T.S. Eliot

Fear God. Honor the President

In early March, several players on the World Series championship team the Washington Nationals—Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Kurt Suzuki, Patrick Corbin, and Daniel Hudson—played golf with President Trump at his private West Palm Beach resort after a morning workout at the team’s spring training facility. Unsurprisingly, the Nats players were pilloried by the President’s many [...]

‘Shall These Bones Live?’

“Remember man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.” — Genesis 3:19 Every Catholic just loves Ash Wednesday, just as every Catholic just loves Lent. Those were my thoughts as I slipped out of church, my brow smeared with that stark Catholic smudge. Passing the young priest in the vestibule where he stood [...]

Be England Thy Dowry

On November 4, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, in response to “groups of Anglicans” who had petitioned “repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately,” which created for them a new ecclesiastical structure: the Personal Ordinariates. The stated purpose of these was “to [...]

Christmas in a Cage

I had heard that this store went “all out” at Christmas, but I was still taken aback. Ten-foot-tall nutcrackers, sprawling miniature villages, plush snow unicorns, plastic pine trees encrusted with glitter and glass, jingle bell muzak at high volume, seasonally garish sweaters, gigantic drummer boys para-pum-pum-pumming, a marshmallow army of leering lawn inflatables, and a [...]

Christ in the Waste Land

Thirty-six years ago a small slim book crossed my desk at the offices of National Review in Manhattan. Its title was The Restitution of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism; its author, Michael D. Aeschliman. I slipped it into my briefcase and began reading it over a martini on the flight back to Wyoming. At home, I finished [...]

Dating in a Modern Waste Land

Facebook has just launched a new feature to “connect” us: a dating app. It was inevitable, given Facebook’s apparent desire to become a digital one-stop shop for its almost three billion users. This latest feature has drawn immediate criticism over data manipulation and hacking risks. Not only does the app play matchmaker, but users can [...]

The Future of the West: Christian or Pagan?

A friend of mine lives in one of Philadelphia’s comfortable suburbs. She and her husband are both attorneys. Both hold Ivy League degrees. Their community is nearly 90 percent white, rich in Quaker history, above average in education and income, and low in crime. People are friendly. Nights are quiet. Streets are clean and safe. [...]

Making the Case for Martyrdom

“I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”  ∼ Francis Cardinal George, OMI [...]

God is With Us

Near the end of a long and distinguished life, spanning nearly the entire nineteenth century, John Henry Cardinal Newman (declared Blessed by Pope Benedict in 2010), was asked about something he’d written. Now Newman, who was no slouch by any standard, had written a great many things, all of them of a very high order, [...]

“I Thirst”

“But suppose God didn’t quite finish by closing time of the afternoon of the sixth day? ...Suppose that Creation, the process of replacing chaos with order, were still going on. What would that mean? In the biblical metaphor of the six days of Creation, we would find ourselves somewhere in the middle of Friday afternoon. Man was just created a [...]

Seeking God in the Silence

"Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence…" ∼  T.S. Eliot, Ash-Wednesday One of the truly awful torments of modern life, from whose myriad aggressions no one is entirely safe, is noise. More and more, it fills the space that was once marked by that silence [...]

The Funeral March for Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” Those who choose repose receive release from the mandates of truth—but it is only temporary. Truth cannot be rejected forever. Those who choose truth, on the other hand, have no rest—and so they march. They march ever onward. The March [...]

The Witness of Heroism

“In my beginning is my end.”   ∼ T.S. Eliot In a passage often cited from the Pensees, which the author sets down in grim and graphic detail, Pascal summons the reader to reflect on the awful finality of death.   “The last act is bloody,” he tells us, “however fine the rest of the play. [...]

Who Needs Poetry?

What are poems for? Is there any real point in writing them? And what about us, the folks who are expected to buy all that bilge—is it quite necessary that we actually read all that bleeping poetry? Exercising his customary acuity, C.S. Lewis tells us that poems exist to remind us that water is wet [...]

The End of St. John the Baptist

 In my beginning is my end.  –T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets: “East Coker” St. John the Baptist’s origin and vocation, as recorded in the beginning of the fourth gospel, provides hints of his destiny.  In his beginning is his end. The fourth gospel declares that John’s vocation is “to bear witness” to the Messiah.  Within the [...]

Not-So Brave New World

 “This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang but a whimper.” These lines from T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” are often quoted, but seldom taken to heart.  Even those of us who consider ourselves students of Eliot’s work on civilizational decline tend to overdramatize what is really a quite tawdry cultural age. [...]

Awaiting the Fire’s Fall: Pentecost in Art & History

Not since the impacted savageries of the late 8th century, when Viking raiding parties ravaged the coast of England, can anything compare to the protracted destruction wrought by the German Air Force during the Battle of Britain.  Between September of 1940 and May of 1941, countless incendiary bombs fell upon that brave island race.  A [...]

The Cultures of Life and Death in Poetry

The Culture of Death in Poetry We are all familiar with Blessed John Paul II’s description of the Culture of Death in his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.  The good Pope, of course, was not the first to notice and give expression to this phenomenon. In 1922, T. S. Eliot released to the world his account [...]

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