What Is ‘Roman Catholic Political Philosophy’?

A course in "Roman Catholic Political Philosophy" is rarely found in any academic institution, including those sponsored by the Church. We do find courses titled "Religion and Politics," "Social Doctrine of the Church," or "Church and State" -- but "Roman Catholic Political Philosophy" is something different. Going back to Plato, it is common to find [...]

Just In Case

The last thing I wanted to do on a Saturday morning was discuss my husband’s death with 20 women. Not that he had died; neither had theirs. But, encouraged by him, I signed up for a workshop on what to do if suddenly widowed. Leading this sobering examination was a woman whose fate had been [...]

“To banish war, he must a warrior be”

In honor of today's commemoration, a few words from Joyce Kilmer, the Catholic poet who lost his life in the very war whose conclusion became the historical basis for Veteran's Day: The Peacemaker Upon his will he binds a radiant chain, For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free. It is his task, the slave [...]

In the Company of Saints and Sinners

I was a teenager when he died. We went to visit him one last time when I was about 14 years old. Nobody said it was "one last time" -- not to me, anyway. They said we would be taking some short trips to Canada -- just a few of us kids at a time [...]

In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

Media vita in morte sumus -- in the midst of life we are in death. This antiphon is attributed to the Benedictine monk Notker I of Saint Gall, who died in 912. Legend has it that the musician and poet wrote it when he saw construction workers building a bridge hover over an abyss. Most [...]

Peaceful Kashmiri Muslims respond to Koran desecration by burning down a Christian school

This was as predictable as the sunrise: At least 13 protesters died Monday when Indian police clashed with tens of thousands of Kashmiris who took to the streets and torched a Christian missionary school in demonstrations fueled by reports of Quran burnings in the United States…. Agence France-Presse reports that the protests began after video [...]

Grave Matters: Life and Death as a Mortician

Steve Schroeder parks in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. As he climbs up the front steps, his pin-striped suit flows comfortably over him as though he were shaped to it. From polished shoes to teeth, his appearance is sharp, meticulous.So it's jarring when the first person who [...]

Death on a Thursday afternoon

Over on the Touchstone blog, Russell Moore has an interesting post about "Cremation and a New Kind of Christianity." Citing Diarmaid MacCulloch's new book, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, Moore notes that one of the greatest cultural shifts in the Church over the last century has been the overwhelming acceptance of cremation, when from its very [...]

Three Pastors: Life, Death, and Religion in Muslim Iran

In November 1993, not far from ancient Babylon, where Daniel was thrown into the lions' den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pitched into Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, the Rev. Mehdi Dibaj huddled in a Mazandaran Province prison cell praying about how he could defend himself from capital charges. A compactly built 60-year-old man, his short, [...]

The InsideCatholic Summer Reading List 2009

  Summer is in full wilt, and that means it's time for the InsideCatholic Summer Reading List. We've asked bloggers, staff, and writers to suggest a few titles they've recently enjoyed. They've obliged.   Have a look at the list -- you'll find something for every interest -- and then add your own recommendations in [...]

The Basement of the Culture of Death

    With a pro-abortion president in the White House, new sub-groups in the broader "culture of death" are coming into view. One of them is dark, indeed.   Take two recent events: Dr. George Tiller is compared to Martin Luther King, Jr. The president of Catholics for Choice attacks a political appointee, Alexia Kelley, [...]

Envy: I See You in Hell

  This week I'm wrapping up my sympathetic look at the Seven Deadly Sins, from the viewpoint of fallen man who's not really eager to climb back up. If zealous Christians can aptly be termed by theologians "Weebles" -- "These souls wobble but they don't fall down!" -- the much more numerous people for whom [...]

The Voice of Twentieth-Century Catholicism

Since the death of J. F. Powers in 1999, admiring reviewers (all of his reviewers have been admiring) have mourned not only his death, but the general obscurity of his novels and stories. Although his first novel, Morte D'Urban, won the 1963 National Book Award -- over the more familiar names of John Updike, Katherine [...]

Death and Punishment

I must have been three or four years old when I was first acquainted with death. My parents had a summer home at the Belgian seashore; enchanted as I was by the dunes and the wild flowers, I was roaming about when, to my delight, I found a bird's nest hidden in a bush. The [...]

A Pattern, Somewhere

Here's some advice for anyone starting a job as literary editor for a Catholic online journal: For your first book review, avoid novels whose central character is an atheist lesbian who fights to adopt a child and who eventually commits suicide.   Here's some advice for anyone starting a job as literary editor for a [...]

Peace Research

In Plato's Republic, soldiers are called "watchdogs." The military guardians are necessary either to protect one's city from greedy neighbors or, if the city is itself undisciplined, to assist in conquering the land or goods that are wanted or needed. The watchdog is seen to be someone who attacks an enemy but who is friendly [...]

Culture of Divorce, Culture of Death

"Come sit over here," my wife whispered to me. "Let's give Dad a chance to be alone with her." It was a quiet room in a hospice, the only sounds the muffled pumping of oxygen, and the softer and slower breathing of my mother-in-law, Esther, as she lay a few hours before her death. Her [...]

The Zeal of a Convert

Ramesh Ponnuru, an honoree at the Morley Institute's 25th Anniversary Partnership Dinner, offered remarks at the event on his search for truth and the defense of life. * * * It is generous of you to recognize me since I have been a Catholic in public life for such a short period of time. My [...]

Why I Am a Catholic Republican

I'm not a Republican because I think Republicans are fun or especially good company. If I were looking for sociality or cordiality in my political party, I would look elsewhere.  I would also look elsewhere if the GOP ever turned its back on the issues that brought me into its fold in the first place: [...]

Exposing the Death Dealers

In his first book, The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life, National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru fills a gap, providing the first general overview of life issues written for a popular audience in the last 20 years. It's a badly needed effort, for the situation has [...]