Reformation

The Cross, the Crescent, or the Swastika?

If the past month has been chaotic in America, it has seen some bloody scenes here in Europe. On the morning of October 29, a 21-year old Tunisian national entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France began knifing the three people he found there. He virtually severed the head of an elderly lady, [...]

The Bliss of Solitude

A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses, Isabel Colegate, Counterpoint Press,  320 pages, $25   When the English novelist Isabel Colegate, author of the acclaimed The Shooting Party, discovered an abandoned hermit’s cell in her garden, she restored it and thereby acquired an interest in the subject of hermits and solitaries. The result [...]

The Unhidden Faith of Lady Falkland

While plenty of scholars continue to debate Shakespeare's Catholicity (or lack thereof), there are other English Renaissance dramatists whose Catholicism is less conjectural. One such Catholic is Elizabeth Cary (Lady Falkland, officially), the first known woman to publish an original play in English with the Tragedy of Miriam the Fair Queen of Jewry in 1613. [...]

From Convent to Mosque… on Staten Island

Living through the postconciliar crisis in the Church, I've often felt I could empathize a little with those who endured the Reformation. This came home to me most vividly in 1986, when I attended my first academic conference in Maryland, on Christianity and Literature. The people from the host institution, Washington Bible College, were friendly [...]

Five Myths about Christianity, Islam, and the Middle Ages

Does Islam need a Reformation? Not unless you think it would benefit from additional dollops of Puritanism; further encouragement to smash altars, stained glass, and other forms of "idolatry"; prodding to ban riotous celebrations like Christmas and Easter; and support for fundamentalist Islamic schools that insist on sola Korana and sola Sunnah. Indeed, it would [...]

Mary as Global Icon

The historian Christopher Dawson acknowledged in a 1951 essay the difficulty in explaining the Christian view of history. For Christians, God's actual involvement in historical time through a particular Person and place is a theological principle around which secular history occurs. For people listening to the Christian message for the first Mother of God: A [...]

Why Jefferson Davis Opposed Roe v. Wade

Okay, he didn't, really, because he never had the chance -- but it's as certain as magnolia blooms in the spring that if Jefferson Davis were to rise again and take his place as the extremely senior senator from Mississippi, he would make the Senate ring with his denunciations of Roe v. Wade. In fact, [...]

Waiting for Christmas With Hilaire Belloc

For some years, I have set aside time during Advent to read Hilaire Belloc's short essay, "A Remaining Christmas." First published 80 years ago next year, it has been worth my annual rereading. It is an extended reflection on the mystery of the Incarnation and of each person's earthly journey. Even now, Belloc (1870-1953) arouses [...]

You May Remember the Reformation

  What to my wondering eyes appears on my computer screen today but a big advertisement from something called "Paula White Ministries." It has that sort of Oprah vibe to it that many non-denominational women's ministries do. Unlike the martial sense one gets from male-run Evangelical outfits that are about "Fighting for the Truth!" and [...]

England at Prayer

In The Stripping of the Altars—the single most important book in English Reformation studies in the past 50 years—Eamon Duffy demonstrates the vitality of popular religion in England in the years leading up the Reformation. Duffy's thesis, comprehensively researched and cogently argued, turned inside-out—or, more precisely, upside-down—the received opinion concerning the Reformation in England, namely, [...]

How Catholic Was Shakespeare?

Shakespeare stands as a wonderful anomaly. It could be argued that no artist in the history of the Western world enjoys both the critical and popular esteem of Shakespeare. His poems and plays continue to enchant generation after generation; his rich language saturates modern speech -- whether we realize it or not. What accounts for [...]

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