Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick is a senior contributor to Crisis and serves on the faculty of Gregory the Great Academy, a Catholic boarding school for boys in Pennsylvania.

recent articles

“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry: The Wise Fools of Christmas

 Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man’s hat. As Christmas carols draw mind and heart to the spirit of the season, the Church also calls for spiritual preparation through Advent. All are bidden with the shepherds to “go to Bethlehem and see” with minds and hearts … Read more

Louisa May Alcott on How to Give Thanks

When I first read “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” by Louisa May Alcott in her collection of short stories entitled Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag, I was—truth be told—unmoved. But truth is often painful … and embarrassing. The temptations to label this little-known episode from the well-known author of Little Women as cliché and cloying are quite real. They are, nevertheless, temptations … Read more

A School Without Screens

There is a growing consensus among human beings that the effects of our developing technology are not conducive to human development. Popular technology, despite its claim to interact and connect, breeds isolation. It causes people, especially young people, to stray into an introverted withdrawal from others and the world. As such, these results are antithetical … Read more

St. Wolfgang and the Church the Devil Built

October 31 does not receive much attention as a saint’s feast day in the United States. The ostentatious festivities of Halloween are, of course, difficult to compete with—as is the Holy Day it vigils. Besides being a night of merry devilry and the eve of All Saints’ Day, October 31 commemorates the feast of one … Read more

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy: A Story for All Souls

A man lies on his deathbed—screaming; screaming for three days without cessation. Even behind closed doors, the sound horrifies all who hear even its muffled suggestion. The death of Ivan Ilych was no peaceful affair. It was a fight literally to the death; and it is a struggle we all must undergo, for we all … Read more

Guilt Gone Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

If Oscar Wilde had been a man of our time, he might have had rather mixed feelings about the LGBT liberation agenda. Though Wilde himself had homosexual tendencies and would probably have approved of the gay rights movement, he probably would not have been a public advocate. Decadent dandy though he was, Wilde considered his … Read more

All Hallows Eve or Halloween?

Halloween poses a serious concern to Catholic families nowadays. Besides various occult inspirations, many Catholics are uneasy with Halloween’s ostentatious glorification of ugliness and evil. Also distressing are the prevalent trends of psychosis, vulgarity, and violence. What conscientious parent would not be wary? Even with such adversity, it is still possible to align Halloween with … Read more

Orwell’s 1984: Are We There Yet?

The second most terrifying thing about George Orwell’s 1984 is the supposition that it is possible to destroy humanity without destroying humankind. The first is how many aspects of our democratic nation resemble his dystopian nightmare. George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948 as a political satire of a totalitarian state and a denunciation of Stalinism. … Read more

Soberheroes: A Critical Look at Modern Mythology

Comic book heroes have recently become less comic—which is of both cultural and Christian concern. After the brooding superhero films of the last few years, many are asking the question made famous by the late Heath Ledger’s truly menacing, anything-but-funny Joker: “Why so serious?” The motivation behind this trend—largely spearheaded by Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy … Read more

June 17, 1462: The Battle of the Blood Drinkers

Like flaming demons, Wallachians rushed out of the night and into the Turkish camp, striking terror in an army of terrorists. Leading the charge was a gore-spattered chieftain—hewing and hacking a path to the central tents where the Sultan huddled in fear. On he came, Vlad Dracul, raining down slaughter and raging for Mehmed’s blood. … Read more

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain: The Savage Noble

Nothing conjures up summer quite like a bully, sure-’nough treasure: A kite, a dead rat and a string to swing it with, twelve marbles, part of a jew’s harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool-cannon, a key that doesn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, … Read more

The Conspiracy of Pornography Exposed

Herbert Streicher is dead. Passing from this life last March, his is numbered among the notable deaths of 2013. Herbert Streicher—a.k.a. Harry Reems—is fondly remembered as a champion of First Amendment rights. In 1974, Mr. Streicher was arrested and indicted by the FBI on federal charges for his appearance in a film and a conspiracy … Read more

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

It is a terrible paradox that the pursuit dedicated to improving the human condition bears the greatest potential to destroy humanity. That pursuit is scientific pursuit—ever progressing, ever evolving. Scientific evolution, however, should be simultaneous with engendering the responsibilities scientific knowledge requires. Unfortunately, technology develops far more quickly than temperance; likewise hubris ahead of humility. … Read more

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The womb and the tomb—one of the most striking mirror images that our lives have to offer. Babies are buried alive in their warm mothers’girth. Bodies are dead and buried in their cold mother earth. For one, there is the darkness of genesis and growth, for the other, the darkness of death and decay. The … Read more

The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was missing. The year was 1849. There had been no trace of Mr. Poe for six days since he left Richmond, Virginia, on September 27th to travel back to his home in New York. His luggage was discovered at a Richmond tavern. Then, on the morning of October 3rd, he was found … Read more

Feminists Attack But the Meek Will Conquer

Belgian Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard was participating in a debate on blasphemy at the Free University of Brussels on April 23rd when he became the target of a blasphemy. Four topless women emerged from the attendees and mobbed the prelate, dousing him with water from bottles shaped like the Virgin Mary and screaming accusations of homophobia … Read more

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes by Mother Goose

There is a gravestone in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground that legend purports marks the resting place of Mother Goose. Now, whether Mother Goose lived in Boston or any other place in the world is less of a concern than if she is dead to the world. The death of Mother Goose, who teaches the love … Read more

“Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing”

Dictator Kim Jong Un has been rattling his saber in North Korea with enough warmongering threats to go around. Though U.S. national defense and U.N. security officials recognize that the situation brewing in Pyongyang is serious, they also recognize it as ceremonious. There is a traditional rhetoric in these rumblings from a young leader, portrayed … Read more

Where Will Same-Sex Unions Lead Us?

Listening to arguments by Theodore Olson, the lawyer challenging Proposition 8, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said this: “You’re asking for us to go into uncharted waters, and you can play with that metaphor. There’s a wonderful destination or there’s a cliff.” Last month the United States Supreme Court heard two cases challenging the oldest … Read more

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen: A Tale of Resurrection

Just as baptism and burial are seldom associated with one another, neither are a duckling and the Resurrection. The interconnectivity of life and death, however, is paramount to any understanding of Christianity—which understanding is beautifully portrayed in a well-known tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ … Read more

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