An Open Letter to My Friends in Poland

A son of Poland is now Blessed John Paul II. What is Poland to do now? If a friend might offer a suggestion: The Church in Poland should start looking forward rather than backward. Ever since the late pope’s death in 2005, the Polish Church seems to have been looking over its shoulder at the [...]

Remembering Pope John Paul II

Strange as it may seem, I've been vaguely worried about the beatification on May 1 of a man with whom I was in close conversation for over a decade and to the writing of whose biography I dedicated 15 years of my own life. My worries don't have to do with allegations of a "rushed" [...]

Fun with stereotypes

Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov is getting lots of attention for his "Mapping Stereotypes" project -- various maps of Europe according to different countries' real feelings about their neighbors. Here's Europe according to the U.S.: Seems about right: What else is Ireland good for if not giving us St. Patrick? (Guinness, maybe.) And the further east [...]

1942: State Absolutism

St. Thomas More said that to be a Christian, we must not only believe the Resurrection, we must continually be surprised by it. That saint, surprised daily by the empty tomb, saw what happens when people are not even surprised by God. The reinvented government that sentenced More to death was, from various angles, a [...]

Another Polish Tragedy

  The nation of Poland is still in shock over the plane crash that killed 97 people, including President Lech Kaczynski, first lady Maria Kaczynska, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, the head of the National Security Office, the deputy Parliament speaker, the Olympic Committee head, two presidential aides, several priests, and 17 [...]

John Paul II and the value of suffering

Hoo boy. This story is just tailor-made for breathless secular reporting: Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the "postulator" for Pope John Paul II's cause for sainthood, has published a book titled Why He's a Saint that claims, among other things, that the former pope practiced self-flagellation: In the book, Oder wrote that John Paul frequently denied himself [...]

1942: Just Because You’re Paranoid

   A September article in De Misthoorn, a Dutch Nazi Journal, scorned plutocracy as an enemy of National Socialism. The Nazi Party, representing the socialism of the masses, declared itself more hostile to capitalism than to Marxism, because the latter was based on "sounder principles." Nonetheless, Bolshevism in the Soviet Union was collapsing under the [...]

1942: An Ugly Amount of Success

  My files from 1942 have some obituaries of English Catholics, beginning with the death on July 10 of Lieutenant-General Sir George Macdonogh, G.B.E., K.C.B., K.C.M.G. At the age of 77, his life spanned the Second Afghan War, the Zulu War, the Boer War, and two World Wars. As the chief architect of modern military [...]

The Presidential Debate

InsideCatholic is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but I write from Oxford, Mississippi. Oxford has a population of about 14,000, which approximately doubles when the University of Mississippi students are in town. So, as you might imagine, the presidential debate here at Ole Miss tonight -- assuming it comes off -- is a big deal. The [...]

No Lasting City: On Memory and Regret

  Regrets? I've had more than a few.   Stubborn vignettes cling inexplicably to the crags of my memory. There was the time in fifth grade when Heide, the prettiest girl in school, approached me in the lunch line, held up a quarter, and asked if I wouldn't mind buying her a pretzel. I proved [...]