Charlotte Allen

recent articles

Brass Tacks: Fertility Crackdown

This past June, we at Crisis published a funny and affecting essay by Mary Walsh (see her review, “Beads of Power,” in this issue on page 49), whose acquaintances couldn’t stop twitting her and her husband for daring to have six children. We gave Walsh’s essay a humorous title: “Wanted by the Fertility Police?’ Recently, … Read more

Brass Tacks: Content-Free Catholicism

A new academic year is beginning, and Trinity College in Washington, D.C., the nation’s oldest Catholic institution of higher learning for women, is looking good—at least on the outside. Like most other Catholic women’s colleges, Trinity went through a long cycle of hard times starting in the late 1960s, when single-sex education went out of … Read more

Brass Tacks: Martyr’s Day

This August marks the 58th anniversary of the execution of Franz Jägerstätter, the only man in his Austrian village to vote in 1938 against the unifying of his country with Hitler’s Germany. Five years later, on August 9, 1943, Jägerstätter, who was also the only man in his village to refuse to fight in Hitler’s … Read more

Brass Tacks: Charity Toward All the Wrong People

Catholic Charities USA is the largest religious charity in America, with a $2.3 million budget and local affiliates in 1,400 dioceses across the United States. Those local offices in turn support a myriad of good works for the poor—soup kitchens, homeless shelters, help for women facing crisis pregnancies, AIDS treatment, services for the elderly—with the … Read more

Brass Tacks: Mother Mary Comes to Me

There is no lovelier Hymn to Mary in modern English than Let It Be, the Beatles song written in 1969: When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom: Let it be. Those pellucid lyrics by Paul McCartney, who, with John Lennon, composed the plaintive melody, stand … Read more

Brass Tacks: Minding Our Own Beeswax

My very favorite Catholic Liturgy is the opening of the Easter Vigil service and the lighting of the paschal candle. Taking place in black night outside the church, it is a moment of absolute transformation: from darkness to light, from emptiness to fullness, from death to life. A fire burns in a brazier, but it … Read more

Brass Tacks: Catholic University’s Catholic Identity Crisis

At a place with the name “Catholic University of America,” you would think there would be no such thing as being “too Catholic.” Not so: The Washington, D.C.-based university is in its second year of a nasty in-house battle that is ostensibly over a search for a new permanent dean for its law school but … Read more

The Banality of Unbelief: Jesus Eludes the Historical A.N. Wilson

The publication of A.N. Wilson’s Jesus: A Life (Norton) last fall was preceded by a sour wind of uneasy anticipation. Its author, a prolific British comic novelist and literary biographer, had once been a high Tory, an early ’80s Young Fogey, an essayist of stinging wit, and, most fascinatingly, a Christian apologist in the train … Read more

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