Orestes Brownson

The Case of Trump v. Rainbow Mafia

Mark Joseph Stern, the resident LGBT scold at Slate magazine, is having a hissy fit over pronouns. Stern complains that a “transgender” pedophile in federal custody was not allowed to be called by his preferred pronouns. The case revolves around a man named Norman Varner, who, in 2012, was found to have sexual images of [...]

Orestes Brownson: Orthodox Radical

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the January 1991 print edition of Crisis Magazine. Nothing is deader than dead politics, we have been told. Why, then, revive the political essays of the philosopher, polemicist, and Catholic publicist Orestes Brownson (1803-1897)? Because the questions raised by Brownson confront us still. The “American Idea,” much discussed [...]

Seeking the Truth with Orestes Brownson

Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., among others, thought highly of Orestes Brownson—indeed, Russell Kirk, who led the Brownson revival in the last century, placed him “in the first rank of American men of ideas,” and his work is of more than historical interest. Reflections on American society as good as Tocqueville? Check. Addressing a devastating critique [...]

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation

Not all religious people are conservatives; and not all conservatives are religious people. Christianity prescribes no especial form of politics. There have been famous radicals who were devout Christians—though most radicals have been nothing of the sort. All the same, there could be no conservatism without a religious foundation, and it is conservative people, by [...]

Orestes Brownson and Territorial Democracy

"The thesis we propose to maintain is, therefore, that without the Roman Catholic religion it is impossible to preserve a democratic government, and secure its free, orderly, and wholesome action." Orestes Brownson wrote these words in an 1845 essay titled "Catholicity Necessary to Sustain Popular Liberty." It is impossible to imagine anyone saying these words [...]

The Frustrated Constitution

An original copy of the United States Constitution is on display in the rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, it rests in a preservative display case filled with argon. When the building closes for the night, the case moves onto a conveyance system [...]

The Weathercock and the Mystic: The Prophetic Friendship of Orestes Brownson and Isaac Hecker

  Except for a few saints and possibly a handful of bishops, Orestes Brownson and Isaac Hecker were the two most interesting American Catholics of the 19th century. They were certainly the most intellectually interesting and, in the long run, the most influential. The matters they agreed on, and especially those they disagreed on, are [...]

Our Tradition: The Untimid Voice of Orestes Brownson

One Friday night in 1845, less than a year after his conversion to Catholicism, Orestes Brownson was spending the evening in a small public inn near the center of Andover, Massachusetts. For the last thirty-seven years Andover had been the home of the Congregationalist seminary known as the “West Point of Orthodoxy.” Founded by Jedidiah [...]

The Present Crisis

THOSE OF US who planned this new journal did so under the working title Catholicism in Crisis. We did so with the example of Reinhold Niebuhr vividly in mind, who on February 10, 1941, under analogous circumstances, finding existing periodicals inhospitable, launched Christianity and Crisis. There were many crises in 1941, Niebuhr wrote, but only one the crisis the intention [...]

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