Kenneth Colston

Kenneth Colston’s articles and reviews have appeared in The New Criterion; LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture; First Things; New Oxford Review; St. Austin's Review, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He is a retired teacher who lives in St. Louis.

recent articles

Purgatorio

Lent as Purgatorio

In Lent, we confront the barrier between us and God, our sinfulness and many personal sins. For this, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are recommended, but a guidebook is also useful. Dante’s Purgatorio is one of the best I know. The crisis in the world is always a crisis of sin. For over forty years, I … Read more

St. George, Shakespeare, and the Plague

Like many saints, George the dragon-slaying patron of England has murky origins, but he may go back to the Christian martyr soldier who refused to make a pagan sacrifice for the Emperor Diocletian’s bribe of wealth, and lost his head for it on April 23, 303. A millennium or so later, English Crusaders brought back … Read more

GKC Was No Anti-Semite

Last summer, the Bishop of Northampton rebuffed the cause for canonization of G.K. Chesterton, offering as one of three impediments that “the issue of anti-Semitism is a real obstacle particularly at this time in the United Kingdom.” W.H. Auden fifty years ago and Adam Gopnik in the last decade both brutally tarred Chesterton with anti-Semitism—a … Read more

Converts Who Followed Chesterton Across the Tiber

Many religious roads lead a convert to Rome, and a frequent guidebook is something written by G.K. Chesterton: often Orthodoxy. In his new collection of convert stories, My Name is Lazarus, Dale Ahlquist, the world’s greatest living Chesterton promoter, claims that he can name a couple of thousand who followed the fat journalist across the … Read more

Sin Redefined in the PBS Detective Series Unforgotten

Moral relativism is so widespread that it is even beginning to ruin murder mysteries. The sin of cold-blooded murder, one of the last sins left standing in liberalism, is disappearing before our eyes from where one would think it could not disappear, namely, a genre owing everything to the blatant violation of the fifth commandment. … Read more

The Protestant Origins of Dysfunctional Education

As a former boarding school teacher, this time of year brings memories of enormous frustration at the chaos, moral and intellectual, that is contemporary American education. While the general disorder is the fault of Adam and Eve, the particular mess has much to do with Luther and Calvin, who not only spawned the Protestant Reformation … Read more

The Case for Catholic Shakespeare 

Unlike the conspiracy theory that William Shakespeare was really the more educated Earl of Oxford, the rival Christopher Marlowe, or the polymath Francis Bacon, the story of the Catholic Shakespeare is now a mainstream if not a consensus view among scholars. Stretched to the edge of credulity, using arguments and speculations from scholars both Catholic … Read more

Lent All Year Round?

For several years, every Ash Wednesday, I witnessed a curious spectacle: an openly dissenting Catholic lesbian teacher I worked with attended her only Mass of the year, early in the morning, and sported her ashes on her forehead all day, in front of her classes. She fasted and abstained, and we noticed, totally confused but … Read more

A Provocative New Novel on Islam and Western Decadence

Michel Houellebecq is the enfant terrible of contemporary French literature, a modern and best-selling Voltaire or Sartre who writes provocative novels of ideas that both exploit and skewer liberal debauchery and nausea. Michel Houellebecq’s recently translated Submission, which imagines that Islamists come to power during the French presidential election of 2022, has received a lot … Read more

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