Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009

    About 25 years ago, I had the first of many dinners with the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, when he was still a Lutheran. He objected to the term "converting" for a baptized Christian who became Catholic: Rather, such a one "embraced" Catholicism. I demurred, as I thought I had converted, albeit not from … Read more

Meeting Mary

When people stop me after Mass to tell me how well-behaved they thought my children were, I usually smile and say “thank you.” I have got to stop taking credit for any of it. I recently attended a Sunday-morning Mass without my husband and without my two oldest boys. It was just me, two big … Read more

The Twilight of Clint Eastwood

During the post-Vatican II push for more “relevant” religion classes, students in my high school “Theology of the Film” course trooped off to see Dirty Harry — the 1971 drama starring Clint Eastwood as the police lieutenant who violates the law, including the torture of suspects, to protect San Franciscans from a wily serial killer. … Read more

Babies, Bandits, and Other Questionable Saints

The fifth-century Christian writer Suplicius Severus tells a story from the life of St. Martin of Tours. Upon being made bishop of that city, Martin became curious about a small roadside shrine supposedly devoted to an early Christian martyr. Wanting to know if the shrine was authentic, he asked older members of the community about … Read more

Will History Repeat Itself in Gaza?

Israel’s 13-day war in Gaza endeavors “to teach Hamas a lesson” and to defend southern Israel against its missiles. It’s highly unlikely the Israeli bombing and ground attack — which has resulted in nearly 700 dead, including 300 civilians — will achieve these objectives. Why? Because it has been tried before, and it failed. In … Read more


Recently, Rod Dreher posed a question about what a Catholic is to do when he thinks a magisterial authority has made some error of fact concerning, say, science, politics, or economics. Dreher’s post concerns the question of whether some bishops are mistaken to think morning-after pills are abortifacient, but it could just as easily pertain to … Read more

Eight Responses to the Pro-Choice Mindset

I once said that I’d die to keep abortion legal and easily accessible, and I meant it. I was vehemently pro-choice, as were most of the women in my social circles. We believed abortion was a critical right for women and could not imagine how anyone could be pro-life. We were products of a culture … Read more

Second Readings

The phrase “second reading” comes from the breviary that monks, clerics, and religious are to say daily (the laity often find it most inspiring, too). In addition to psalms, canticles, and other prayers, a “first reading” is from the Old or New Testament. The second reading is usually from a Church Father — Basil, Ambrose, … Read more

Time for Pre-Canine Counseling

My girlfriend and I are getting serious. We’ve been involved, on and off, at long and short distances, for several years and have begun to feel the tug of the inevitable — the beckoning warmth of a common hearth, the prospect of bearing each other’s burdens as helpmates, of building up together our own Domestic … Read more

Mother Seton

  In the winter of 1816, a 14-year-old Catholic girl, living with her widowed mother at Emmitsburg, Maryland, fell on the ice, breaking her hip. Inadequately cared for by the primitive medical science of her day, she suffered weeks of pain and died in her mother’s arms, having told her the day before: “I have … Read more

Catholic Feelings of Inferiority

In a recent article for InsideCatholic, I argued that churches that turn toward theological liberalism soon begin going downhill in terms of their membership. As these churches adhere to less and less of traditional Christian doctrine and morality, their membership shrinks. For a church to become theologically liberal is to opt for institutional suicide, or … Read more

The No Blame Game

In this classic Crisis Magazine article, Stephen Baskerville argues that no-fault divorce is Western civilization’s most disasterous social experiment. America is in revolt over marriage. Some 30 states have now passed amendments to protect the definition of marriage, and more will follow. Same-sex marriage has also shaken the decades-long loyalty of African-Americans to the Democratic … Read more

A Christmas Pilgrimage

Our Christmas tree still blinks in the window, though most of our neighbors have taken down all signs of Christmas. Our nativity remains on the front lawn, too, and will until after the Feast of the Epiphany. Each year it seems we struggle harder to “keep Christmas” amid the marketeering that now characterizes what most … Read more

My New Year’s Wish for the Church

In the twenty-five years since I became a Catholic, I have continuously wondered why there is so little evangelism. I speak of the Church in this country, of course, though the observation would apply to Europe as well. I think I have finally located one source of the problem. My New Year’s wish for the … Read more

A Church of Memory

“He has remembered His promise of mercy,” sang Mary, in a rapture of praise as she greeted her cousin Elizabeth, “the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever” (Lk 1:54-55). “Remember me, Lord,” said the thief to Jesus, “when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). God sees all things … Read more

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