washington Post and caused waves throughout education circles on the internet. In this letter, these modern-day educators announced that they were taking the supposedly radical step of eliminating Advanced Placement (AP) courses from [...]

Miami police arrested two priests for “lewd and lascivious behavior.” One of them was also charged with “indecent exposure.” The two priests were in a parked car in a public place, performing a “sex act.” As the policeman noted, “there were no tints on the windows.” Let’s talk about these two men, and what this [...]

“I’m addicted to the Internet because it’s more interesting than people.”  ~ Dilbert The headline in the Wall Street Journal jumped out at me: “Step Away From the Phone”—as in “step away from the weapon” or “step away from the edge of the cliff.” And here’s the article’s sub-title: “To help screen addicts break the habit, [...]

The French film L’Apparition appears on cinema screens this weekend. It is the story of an investigative journalist and a young woman who is allegedly having visions of the Virgin Mary. It is a movie that explores belief and skepticism more than faith, however. The film’s main character is Jacques Mayano (Vincent Lindon). He is [...]

For keen insight into some of the malevolent forces at work in the Church right now, an unexpected source is a fascinating book by Father Charles Theodore Murr, titled, The Godmother: Madre Pascalina. Published in May 2017, for the centenary of Fatima, it is one of the most interesting yet underreported Catholic books of recent [...]

The underlying premise of conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s recent book, To Change the Church, is that the Catholic Church is conservative because her claims and demands only make sense if there is 1) a core and agreed-upon set of doctrines and 2) a clear link to New Testament teachings and to the early [...]

"Strauss embraced classical philosophy over religious faith, not as a system of set doctrines, but as a ‘way of life’ following the model of Socrates, featuring a Socratic ignorance and a searching (zetetic) or erotic skepticism. In this view, the philosopher lives happily with merely human wisdom, not because he has refuted divine wisdom, but [...]

At a time when Catholic youth are taught that Islam means peace, pilgrimage and prayer, and Catholic adults are under the impression that Muslims are a misunderstood minority who only want to share their values and their baba ghanoush, it’s refreshing to occasionally make contact with reality. I mean “refreshing” here in the sense that [...]

There are many issues that President Trump can solve. His first great accomplishment was solving the election. Almost all conservatives adopted a thank-God-it’s-not-Hillary approach to the Trump presidency. There was a general sigh of relief over a bullet dodged. As time passes, the administration now stands on its own merits beyond being not-Hillary. In this [...]

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