Art & Culture

Man is a rational animal. The capacity for reason is ingrained in his nature. He cannot be truly himself without living by the light of human reason. Saint Thomas Aquinas understood the social implications of reason and saw it as a means by which all people can communicate with each other on a common basis. [...]

Man is a rational animal. The capacity for reason is ingrained in his nature. He cannot be truly himself without living by the light of human reason. Saint Thomas Aquinas understood the social implications of reason and saw it as a means by which all people can communicate with each other on a common basis. [...]

The recent toppling of statues regarded as representing white supremacy is a sign that James Joyce’s Ulysses may soon be toppled from its top rank on the lists of great novels. Not only is James Joyce a dead, white, European male, but his work, particularly Ulysses, demands an understanding of Irish politics, Dublin geography, and [...]

The world lost a tremendously important voice on January 12, 2020, when Sir Roger Scruton passed away. Like all great artists and critics, his spirit lives on, and it is fitting that the great aesthetician and music scholar has bequeathed to the world a final—and fitting—contribution of cultural analysis, music criticism, and Wagnerian scholarship. In Wagner’s [...]

Why do young people leave the Faith? I was asked that question the other day, and I replied, off the cuff, that it was two things: Their imaginations had not been formed by the Faith and our magnificent heritage of arts and letters, and they wanted to have sex. Most of the reasons that people [...]

In Bruce Catton’s famous book A Stillness at Appomattox, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1954, the historian recounts a meeting held by Abraham Lincoln with his two generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, just before the inevitable surrender of the Confederacy. “The principal order of business,” Catton [...]

We are living in a strange time, to be sure—a strange amalgam of the last short years of the antebellum South and Weimar Germany. If we were selling it to a studio as a film idea, we would have to say it’s the first half-hour or so of Gone with the Wind meets Cabaret. Amid [...]

The story of the American founding usually begins in the East. In that account, we speak of the War of Independence, the establishment of the American republic, and prominent founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. However, there is an older story involving other founding fathers which took place in the West. Nearly 80 years [...]

The American city is built on efficiency. Roads weave and connect, and gas stations populate major street corners. Fast food restaurant chains pepper the highways so that drivers can eat as soon as they are hungry. Mountains are leveled and rivers are redirected so that the greatest number can fit in the smallest area. Buildings [...]

Let Teddy Stay

Navigating the current political waters can seem not only difficult but pointless. In our times, leadership has failed in almost every sector of society: families are broken, schools are in need of desperate aid, governors and senators vow false promises they know they will not keep, and mob rule appears to be replacing the ethical [...]

People who read Dante for the first time may well be surprised that of the two great ways to embrace what is evil—as opposed to loving what is good but in an evil way—the poet says that fraud is worse than violence. This is because violence suppresses or negates what separates man from the beasts, [...]

Give me Attila the Hun over our present-day homegrown barbarians. There was something honest about the old-fashioned barbarians. Whether they were the Huns or the Vikings, or the Vandals or the Visigoths, there was something honest about them. They made no bones about it: they were going to sweep down, burn your village, rape your [...]

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” —Matthew 6:22 I’m content, at the age of about twenty-five (the exact number escapes me), to stay exactly where I am. I’ve moved precisely once since my undergraduate days. Nothing’s more futile than [...]

Baron Friedrich von Hügel was born in Germany but spent most of his life in England, having married into the distinguished family of Herberts. He was a popular spiritual writer in the Anglo-Catholic sphere of the early 20th century. One of his works, The Life of Prayer, is a short treatise that questions the assumption, [...]

When I was a theology student at Oxford in the early 1980s, I came across a collection of essays that had come out a few years earlier. The book was called The Myth of God Incarnate. A number of the authors were Oxford theologians, some of whom I studied under. The editor, John Hick, summed [...]

Meditations on the Litany of Loreto for the Month of May By John Henry Newman, edited by Peter M. J. Stravinskas. Newman House Press USA 2019 John Henry Newman: saint, poet, theologian, pastor, and unseen father of the Second Vatican Council…we sing his beautiful hymns, and we read his Apologia pro Vita Sua, and more. But [...]

          I saw the ’potamus take wing Ascending from the damp savannas, And quiring angels round him sing The praise of God, in loud hosannas.  Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean And him shall heavenly arms enfold, Among the saints he shall be seen Performing on a harp of gold. — T.S. Eliot [...]

I have been reading the works of Saint Hildegard (1098–1179), the visionary mystic, naturalist, scriptural exegete, artist, and musical composer. In one of his weekly audiences, Pope Benedict XVI recommended her to us for her remarkable meditations upon the Word made flesh, which made manifest what she called the “greenness” of the Father’s power, and [...]

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends,” says Albus Dumbledore in an address to the Great Hall in J.K. Rowling’s The Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in her fabulously successful Harry Potter series. I confess I don’t know who [...]

The apogee of collaborationist Catholicism, alongside its more radical co-religionists, was undoubtedly the day of my birth: November 8, 1960. It was the day John F. Kennedy was elected president. He had already paid the price of admission to the Oval Office with a speech before the Houston Ministerial Association the previous September 12, in [...]

“Persuasion—the highest form of persuasion at any rate—cannot be achieved without a sense of beauty.” When I was boy, I was confronted on several occasions with Mssrs. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. It revealed to me many valuable points, indeed, a whole theory of writing, most of which I have since forgotten, or, more [...]

In 1752, a fifteen-year-old Edward Gibbon entered the halls of Magdalen College, Oxford, where his father had enrolled him as a gentleman commoner. The aspect of his new academic mother did not inspire the young scholar with immediate reverence, nor would the passage of many years cause him to look back on his brief term [...]

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