Earthly Powers

Anniversary Reflections on the Last Days of King Louis XVI

Early on the morning of January 21, 1793, King Louis XVI heard his last Mass. Following Mass, the king was taken from his prison to the Palace Louis XV, where he would suffer the same fate on the same date as Agnes of Rome, the ancient martyr commemorated in the Mass of the day. This [...]

When Teaching Truth Stops Being a Church Priority

Basic issues have basic importance. Does God exist? If he does, what is he like? If he doesn’t, can an objective moral order survive his absence? It seems obvious that such questions are crucial to all aspects of life, including our life together in society. That conclusion has inconvenient implications. Christian societies, Muslim societies, and [...]

The ‘Rhetoric of Rant’ and Religious Controversy

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) was a scandalous bishop, adroit foreign minister, and quintessential survivor who served the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the restored Bourbon monarchy with equally cold-blooded skill. Slippery character though he was, however, Talleyrand also was a wit. In Earthly Powers, his valuable history of the interaction between religion and politics in [...]

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