Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

recent articles

USCC Watch: No More Business as Usual?

The democrats are back in the White House and the general mood in the U.S. Catholic Conference is… difficult to assess. No need to be prophetic now that nuclear arms have dropped from sight and all the bad guys around the world are, by universal consensus, bad. Increased attention to vaccinating children seems likely. Welfare … Read more

Columbus’ Forgotten Legacy: Missionaries in the New World

Spanish civilization crushed the Indian; English civilization scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him. —Francis Parkman, The Jesuits in North America We have arrived at anno Domini 1992, the five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to the New World, but the date has assumed more than chronological significance. By the fall, everyone … Read more

Hotels Are Not Inns: G.K. Chesterton’s Vision of America

As Chesterton sailed for the first time into New York harbor in 1921, journalists boarded the ship and began interviewing him before it had even docked. He noted that back at Fleet Street, no one would have thought him worth interviewing. Or at least if someone from one paper did, the others would have considered … Read more

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

During the protracted controversies of the fourth century, Saint Gregory confessed that he felt “disposed to shun every conference of Bishops; for never saw I synod brought to a happy issue, and remedying, and not rather aggravating existing evils. For rivalry and ambition are stronger than reason . . . ” This may not be … Read more

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

Bertrand Russell once observed dryly that religion could not be taken seriously as truth until it showed itself to be self-correcting, like science. Had Russell been more sympathetic to the whole Judeo-Christian tradition, he would have had to acknowledge its steady development of thought about faith and morals. But part of his intuition was correct: … Read more

Charles Murray & His Critics: “Hold Him So I Can Hit Him Again”

What is it about Charles Murray’s Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980 (Basic Books, 1984) that has evoked such violent reactions? After initial shock at its publication last September, liberals have countered with a cataract of criticism. Socialist Michael Harrington denigrates Murray’s use of statistics as “shoddy scholarship.” Archbishop Rembert Weakland, chairman of the committee … Read more

The Extraordinary Synod: A Symposium

The sessions of the 1983 Synod on Penance came as near as anything probably could to shaking my confidence in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church. Here were the leaders of the largest Christian denomination on Earth gathered together at a time when the sense of sin and the sense of a need for … Read more

Maryknoll’s Failed Revolution

It used to be a commonplace observation that most religious thinkers were slightly out of touch with reality. Steeped in idealism and isolated from the rough and tumble of everyday life, pious souls saw the world as simpler and better than it really was. There were plenty of exceptions to the rule, to be sure, … Read more

“Ex-Sister Agnes Mary Explains It All For You”

“Personally, I am morally opposed to pornographic magazines and films. But those of us who are anti-porn have the obligation to be convincing and not condemning in conveying our beliefs. In a pluralistic society, I also recognize that my morality may not be someone else’s morality. As long as pornography is already legal, it would … Read more

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