Art & Culture

One cannot live without developing opinions about the nature of reality, so every well-defined culture and faith naturally introduces its members to a way of seeing the world. While we can easily name many different worldviews, perhaps the five most important ones are: 1) Chinese, 2) Indian, 3) Muslim, 4) secular humanist, and 5) Christian. [...]

One cannot live without developing opinions about the nature of reality, so every well-defined culture and faith naturally introduces its members to a way of seeing the world. While we can easily name many different worldviews, perhaps the five most important ones are: 1) Chinese, 2) Indian, 3) Muslim, 4) secular humanist, and 5) Christian. [...]

“Don't immanentize the eschaton!” was William F. Buckley's popularized version of an idea taken from the political philosopher Eric Voegelin. Buckley later made it a political slogan: “Don't let them immanentize the eschaton!” With apologies to Voegelin scholars, what Buckley meant was:“Don’t let ideologues try to create heaven on earth, because they’ll deprive us of [...]

One might wonder why an almost 800-page book written 67 years ago (1952) by an author who died in 1961 would still have any relevance today. The book is Witness by Whittaker Chambers. It is both an autobiography and a "tell-all" book of a complicated life, of espionage, of a notorious court case, and, finally, [...]

Aristotle says that sight is the most philosophical sense. Of the five senses, it most resembles our capacity to know. We naturally desire both to see and to know. Indeed, knowing is an intellectual seeing. Of course, “I see” can mean “I understand.” Plato calls the highest kind of knowing noesis, typically translated into English [...]

Like any complex functional system, human society involves distinctions, hierarchies, and lasting connections. The Internet, and electronic media generally, disrupt all that. They make everything equally present to everything else, and put all things on the same footing. Relationships become fluid, and sounds and images can be chopped up and reassembled, so that anything can [...]

An informative, comprehensive, well-written, and persuasive book, The Splendor of Marriage was published by Angelico Press to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968). In a culminating chapter, Richard Spinello lays out the argument of Humanae Vitae and makes it clear why the document is so central to Catholic doctrine [...]

Often when the topic of the East-West schism between the Orthodox and Catholics comes up, the discussion often includes the Crusades, and particularly the Fourth Crusade, which culminated in a Latin army conquering not any Muslim territory, but the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1204. The Orthodox have a long memory in reference to this [...]

There is a major problem with books written solely from an economic prism. Consider the fact that the American economy is booming by all major indicators. Unemployment is down to record lows. Inflation is minimal. Consumer confidence is up. We have not seen times like this for decades. Admittedly, wages are still low, and debt [...]

In its recent Sunday edition, America’s newspaper of record ran a front-page article on the challenges facing gay Catholic priests titled “A Silent Crisis for Gay Priests.” It is the most recent specimen of the journalistic genre of suffering-gay-Catholic-priests-in-an-unwelcoming-Church. The narrative is well-known by now: a Church which fails to welcome gay priests, whose leaders [...]

“Can a woman forget her nursing child that she should have no compassion for the son of her womb?”  ∼ Isaiah, 49:15 “Every man is in a direct relationship with God. Faith claims no more for the first man than for each one of us, and vice versa no more for us than for the first [...]

March 5, 2019, will be the 75th anniversary of the death of Max Jacob (1876-1944), a figure somewhat on the margins of the renouveau catholique, a literary renaissance marked by expressions of the Faith among a broad range of novelists, poets, playwrights, and essayists in early twentieth-century France. Born to a secular Jewish family in [...]

Not too far from where I live, in a small town in the middle of the Midwest, the National Churchill Museum celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. One would expect to find a national-level museum honoring the great British prime minister elsewhere, such as Washington or New York City. Rather, its location in Fulton, Missouri, [...]

Whatever can be said about our current cultural climate, particularly when it comes to the two sexes, one thing is for certain. The battle lines are becoming ever clearer. What it means to be a woman, or to be a man, is at the front and center now. The things that used to be the [...]

Ours is a tragic age, but based on my cultural observations over the Christmas holidays hardly anyone appears to be taking it tragically. Instead, people are blissfully adrift: eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage. Few seem to be noticing the red tide rising. The holidays always afford me the opportunity to take the [...]

Popular consciousness in the West has affirmed over and over again, like the beating of a drum, that natural science and theology are in bitter conflict. Recently, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne made this claim in a predictable piece, claiming that the two are incompatible and are at war with one another. In recent years, scientific [...]

Among all the quickly produced denunciations of the Covington Catholic students, the condemnations from fellow Catholics and fellow pro-lifers were perhaps the most disappointing. Covington Catholic High School and the Diocese of Covington quickly put out a statement saying: “We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and [...]

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Among Catholic students of political thought, few figures are more liable to provoke vigorous debate than does this famous dictum’s author, Cambridge University history lecturer John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, a.k.a., the 1st Lord Acton, Catholic godfather of classical liberalism. Where Acton’s critics identify classical liberalism as a [...]

From October 22 to November 30, in 1878, a large fair was held in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York City before its dedication. It took advantage of the magnificent open space before pews were installed to the distress of the architect, James Renwick, who objected that Protestant furniture had no place in [...]

I recently wrote an article offering a different approach to communicating with Mormons. Instead of the often confrontational stance of trying to prove their theology wrong on biblical grounds, or, even less effective, mocking their unusual beliefs, I suggested Catholics work within a paradigm of hospitality and empathy, inviting LDS members into their home, feeding [...]

From time immemorial, people have buried the dead. Sometimes they even risked their lives to carry out this most basic duty. In times of persecution, for example, Christians put themselves in great danger to recover the bodies of martyrs so that they might receive the holy rites of Christian burial. The Old Testament recounts the [...]

Misology is a neologism, coined by Plato, to name the hatred of argument, and not in the sense of a quarrel or domestic squabble. Misology names the hatred of logos; it is the hatred of reason and rational discourse. It is a commonplace in our culture today that we are deadlocked when it comes to the [...]

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