Opinion

Speak, Lord

One of the sources of the atheism that plagues modern society is, according to Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, our alleged sense of being in control of things. But surely this is a mood, not a conviction. A stroll to the corner is usually sufficient reminder of one’s contingency. When are we not open to … Read more

The Crescent and the Gun: Islam and Violence

It’s hard to watch Francis Bok remember. He speaks softly, haltingly. His piercing eyes stare out, sometimes at you, sometimes into space, but always to that morning 15 years ago in Sudan. He was seven years old and living with his family in a small southern village. His mother had sent him to the local … Read more

Perils of the Popess

Pope Joan is one of the most tenacious myths of the Middle Ages, told and retold by Catholics and anti-Catholics alike since the 13th century. It is said that beautiful young Joan, an Englishwoman born in Mainz, Germany, disguised herself as a man to gain higher education beside her scholarly lover. Her brilliance won her … Read more

Reconsidering Vatican II

In May 1964, in the middle of the Second Vatican Council, I published a book, The Open Church, an optimistic assessment of the changes in the Catholic Church that I believed the council would produce. I had written it in white-hot haste in my room at the Pensione Baldoni in Rome during a six-week period … Read more

The Price of Priestly Pederasty

Rudy Kos, former Catholic priest and convicted molester of altar boys, just spent another hot summer in the unair-conditioned Texas prison where he is serving four life sentences for hundreds of incidents of sexual abuse of minors during the 1980s and early 1990s. While Kos, 56, was hardly the first Catholic priest to sexually abuse … Read more

Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials

This past winter, the illustrious and venerable New York publishing house Alfred A. Knopf published the third and final volume of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Its title is The Amber Spyglass, and it runs 518 handsomely laid-out pages. The English-born, Oxford-educated Pullman had earmarked his first two volumes for the “young adult” market, … Read more

M. Night Shymalan’s Unbreakable Success

[Warning: This review contains spoilers] Shymalan’s 1999 blockbuster, The Sixth Sense, took the movie going public by surprise. His previous film, the bril­liant but underappreciated Wide Awake (1998), had gone straight from lacklus­ter reviews to video-store oblivion, so Shymalan well-deserved the success and acclaim The Sixth Sense suddenly brought him. It made more than $250 … Read more

Seven Problems with the Jesus Seminar

The Jesus Seminar, so-called, has been running out of steam. Its two flagship projects on the words of Jesus and the deeds of Jesus recently have been completed. The chairman, Robert Funk, has great agendas for reconstructing the whole of the first five centuries of Christianity, showing that the creeds and theology of St. Paul … Read more

Funding The Jesus Seminar

When Robert Funk announced the founding of the Jesus Seminar in 1985, he made a point of saying that all its work would be above-board. “We are going to carry out our work in full public view,” the New Testament scholar told a gathering of scholars in Berkley, California. “We will not only honor the … Read more

Fashionable Fathers

Fatherhood is coming back into favor. For most of us, it never went out. However, in today’s climate of absurd perversions of biology, we can expect — and have seen in certain academic circles as, for example, Peter Singer’s Princeton — that even such natural, normal beings as fathers have been deemed unnecessary and cumbersome. … Read more

Biblical Scholarship and the Church

Biblical scholarship is usually granted instant credibility today because it is considered “scientific.” Thus, the findings of the Jesus Seminar, however ill-founded, nev­ertheless quickly become front-page news. The assumption is that “science” has once again exploded claims about the Jesus found in the New Testament and preached by the Church. On the other hand, the … Read more

Robert Funk and the Jesus Seminar

The Church canonized only four Gospels. However, Robert Funk, the leader of the Jesus Seminar, wants to add the Gospel of Thomas and the Sayings Gospel Q to our canon. This poses the question: Why did the Church canonize four Gospels and no more? The answer is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the … Read more

How Abortion has Failed Women

Many like to pretend that abortion is a matter of no grave consequence to a woman. Abortion simply removes an obstacle to the real purpose of a woman’s life, whatever she takes that purpose to be. Yet as my friend’s experience suggests, women rarely take the experience of having an abortion lightly. For most, the … Read more

Deliver Us From The Jesus Seminar

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” Sadly, P.T. Bar­num’s famous saying applies not only to the circus but also to academia. It seems that the scholars of the Jesus Seminar bank on gullibility in their efforts to spread a reconstructed Gospel that presents a Jesus to their own lik­ing. The Jesus Seminar, chaired by Robert … Read more

Domestic, but Tranquil?

Caveat lector: Domestic Tranquility is anything but a tranquil book. F. Carolyn Graglia may celebrate the virtues, satisfactions, and substantial rewards of women’s domestic roles as wife and mother, but her brief for the softer, gentler female persona is fueled by an impressively sharp lawyer’s mind that makes no concessions to the traditional womanly qualities … Read more

You’ve Gone the Wrong Way, Baby

Tobacco is dirty weed. I like it. It satisfies no normal need. I like it. It makes you thin, it makes you lean, It takes the hair right off your bean, It’s the worst darn stuff I’ve ever seen. I like it. —Published in the Penn State Froth, 1915.   The above poem, quoted by … Read more

Catholic and Apostolic

If all the converts who entered the Catholic Church were to tell about their road to Rome, it would probably appear that no two of them followed exactly the same route. It does not surprise us, having accepted the claim of the Church to be the “pillar and ground of truth,” that as many roads … Read more

First Family

One of the most durable and endearing images of my father was his figure bent over our den desk, writing weekly letters to his three sisters. Trinidad natives, they moved to the United States as young adults, losing closeness on a small island to gradual separation in a larger land. Distance, however, was only in … Read more

Nine Perversions of Multiculturalism

The fraudulence of much that currently masquerades under the name “multiculturalism” results from gross perversions of what, in 1972, I called the new ethnicity. Multiculturalism is a profound betrayal of the fundamental principles of the new ethnicity. In the current culture wars on campus, however, an explicit indictment of the perversions of multiculturalism may be … Read more

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