St. Augustine

China Is the Key to Hollywood—and Joe Biden

As expected, Hollywood is lining up to support Joe Biden with lavish fundraisers and high-profile endorsements. According to Variety, Biden’s campaign is tapping a “network of donors and fundraisers who raised millions for the Obama-Biden ticket.” Last month, film producer and co-founder and CEO of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, raised $6 million for the Biden campaign at a [...]

Against Integralism: A Thomist’s Case for Limited Government

This past March, The Atlantic published an essay by Adrian Vermeule, a Catholic professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, introducing the idea of “common-good constitutionalism” to an audience that I’m sure had never read anything quite like it. At its most basic, Professor Vermeule’s argument unfolded something like this: Human flourishing, or the “good [...]

Why Do Young People Leave the Faith?

Why do young people leave the Faith? I was asked that question the other day, and I replied, off the cuff, that it was two things: Their imaginations had not been formed by the Faith and our magnificent heritage of arts and letters, and they wanted to have sex. Most of the reasons that people [...]

Open Borders Imprison Christian Love

“Love thy neighbor” is the common refrain of many Christians who call for open borders, and though their motivations may be honest, their arguments are marked by a palpable ignorance of Christ’s words. In their eagerness to love all immigrants, they forget about the circumstances in which they live and neglect their next-door neighbor. This [...]

An Identity Crisis in the Priesthood

As a new wave of protests erupt in response to the death of Rayshard Brooks, many Catholics are finding themselves angered, frustrated, and perplexed, but not in the way that immediately comes to mind. For months, we have been told that we must be exiled from the public celebration of the Mass, and, in some [...]

Libido Diminuendi and the City of Man

“The glorious City of God is my theme in this work,” says Augustine in the opening of his masterpiece by that name, a masterpiece of theological historiography, for the pagan Romans had cried out, “The Christians have come into our inheritance!” Therefore, they said, the gods had abandoned the old and venerable city—queen of the [...]

Acton Tends to Corrupt

Lord Acton’s dictum, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” has been getting a good airing in the media lately. “Donald Trump, Absolutely Corrupted” ran an October 11 Washington Post headline, but they’re not the only ones quoting Acton as a satisfactory explanation of the President of the United States’ disturbing tendency to run [...]

Good Food is Not Enough

I was saddened by news of the death of Anthony Bourdain, reported as an apparent suicide. While I’m always surprised and saddened by news that a person has opted out of life, unfortunately our collective shock has perhaps been lessened by other high profile suicides among pop stars, and by our intuitive recognition that a [...]

St. Thomas Would Oppose Changing the Lord’s Prayer

Pope Francis' pre-Christmas call for a better translation of the Lord's Prayer was met by a number of defenses of the English translation which we all know by heart. Anthony Esolen, Lionel Yaceckzo  and Charlotte Allen, for example, have made it abundantly clear that, "and lead us not into temptation," is a correct English translation [...]

Our Pining for Home

Downtown, early morning, all alone. Ten stories up, staring across the Hudson River, at nothing. Tears filled my eyes. ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ Looking across the East River from the taxi cab window, I was rapt by the twilight skyline of Manhattan. The sight of the bejeweled city stirred memories of Gershwin melodies, gangster stories, and scenes from [...]

Demand Moral Beauty: It Is Our Birthright

One of the recurrent themes throughout St. Augustine’s Confessions is the nature of beauty and how beauty leads Augustine toward truth, goodness, and wisdom. Beauty is a gateway to truth, and no one better reflected this in his writings than Augustine. The rejection of beauty in our contemporary society, including from within the Church, has [...]

Christ and the Meaning of Authentic Humanism

I am a humanist, but not that kind of humanist. Humanism is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days—but like most terms that once had a strong philosophical foundation, humanism has been so thoroughly detached from its philosophical substance it is another empty term in public consciousness. That said, it is an [...]

Benedict Option Is Really the Augustine Option

The Benedict Option isn’t what you think it is. Adorning the cover of Rod Dreher’s much-discussed new book is what appears to be an ancient monastery, clutching a mountaintop. Below is a blue lake, cropped by scraps of land. A mist broods over it. Rising above the mist, the monastery seems aloft, almost cloud-borne, the [...]

Apologizing for Love … of Country

The stone and marble arches that dot Yale’s landscape can sometimes transport you back in time. Athens. Rome. Or even Jerusalem. Etched on the arched gates of the many residential colleges read the words, “For God, For Country, and For Yale.” It is surprising that the inscriptions still stand today. Over the past six months [...]

Re-turning to the Lord: A Call for Ad Orientem Worship

Lent is a season of conversion. During this time, it’s common to encounter readings, orations, and teachings from the saints in the Mass and the Breviary that direct us to “turn away” from sin and error and “turn to” God. An example is Joel 2:12-14, which happens to be the First Reading of the Mass [...]

Punk Rock and the Millennial Search for Meaning

Six years ago my bandmates and I sat stranded in a broken down van on the Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel. Though we were nearly 2,500 miles away from our home in Northern Nevada, we naturally assumed that this was just another small bump we would have to endure on our way to rock [...]

What is Wrong with Us? How Should Christians Respond?

It’s interesting to reflect sometimes on how humanity might remember the United States of America, centuries or millennia hence. Sometimes I think it will be remembered as a light to the nations, the proverbial City on a Hill. At other times, it seems to me that it will be remembered as a cautionary tale, proving [...]

How Christianity Civilized Mankind

Anyone who knows anything about the Judeo-Christian tradition (an increasingly small group, I know) is aware that the Hebrew law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was intended to limit the bloodthirsty drive for vengeance. As Saint Augustine observed, “For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a [...]

The One Whom Tradition Calls The Theologian

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him (Jn 1:17-18). In class the other day, sensing that the attention span of my students was about to snap, I took immediate action, and suggested a Composition of Place to try and jump-start whatever lay hidden [...]

Why Do People Do Such Barbarous Things?

Hardly a day passes when some barbarous act does not jump to the headlines. Barbarous—there is no other word to describe these vile deeds. Thus, whether it be the sadistic torturing, terrorist beheadings, mass shootings or truck ramming murder sprees (not to mention genocide and war), these acts are becoming ever more common. There is something [...]

When the Perfect Becomes the Enemy of the Good

A friend shared a story with me about shopping for a birthday present for his wife. He wasn’t sure what to buy for her. She dropped some subtle hints a few weeks before her birthday that failed to bring much clarity. Then she dropped some not so subtle hints and he ended up getting her [...]

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