St. Thomas Aquinas

The Harrowing of Hell

The second reading from the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday is taken from an ancient homily on Christ’s descent into hell.  It begins: “Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.”  The King fell asleep when [...]

Thomas Aquinas: Child of Christ

There are a great many saints who will never be known on this side of God’s grace, whose lives merited heavenly bliss but not the history books. This host of secret saints represents the central secret of what it means to be a saint: who a person is is more important than what a person [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life: A Reply to Critics

In my December 31, 2013 Crisis article, Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism, I argued that the decimation of American religious orders is partly self-inflicted.  Vocations directors, counselors, and authors make two mistakes: 1) they treat life in the world and the religious life as if they were equally effective means to growth [...]

Catholicism, Islam, and the Perils of Arguing from Authority

Like many Americans, I didn’t know much about Islam before the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. And, to tell the truth, even after 9/11 I wasn’t inclined to look too deeply into the matter. The events of 9/11, disturbing as they were, were not quite enough to overcome a certain inertia in me. [...]

Creation: A Glimpse of the Divine

I don’t want to brag, but for a writer I have a pretty amazing office. Sitting back in my comfy, adjustable chair, I am surrounded on all sides by windows. Of course I have personalized temperature controls, sound system, and a convenient spot for my beverage. Best of all, the scenery is regularly changing, as [...]

Common Core Education vs. Classical Education: A Thomistic Approach

 WHETHER COMMON CORE EDUCATION IS CONTRARY TO CLASSICAL EDUCATION Objection 1. It would seem that the Common Core State Standards Initiative is not contrary to classical education. For, as the classical education movement is aimed at broad-based learning, Common Core education provides standards that are broadly applied across the country to prepare students with twenty-first [...]

Marijuana Legalization: What Would Aquinas Really Say?

David Freddoso recently asked the question: “What Would Aquinas Say about Legalizing Weed?” In particular he argues against what he considers to be a specious argument from David Brooks that legalizing marijuana is akin to endorsing it. In his piece, “Weed: Been There. Done That” Brooks notes: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of [...]

Let Us Not Forget the Wonder of Creation

In his fantastical account of “The Unthinkable Theory of Professor Green,” G.K. Chesterton invites us to imagine an astronomer regaling his audience in great and gorgeous detail about a strange new planet he’s just discovered.  Only gradually do we realize that this utterly amazing place is in fact our very own world, replete with wonders [...]

The Literacy Crisis in American Public Schools

The bumper sticker that reads "If you can read this, thank a teacher,"  implies several bold propositions: If you can read this, then you are literate. If you are literate, then the efficient cause of your literacy is a teacher. Therefore, since you are literate because of a teacher, you ought to thank a teacher. [...]

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