An Advent Note on Ikhnaton

One’s thoughts don’t ordinarily run much to the pharaohs in connection with Advent. Insofar as Egypt might crop up at all, it would seem more fitting to hold it for the Flight into Egypt after the Nativity.   In any case, I received a card this past week from a Discalced Carmelite nun friend of … Read more

God Goes on Trial in San Francisco

On December 4, Seamus Hasson, president of the Becket Fund, will argue on behalf of public school students who want to keep “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Two years ago, the politically liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (San Francisco) struck down the recitation of the Pledge because it contains “under God.” Judge … Read more

Meet the New Condom Policy (same as the old condom policy)

Media sources have put a charge into the leadup to today’s World AIDS Day by once again floating the suggestion that the Catholic Church is on the verge of approving condom use in limited circumstances; that is, for the purposes of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. “Will Vatican Review Stand on Condoms?” reads … Read more

Watching and Waiting

In late November, the air is ripe with motherly anxiety as many of us brace ourselves to “do” Christmas one more time. We ready ourselves for more shopping, more decorating, more entertaining, and more baking. And year after year, despite our best-laid plans and intentions, many of us wind up feeling controlled by materialism, pressured … Read more

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) opens to fuzzy images and confusion as the camera — and the audience — tries to focus itself. As the images become clearer, it appears that the camera has embodied a patient in a hospital bed.   PG-13, 112 minutes   The Diving Bell … Read more

Remembering Henry Hyde

Henry Hyde, former longtime Illinois Representative and stalwart defender of life, passed away early this morning. Hyde, 83, had recently brought a long political career to an end, retiring at the conclusion of the last session. In that time, he earned a reputation as the most committed and uncompromising opponent of abortion in national office. … Read more

University of St. Thomas Snubs Archbishop

On October 25, the board of the University of St. Thomas voted to change its bylaws so that the incoming archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis would no longer automatically serve as its ex-officio chairman. In 2008, Archbishop Harry Flynn will retire. His replacement, coadjutor Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, is well-known to be more conservative than Flynn. … Read more

The New York Times’ Latest Double Standard

The Gray Lady sells herself out to secular materialism once again. I would like to propose Shea’s Iron Law of New York Times Science Coverage: When Christians write about science, they are imposing their religion on the free pursuit of truth. When scientists pontificate about religion, they are innocently writing about science with no agenda … Read more

The Uses and Abuses of Paranoia

  In my daily newspaper columns, I have recently tried the experiment of writing directly about the postmodern explosion of scientism. This pertains to discussions of global warming, intelligent design, political correctness, and many other things — but it goes much deeper. Had I a book to fill (and perhaps I do), I would follow … Read more

Talking Immigration with the Maryland Bishops: A Response

  I have enjoyed the exchange about “Where All Find A Home,” the Maryland bishops’ recent statement on the Catholic response to immigration, in the columns and blog of InsideCatholic.com. This is exactly the type of conversation the bishops hoped would come about when they issued the statement and I know they are glad to … Read more

‘To Save the People from Their Sins’

While staying in the rectory of the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Club at the University of North Dakota, on the shelves of the guest room I noticed the B.A.C. edition of Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae. I had seen this edition before. With a few moments to spare, I took down the third part of the Summa, … Read more

Giuliani Adviser is an Accused Pedophile Priest?

Since 2002, Msgr. Alan Placa has worked for Rudy Giuliani as a consultant at Giuliani Partners. In 2003 a grand jury report of Suffolk County, NY, accused Placa of sexually abusing multiple victims. A spokeswoman for Giuliani Partners told Salon Magazine that the former New York City mayor believes Placa was “unjustly accused.” The grand … Read more

Thanksgiving Bounty

  This is my third attempt to get through the fall harvest of superb new CD releases, but it is still fall, and there is a lot to harvest. This abundance illustrates William Buckley’s recent remark in the November issue of the British Gramophone magazine, that "it has to be the greatest gift of modern … Read more

Bishops Say Immigrants’ Needs Come Before Border Security

The three bishops of Maryland have just released a statement on immigration, saying the right of a nation to control its borders is secondary to an immigrant’s basic needs. These three bishops — Archbishop O’Brien, Archbishop Wuerl, and Bishop Saltarelli — reiterate the policy espoused by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their … Read more

Giving Thanks for Thanks

Why do we give thanks to God for his gifts? There’s something redundant about it. He neither requires nor benefits from our thanks, any more than he does our praise. We don’t thank God so that, like the dentist friend on Seinfeld who doled out hockey tickets only until Jerry stopped thanking him, he’ll know … Read more

Lying About the Loaves and Fish

A Thanksgiving Mass reading from the Gospel according to AmChurch:   The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he … Read more

A Conversation with James V. Schall, S.J., Part II

InsideCatholic.com music critic Robert R. Reilly sat down with noted writer, political thinker, and Georgetown University professor Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., to talk about the life of the mind, the future of the West, and lessons learned over a long career in education. This is the second part of the interview. Click here to … Read more

Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

It is by way of solid compliment to call Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999) a baroque incarnation, like an enfleshment of Salzburg’s Kollegienkirche, for the baroque is an art of overstatement done so elegantly that truth is not distorted. The one glaring understatement I heard from him was, "I dislike specialization" — words baroquely unbaroque in … Read more

Did the Bishops Punish Archbishop Burke?

  Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Archbishop Raymond Burke (St. Louis) lost an election at the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops last week.   Over the past three years, Burke has assumed the mantle of the late Cardinal John O’Connor in pro-life matters, challenging fellow bishops to take stronger stances in … Read more

Woman To Woman

Catholic women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant stand to benefit from others’ experience. This was the thought that motivated me to post some readers’ emails on my blog addressing the struggle to remain open to life in marriage and the difficulty of accepting an unexpected pregnancy. “Let’s encourage one another,” I wrote on the blog. … Read more

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