Is America Bourgeois?

In an interview this past April with Lucio Brunelli of the Italian Catholic magazine 30 Giorni, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger described dissent among American Catholic moral theologians as the expression of a more pernicious disorder: a “bourgeois Christianity in which Christianity is no longer a spur toward new responses and new hope in the face of [...]

Our Tradition: The Untimid Voice of Orestes Brownson

One Friday night in 1845, less than a year after his conversion to Catholicism, Orestes Brownson was spending the evening in a small public inn near the center of Andover, Massachusetts. For the last thirty-seven years Andover had been the home of the Congregationalist seminary known as the “West Point of Orthodoxy.” Founded by Jedidiah [...]

The Cross and the Flag

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals," said Chesterton. "The real American is all right: it is the ideal American who is all wrong." Was that just another of his famous paradoxes? After all, ideals are usually held in high esteem, even while we regret people's failure to live up to them in [...]

In View

Sanctuary Support On May 1, Sister Darlene Nicgorski, a School Sister of St. Francis, was convicted of smuggling illegal aliens to sanctuary in this country. (Several other sanctuary workers, including two priests, were found guilty in the same case.) On May 2, Sister Darlene held a press conference in New York, re-affirming her dedication to [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

A new "crisis" now grips American Catholics. The popular professor of moral theology at Catholic University, one of the most esteemed in the United States, the Reverend Charles Curran, has been informed that Pope John Paul II rejects some of his approaches to questions of sexual ethics. The Vatican has specifically cited some of Father Curran's [...]

Our Tradition: The Restless Soul of Thomas Merton

In his early years as a monk, Thomas Merton tried determinedly to give up writing, convinced that it was a worldly occupation and hence incompatible with his monastic vocation. He met determined opposition in this effort, opposition incongruously provided by his religious superiors. Their argument — that Merton should consider writing as part of his [...]

Observations: A Day in the Decline of America

There are days when I find myself imagining a 1 historian in some future century writing an account of "The Decline and Fall Of the United States" similar to the book Edward Gibbon produced in the 18th century about ancient Rome. One of those days was Thursday, March 20, 1986, when the City Council of [...]

The Last Word: Settling In

The phone call took place only a few weeks ago; it is still fresh in my memory. Would I be interested in moving from Washington to South Bend, to become editor of Catholicism in Crisis? Yes, I would; and here I am. To establish a successful new magazine requires vision, energy, courage, and persistence. Ralph [...]

Quodlibets: The Importance of Being Frank

Of the many things that might be said of Wilfrid Sheed's memoir of his parents, Maisie Ward and Frank Sheed, some of them favorable, it is the contrast it affords between the Catholicism of the parents and the outlook of the son that I wish to reflect on here. I don't mean to suggest that [...]

Common Wisdom: In Search of Liberal Education

Our family has taken up a new pastime — the search for a college. As our oldest child prepares for college, we have recently completed a series of tours of the schools on our son's "list." We covered some ten schools, colleges with beautiful campuses, no campuses, and in-between cam­puses. Three were Catholic schools; the [...]

Illusions and Realities: The Republicans and the Homeless

On television overseas, hundreds of millions see aimless, V passive homeless persons in the cities of the United States. This shocking scene is shown over and over again. How can this happen in the glittering media world of "Emmy" and "Oscar" awards? How can it happen on streets surrounding the White House? These images deeply [...]

Bishops in the Dark

After several decades of issuing ecclesiastical proclamations such as "Field Education in the Catholic Seminary," "The Homily and the Sunday Assembly," and "Liturgical Music Today," the American Catholic bishops have chosen to enter the public policy arena, with two pastoral letters which challenge the basic tenets of U.S. defense and economic policy. The letter on [...]

A Pol Pot Future For the Philippines?

Not much notice was taken recently when Lon Nol died his second death — the real death, the physical one. On the other hand, a lot of attention was paid 10 years ago when he died his first death — the political one, the one that resulted in the transformation of the country then known [...]

Observations: Bishop Bashing

While we're all waiting for the Department of Defense to come out with a pastoral letter on the NCCB, perhaps we can investigate why the bishops of this country vote on policy papers without either education or staff preparation for the vote. That NCCB meetings are beginning to seem like sessions of Congress is upsetting [...]

Repaying a Debt: The Educational Achievement of Asian-Americans

Editor's Note: The address which follows was given by Secretary of Education William J. Bennett on October 22 to the Vietnamese League of Orange County, California. Acknowledging the impressive educational achievements of a new generation of Asian-American immigrants to the United States—and in particular the refugees from Vietnam—Dr. Bennett emphasized the crucial importance of the [...]

USCC Watch: Cherchez le Secretaire

As regular readers know, USCC Watch believes that the USCC staff exercises an enormous influence over the bishops' public statements. So when a controversial statement appears, USCC Watch shouts "Cherchez le secretaire," and compares the statement with the known sympathies of the relevant staff member(s). Approaching the USCC from that angle, I have often wondered [...]

Observations: Other Voices

Censorship by left-oriented editors is becoming an unfortunate reality in the American book market. A recent example that comes to mind is the wall of silence surrounding the work of Kingsley Amis. Amis wrote a brilliant dystopian novel, Russian Hide and Seek, in 1980, three paperback editions of which were sold out in Penguin in [...]

Editorial: The Fraud That Failed

Nobody has noticed, but the "Sanctuary movement," after more than three years of frenetic and deceptive organizing, isn't going anywhere. There are 339,843 churches and synagogues in the U.S. Of these, only 253 have offered "sanctuary." The chief reason is the fraud on which the movement is based. At great expense, with careful screening, and [...]