Art & Culture

Piers Plowman

Some anti-Catholic myths just refuse to die. Take, for example, those about the medieval Church popularized in contemporary secular history books (often influenced by older Protestant narratives and analysis). Medieval Catholicism, so we are told, was a time of great biblical illiteracy; it was a time when man’s effort counted more than divine grace; it [...]

Some anti-Catholic myths just refuse to die. Take, for example, those about the medieval Church popularized in contemporary secular history books (often influenced by older Protestant narratives and analysis). Medieval Catholicism, so we are told, was a time of great biblical illiteracy; it was a time when man’s effort counted more than divine grace; it [...]

Every summer brings high temperatures and new lows of indecency to our streets as fashion trends plummet more and more into nudity. This summer, especially, there is a bizarre vibe of “letting loose” as a result of coming out of lockdown, celebrating restored freedoms with freedom from clothing. It is strange and disconcerting. But strangest [...]

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” That is from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who is one among our gallery of honored men and women at Magdalen College of the [...]

The author of the late-medieval Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is unknown. He was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, which means that he was writing in the late fourteenth century, and he is probably the author of three other works, including the long allegorical poem Pearl.  Although the Gawain Poet was living [...]

Of all the civilizations of the world, the West is the most beleaguered and under attack. Making matters worse, it is often the children of the West—the descendants of those heroes, martyrs, and patriots who labored and died for faith, family, and fatherland—that are leading the desecration of Western Civilization. What, exactly, happened? The enemy [...]

Everyone knows that a good man is hard to find, but a good artist is even harder—especially in the Catholic art scene. As a result, what is not hard to find are churches resembling space stations, sentimental plaster saints, and modernist nonrepresentational adornments. Sacred art is in crisis, and on June 22, the world lost [...]

The backdrop to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas Beckett, one of the most popular pilgrim sites in the whole of Christendom until its destruction by Henry VIII. It consists of a General Prologue, in which Chaucer introduces the fictional characters who are travelling together on [...]

Prodigal Nation

In my recent book-length poem The Hundredfold, you will find this hymn, inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son, to be sung to the melody “Old One Hundred Twenty-Fourth,” a melody you may know from the hymn “Turn Back, O Man”: I shall arise, and seek my Father’s house. Sated am I with all [...]

Poetry is at the heart of human nature and civilization. When one looks back over the history of civilization, it is often accompanied by, or begins with, poetry. The very apogee of the civilization in question inevitably converges with the age of poetic acme. Indeed, the very ascent of civilization and the spiritual vitality that [...]

The Divine Comedy is arguably the greatest poem ever written. It is also profoundly Catholic to its theological and philosophical core. Its author, Dante Alighieri, spent over ten years writing it, completing it a year before his death in 1321. It is fitting, therefore, that we should celebrate this finest of poetic masterpieces on the [...]

One of the most important distinctions we can make during these troubled times is between philosophy and ideology. Philosophy is the search for truth employing the universal human faculty of reason. Therefore, philosophy is for everyone. An ideology, on the other hand, is limited to a set of ideas that does not have a universal [...]

Catholicism is the future of culture in America and the Western World. Why? Because Catholicism understands that humans are cultural animals and that we have a rich and splendid cultural inheritance rather than proclaiming a deracinated and orphaned inheritance or advancing an ideology of self-hatred and cultural destruction in the name of progress.  Humans are [...]

Beowulf, the Old English epic, probably dates from the early eighth century, a golden age of English Christianity when the land was awash with saints. The Beowulf poet, who was almost certainly a monk, was a contemporary of St. Bede the Venerable, a Doctor of the Church, and St. Boniface, the English apostle to the [...]

H.W. “Harry” Crocker III has taken it upon himself to resurrect the reputation of George Armstrong Custer, perhaps the most politically incorrect man who ever lived. Custer was the Army officer who, surrounded by whooping Injuns, lost his scalp at Little Bighorn. Except, to Crocker’s telling, Custer lost nothing that day on Little Bighorn, not [...]

It will soon be thirty years since the implosion of the Soviet Union. That liberating event took place on the last day of August in 1991, exactly twenty-one months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Will there be celebrations to mark the anniversary? Not if Europe and the West have grown so forgetful of [...]

“If I have to choose between my feelings or experiences and the Bible,” I heard someone say recently, “it’s impossible for me to choose the Bible.” Well, people lie about their feelings all the time, to others and even to themselves. Very often, “He offended me” means “I was looking for a way to hurt [...]

With the definition of marriage changing (evolving?) from a permanent union between a man and woman open to having children to two people who love one another very much, it was only a matter of time before writers for The New York Times would want to equate friendships with marriage. If children and sex are [...]

“The Incarnation is the hinge of salvation” and “Iconoclasm as a denial of the Incarnation is the summation of all heresies.” The first quotation is from the second-century apologist Tertullian and the latter was penned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. These two statements can well be applied to our present cultural crisis; namely, the rise [...]

There is an unforgettable moment near the end of A Man for All Seasons (a perfectly fabulous film, which won a busload of awards—including Best Picture of the Year in 1966, starring Paul Scofield as the saintly Thomas More). It is the courtroom scene where More, following his betrayal by Master Richard Rich, whose perjured [...]

Along with The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Aeneid is one of the three epic pillars on which the edifice of western literature rests. These three works are, therefore, foundational. Written by Virgil a few decades before the birth of Christ, and at least seven centuries after the time of Homer, The Aeneid owes its [...]

Children as young as six are being taught “sex is assigned at birth.” They are being taught that boys and girls can be born into the wrong body, that boys can turn into girls and girls into boys. Children are being forced to use the “proper pronouns.” This is happening in the public school, where [...]