society

The Contradictions of Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Moving from political obscurity as the gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to the media’s flavor-of-the-month Democratic presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced last week that his campaign has raised over $7 million since launching his exploratory committee in January. “Mayor Pete,” as he has asked his constituents to call him, is the first of [...]

Soberheroes: A Critical Look at Modern Mythology

Comic book heroes have recently become less comic—which is of both cultural and Christian concern. After the brooding superhero films of the last few years, many are asking the question made famous by the late Heath Ledger’s truly menacing, anything-but-funny Joker: “Why so serious?” The motivation behind this trend—largely spearheaded by Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy [...]

Dewey or Don’t We? Why Our Kids are Messed Up

“Personally, I’d prefer a kinder, gentler set of relationships: more like the give-and-take of an elegant dance than the rough-and-tumble of the full-contact sport that is the modern hook-up culture.  For that to happen, however, parents would have to remember that teaching their children how to dance, how to date, and how to court and [...]

The Obesity of Eros

Among the furrow browed and the gravely concerned, particularly those not tipping the scales beyond the approved standard, obesity is the current social chancre crying out for their enlightened solutions. But for the enlightened, though less than corpulent, to isolate obesity and to castigate those who eat too much is pure hypocrisy in a society [...]

Another way to occupy Wall Street

How about a movement of moral reform? Or as my friend Lydia Fisher puts it, how about a financial dissident movement? Challenging the establishment is as old as history. Sometimes going out directly to the public is the avenue needed to have one’s voice truly heard. The collapse of the former Soviet Union was sparked [...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part One: The State against the Family

When they were casting for the old western The Rifleman, one small boy was brought into the room after another, to meet the star Chuck Connors and the director.  Then young Johnny Crawford came in, a little gangly in the arms and legs, with tousled hair and large brown eyes.  “That’s the son of Lucas [...]

Can the Soviet Union Be Reformed? An Interview with Vladimir Bukovsky

George Urban: Soviet man! This is a hoary topic, but for me it has a continuing fascination because it is the key to the question, "is there such a thing as 'socialism' or 'communism' in the USSR?" You say in your book that the concept of Soviet Man was the starting point for all the [...]

Pluralism, Religious Belief, and Civic Virtue: How to Reopen the American Mind

Everyone is reading Allan Bloom. It is not necessary these days even to mention the title of his number one best-seller, The Closing of the American Mind. Simply mention Bloom's name and somebody else is also reading his book. That this book has become a best-seller is no surprise. No one who reads it comes [...]

The Last Word: Living By Our Wits

Among several of my friends, Sheldon Vanauken's essay on capital punishment in our September issue ["The Death Penalty: What Should Be the Christian Attitude?"] has stimulated some sharp and passionate comments. This is as it should be. For — let's be blunt — we are talking about deliberately putting human beings to death. Is that [...]

The Death Penalty What Should Be the Christian Attitude?

And may God have mercy on your soul. The judge's face is quiet and stern as his level voice ceases. Death. The words hang in the air. The courtroom is hushed. Dust motes dance in a bar of sunlight. The jury look down at their laps. A gray-haired woman weeps silently. Somewhere in the distance [...]

Sense and Nonsense: The Tracts on Tyranny

During last spring's academic semester, I taught a course in Classical Political Thought. One of the texts we used in this course was Leo Strauss's On Tyranny, which is based on Xeneophon's Hiero. The classical treatments of tyranny, of course, are in Plato and Aristotle, but Xenephon is also of great value, especially in the [...]

Religion and the First Amendment: How the Supreme Court Has Misinterpreted the Constitution

That God is being removed more and more from the public forum is not simply a matter of chance. It is part of the secularization process going on in our society. While this process has been underway at least since the dawn of the modern era, it is being especially abetted today by a philosophical [...]

Lost Horizons at Maryknoll

At Maryknoll, they’re walkin’ the walk and talkin’ the talk. But where will it all end? When Paul D’Arcy entered Maryknoll in 1937, he wanted to convert pagans to Christ. “It was a totally different mindset,” mused D’Arcy, now laicized and a New York psychologist. Before the Second Vatican Council’s decrees wrought a change in [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

As I have had some experience this last year with organizing lay participation on an international level in preparation for the coming Synod, I shall center my brief remarks on that aspect of the whole vast set of issues of fostering a better level of lay participation. Last November I was invited to participate in [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

Changes in the role of the laity in the Catholic Church over the next twenty-five years are difficult to project in particulars; general and substantive changes are not likely to be significantly different from changes that have taken place in the last twenty-five years. Those changes have been minimal in contrast with changes in the [...]

Documentation: America, the World, and Our Schools

Does the larger world have a place in American education, in education for democratic citizenship? I believe that it does. In fact, it always has. To cite a great 19th-century educator by the name of Abraham Lincoln, every American's schooling should equip him "to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which [...]

Our Tradition: Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind

The question of the bourgeois involves a real issue which Christians cannot afford to shirk. For it is difficult to deny that there is a fundamental disharmony between bourgeois and Christian civilization and between the mind of the bourgeois and the mind of Christ. But first let us admit that it is no use hunting [...]

The Believer As Citizen: How To Link Faith and Politics

Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, in the October 18 issue of America, has published a piece entitled "The Church in Worldly Affairs: Tensions Between Laity and Clergy." Much popular press reaction has linked that essay to a "progressive" vs. "conservative" ecclesiological conflict within Church leadership. That is understandable enough, for Archbishop Weakland seems clearly to [...]

Common Wisdom: Tribute to a Lady

In fact it was a Christmas card that delivered her searing message. Under the words of holiday cheer she penned a few breezy lines, the last of which was, "Guess what? I have cancer, darn it!" Confronted with a terrifying diagnosis she was seized by neither despair nor self pity but exasperation. Cancer was a [...]

Sense and Nonsense: Augustine For the Ages

Book III, Chapter 7 of St. Augustine's Confessions is entitled, marvelously: He Deplores His Wretchedness, That Having Been Born Thirty-Two Years, He Had Not Yet Found Out The Truth. In a culture whose public (oftentimes even ecclesiastical) doctrine, is theoretical "pluralism" — that is, that there is no "truth" but one's own private feelings — [...]

Pity the “Poor” Middle Class

Last August, U.S. News and World Report published a cover story which would undoubtedly flabbergast most of the world, and should certainly appall anybody who takes Christianity seriously. The theme of the article, entitled "Middle-Class Squeeze," is the sad tale of the contemporary middle class, which is said to be having a very rough time [...]

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