Sense and Nonsense: Gnostic Catholicism

Eric Voegelin's thesis that Gnostic ideology is dominant in the modern mind, including the religious mind, because of the weakness of Christian faith, has been much on my mind of late. In a sense, nothing is more curious than the susceptibility of apparently free, intelligent Christians to ideologies, which have parodied or replaced Christianity, even [...]

Fear and Loathing in Nicaragua: Where Squalor and Terror Work Hand In Hand

Managua, November 2-5. Peeling paint; warped plywood; shantytowns; rationed water; walls smeared with graffiti; unrelieved shabbiness. At night only a few streetlights poke themselves into the darkness; they too are rationed. Police kiosks, mounted on cement tripods, are falling over into street intersections they are meant to control — an engineering miscalculation. In response to [...]

Summum Ius, Summa Iniuria: When Does Law Distort Justice?

Your excellency, my brother priests and fellow religious, distinguished lawyers, and all my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have gathered at this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in order to ask the Holy Spirit to bless and guide these, our fellow Catholics, whose vineyard is the law. This noble profession is no mean apostolic [...]

Betraying the Bishops: “Official” Interpreters are Abusing the Peace Pastoral

In June 1983, when they published their pastoral letter on war and peace, the American bishops had two purposes: to help the formation of in­dividual consciences, and to offer moral guidance in a public policy debate. To accomplish these tasks, the bishops insisted that the pastoral letter be used in its entirety, as a guide. [...]

Sense and Nonsense: Humanism and Historicism

In Rome, on November 9, 1985, John Paul II addressed the sundry presidents and rectors of Jesuit colleges and universities in the world. (L'Osservatore Romano, English, Dec. 2, 1985.) The Pope began by praising university work and expressed his gratification for those who engage in it. He noted the special relationship that historically has existed [...]

Marriage — the Mystery of Faithful Love: Von Hildebrand’s Thought Revisited

Some years ago, when I sat on the Board of Regents of a well-known Catholic women’s' college, the question of parietals, and more generally of a moral code suitable to the student body, was regularly brought before the board. After one of these sessions, one of my fellow regents, the president of another women’s' college and [...]

Observations: At the Movies

There are a lot of first-run movies in my bottleneck of the woods these days—New York City—and three deal with questions regarding women and women's roles, about sex and sexuality, and, in large or small measure, with religion. One of them is being picketed, one is being applauded, and one is being ignored. The pickets [...]

Film: The State As Traitor

Plenty. Written by David Hare. Directed by Fred Schepisi. 20th Century Fox. There are traitors and then there are traitors. Some people sell state secrets and wind up in prison or in comfortable dachas a few versts outside Moscow. Others play false with clients, friends or lovers, and end their days in lonely places screaming [...]