Is There a Right to be Left Alone?

With respect to social/moral issues, contemporary liberalism or progressivism is flourishing in certain states, among which are California and Colorado. And under this “new federalism,” the direct governmental attempt to coerce individuals is prominent. But the Supreme Court, as set out below, has largely resisted attempts to curtail individual religious and moral liberty. And two [...]

The Desert Fathers and the Geography of the Human Heart

“The crown of the monk is humility.”  ∼ Abba Orr, Desert Father, fourth century. The Lenten season is well underway and it would be difficult to find devotional writings more aligned with the spirit of Lent than the words of the Desert Fathers. Two volumes come to mind: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, translated by [...]

Prayer Shaming: A New Front in the Culture War

A new front has opened in the Culture War. Now they are targeting prayer. The controversy was triggered by the fact that political leaders traditionally sent messages of condolences offering their “thoughts and prayers” to victims and their families. Such innocent expressions of comfort have enraged liberals who claim the idea of prayer especially in [...]

A Lion Teaches Us About Humility

It’s a small miracle, in our present moment of pronounced decline, that any new Catholic eventually arrives at the destination of robust orthodoxy, fervent spirituality, and luminous sanctity. Recent polls confirm this assertion in disclosing the widespread heterodox beliefs and practices of American Catholics: 65 percent believe that employers who have a religious objection to [...]

Balancing Humility and Ambition for the Inner Ring

In his new book How to Think, Alan Jacobs brings up a 1944 lecture by the British writer C.S. Lewis that summarizes well the state of politics three-quarters of a century later and an ocean away—not surprising perhaps, given that his observation is one that humanity has experienced for millennia. In his lecture at King’s [...]

Dignitas: The Manners of Humility

Accounts vary, and a few say that the story about our civil Founders is apocryphal, but it would seem that the story is true. As one of the more jovial national patriarchs, Gouverneur Morris, a native of New York City, but representing Pennsylvania, willingly accepted a challenge from Alexander Hamilton during the Constitutional Convention in [...]

Three Doctors’ Common Antidote to Social Media

The noted psychologist and author Dr. Leonard Sax recently visited our youngest daughter’s school for a talk with parents, focused on his recent book, The Collapse of Parenting. Sax is a leading proponent of treating boys and girls differently, and educating them separately; previous titles of his are Girls on the Edge (2005), Boys Adrift [...]

When Our Memory Fails Us

When I was a lad of about six in the early 1960s, I went with my father to see my beloved Philadelphia Phillies play. At the time, my baseball hero was center fielder Tony Gonzales. Thrilled when he hit a home run to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, I could [...]

When (Righteous) Anger is Justified

In one of my favorite Flannery O'Connor stories, Revelation, Mrs. Turpin—a very large, very cheerful, and heartily judgmental soul—amuses herself by mentally sorting people into their respective categories. She places all the people she looks down upon beneath herself and her husband, and only those who have more of what she and her husband have [...]

Humility and Hubris

Much has been written about the Pope’s humility, and he himself has often spoken about the need for humility. Yet it is possible to detect a certain amount of hubris in the positions he takes on political and scientific matters. For example, it takes a certain level of hubris for a man to take a [...]

Recalling the Central Gospel Message

I recently read an article in New York Magazine lauding Pope Francis in anticipation of his visit to the United States. Amongst the many typical inanities and ignorant statements one finds in such pieces was the following quote: “The pope’s religious message—that the Gospel should be joyful, merciful, and embrace everyone, especially the poor—is plain [...]

Should Pope Francis have Abandoned the Trappings of His Office?

Father Longenecker had an amusing blog last week, headlined “archbishops should live in palaces.” “I think the Pope should live in the Apostolic Palace,” he says, “and I think Archbishop Wilton [Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who is moving out three months after moving in] should live in his brand new $2.2m home. I think [...]

The Gift

 Show forth, we pray thee, Lord, thy power and come, and with thy great strength assist us, so that by the aid of thy grace, the work that is hindered by our sins may be hastened by thy merciful forgiveness: who art God, living and reigning with God the Father in the unity of the [...]

The Nation at Princeton’s Service

One of the many forms of self-promotion, at my old mater ferox, was a regular bulletin called “Princeton in the Nation's Service,” detailing the many ways in which Princetonians past and present were making the world a better, that is a more Princetonian, place to live.  I suspect that, after the ordinary fashion of human [...]

Pope Francis on the True Meaning of Poverty

“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!” With these words spoken after being elected pope, Jorge Bergoglio underscored a theme that continues to be front-and-center of his papacy. Not surprisingly, many have concluded such statements demonstrate that Pope Francis wants Catholics to devote greater attention to poverty-alleviation. In one sense, this is [...]

Humility: The First of the Lively Virtues

When Thomas Aquinas asked how it was that Satan believed, in his pride, that he could be like God, he denied that even the devil could be so blind as actually to believe that he could be God. For Satan understood by natural knowledge that that was impossible.