beauty

What Is Beauty and Why Do We Need It?

Let us suppose there is such a thing as objective beauty. Suppose, along with the classical and Christian traditions, that the human person is made for beauty. Now suppose further that beauty is a kind of composite, that the beautiful is made up of two parts, one metaphysical and the other psychological. If such were … Read more

We Have a Better Story

There was a time when it was nigh impossible not to believe in God—not because of man’s irrational superstitions, as atheist popularizers tell it, but because of nature’s rational design. To early thinkers, the intelligibility of nature pointed to an ineluctable fact: a prime, non-contingent source of reality (i.e., the uncaused Cause, the One, Apeiron, … Read more

God and Mass at Yale

“For God, For Country, and for Yale.” This phrase is etched into the stone arches that dot the landscape of Yale University. Yale, though founded by the Puritans for the purpose of missionary training, Christian education, and familiarity with the humanities and Biblical languages, has fallen far away from its original mission. This is nothing … Read more

Restore Liturgical Beauty with Chant and Polyphony

The tragedy of the loss of beauty in liturgy is not something which we should dismiss lightly, for if there is one thing we can glean from Scripture, and from the Church’s two millennia of Tradition, it is that we should offer the very best to God in our worship of him; yet what we … Read more

Beauty Is At the Heart of True Conservatism

What is the point of contemporary conservatism? Whatever one thinks of the victory of Donald Trump to the presidency, he is not a conservative of any expected kind. But he has thrown the various strands of conservatism into disarray and has caused a remarkable level of self-reflection and self-criticism. And his administration has opened up … Read more

Demand Moral Beauty: It Is Our Birthright

One of the recurrent themes throughout St. Augustine’s Confessions is the nature of beauty and how beauty leads Augustine toward truth, goodness, and wisdom. Beauty is a gateway to truth, and no one better reflected this in his writings than Augustine. The rejection of beauty in our contemporary society, including from within the Church, has … Read more

A Defense of Beauty and Excellence from the Classical Tradition

There are many serious problems facing moderns, but one of the most troubling—and worrying—is the loss and degradation of beauty, not just in the arts, but in society as a whole. Classical Greek philosophy, to which Catholic philosophy largely inherited and preserved, maintained that beauty and morality were intertwined with one another. When Christianity began … Read more

The Body Beautiful and the Assumption of Mary

The age of the “body beautiful” will now become the age of the Assumption.  ∼ Ven. Fulton Sheen “I am empowered by my body,” Kim Kardashian declared back on International Women’s Day, voicing triumph in an infamous nude selfie. In a society that worships the brazen sensuality of the body beautiful while eviscerating any link between … Read more

Why the World Fears Beauty

I have always wondered why people enjoy scaring themselves, intentionally. Around Halloween, for instance, entertainment-seekers spend good money to have someone frighten them—perhaps by watching a horror movie, or at one of those warehouses filled with demented decorations and actors hired to dress up in hideous disguises and jump out from hidden places to frighten … Read more

The Role of Beauty in the Formation of Men as Men

Once upon a time in the Western world, exposure to “the beautiful” was an important element in the development and formation of men. The ideal man was also an educated man, and an educated man knew something about, and appreciated, good art, good music, good literature, and good taste (and perhaps also good wine). The … Read more

Is Ugly the New Beautiful?

Summer has become a season of strange and stark irony. While it brings forth the beauty of the world, it also brings forth the ugliness of the age. The warmth and light are invariably attended by trashy fashion and tattooed flesh. These dog-days, there is hardly a street or a store without people who appear … Read more

What is Civilization?

Is civilization worth defending? Should we aim to conform to it so that we can be considered civilized? Should we aim to bring our children up according to its norms so that they can also be considered civilized? Should we try to make our country and our world as civilized as possible? The chances are … Read more

Beauty is for the Poor, Too

“How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your … Read more

Pop Music as a Bridge to God?: Engaging Christopher West

 On the one hand, there is pop music … aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. “Rock,” on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, … Read more

Benedict XVI and the Way of Beauty

 Something unusual is revealed here as well: the house of God is the true house of humans.  It becomes the house of humans even more the less it tries to be this and the more it is simply put up for him.  — Pope Benedict XVI In modern memory, has there been a Pope who … Read more

The Black-and-White Pope

A few days ago we all had a shocking surprise as a Latin American, Jesuit archbishop emerged onto the loggia of St. Peter’s to the general joy of the Catholic world.  The rejoicing was widespread, but not universal, with some expressing misgivings.  These are clearly natural reactions, to be expected in any election, sacred or … Read more

Building the New Rome

In 2005 I spent three months in Rome. In some ways I have never left. Perhaps it sounds like a commonplace to say that I “left part of myself” in the Eternal City. But the fact is, I did. I returned to Rome once more, in the spring of 2007, when I proposed to my … Read more

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