Opinion

Building the Perfect Terrorist

Every weekday morning, this nation enjoys a pretty consistent routine. We get up, prepare for work or school, and tune in to local networks for the morning weather, traffic, and news. What have also become routine are the gruesome headlines announcing the day’s latest terrorist attack.   Given that these incidents show no signs of … Read more

Anti-Catholic Nastiness in England

  Catholics in Britain have recently begun commenting on what they see as a growing trend: Over the past couple of years it has become worryingly routine to hear crass and vulgar attacks on the Church, attacks that would be regarded as wholly unacceptable if they were made against the Jewish or Islamic faiths.   … Read more

Legislating Intolerance: Is Marriage a Dying Institution in England?

  There’s a problem at the moment in Britain with our sense of national identity. The problem is a compound of many things, of course: an all-pervasive culture of pop music and TV soaps, muddle about the way history is (or isn’t) taught in schools, a substantial and growing Islamic presence, confusion about our role … Read more

The Anglican Rite

In the late 1970s, a group of Episcopal clergymen with typical American chutzpah wrote to Pope Paul VI. They said they wanted to become Catholics, and wished for their priestly ministry to be fulfilled by being ordained as Catholic priests. The only problem was that they had wives and children. Paul VI received their petition, … Read more

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Economics

Joseph Pearce’s Small Is Still Beautiful is one part commentary on and one part updated application of E. F. Schumacher’s famous Small Is Beautiful. The constant reference to a book that many consider a minor classic is both a strength and a weakness of Pearce’s own book. Imitating Schumacher, Pearce wants to return us to … Read more

Making the Leap

It’s always touchy discussing a recent religious conversion. But there are times when a conversion is so public that talk is bound to come. Such was the case last month when Francis Beckwith, the president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), announced his return to the Catholic Church. Beckwith had been raised Catholic but left … Read more

A Debate Out of Season

Bishops often speak about the virtue of “collegiality”—their desire to act and speak in one voice. The recent history of the Church illustrates problems arising from the expectation that individual bishops should subjugate their public message in favor of the USCCB. John Cardinal O’Connor and Bernard Cardinal Law were among the first bishops to challenge … Read more

Boston College Versus The U.S. Military

As associate dean at a state law school, I receive promotional materials from numerous other law schools. Usually they go straight into the trash can, but I was on my way to the airport for a long flight, and the cover of the spring/summer 2006 issue of BC Law Magazine, published by Jesuit-affiliated Boston College, … Read more

Untouchable: The Human Face of India’s Caste System

It was a scene that could have come straight from the pages of the New Testament—and one almost unimaginable in today’s caste-ridden India. Around long tables under a large marquee in Hyderabad sat hundreds of people cross-legged on the floor. Clustered in groups of five or six, they ate curry and rice from a shared … Read more

Motherhood

First, I want the reader’s sympathy. Before I wrote this column, I ploughed through the jargon-ridden and statistics-laden pages of a recent study on “Trends and Determinants of Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: The Role of Public Policy.” Once upon a time I read such things with something strangely approaching pleasure. Now they make my … Read more

Jerome Hines

“We are facing a generation of young singers who are much more diminutive in their approach to singing.” There was nothing diminutive about the man who said that. Jerome Hines (1921–2003) stood six-feet-six-inches tall, and on stage at La Scala in 1968 as Handel’s Hercules, the hero seemed an eponym for himself. His pinnacle was … Read more

‘But, Monseigneur…’

Several months ago, I came across an anecdote in the life of Madame de Maintenon who, readers will recall, became the wife of Louis XIV in his latter years. This devout lady had refused to be his mistress, and was apparently instrumental in bundling him along toward some rag of authenticity in his practice of … Read more

Delusional Atheism

The better title for Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion (or at least the more accurate one, given the self-stated goals of his new book) would be Why There Almost Certainly Is No God. Paring back all the typical Dawkinsian rhetoric, that is all he really attempts to prove. The God Delusion Richard Dawkins, Houghton Mifflin, … Read more

Zodiac

In the past six months, Hollywood has released two major pictures that have each dealt with one of America’s two most famous unsolved criminal mysteries, both of which took place in California. Last year’s The Black Dahlia, directed by Brian De Palma, covered the gruesome and much-publicized murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, whose naked … Read more

Consumer’s Guide

As a Catholic convert in the media, I get letters from many young, smart, skeptical, “postmodern” people seeking religious advice. Many want to become Catholic, but know almost nothing about the Faith. We are called to evangelize, and in the hope that this might be useful to others, here is a stripped-down version of the … Read more

Austin Vaughan

Preparing for my priestly ordination, Bishop Austin Vaughan (1927–2000) conferred the ministries of lector and acolyte with such unassuming dispatch that one forgot the man was possibly the smartest bishop in the nation. Nothing seemed quite to fit him; he appeared not so much to be dressed as to be in the process of dressing, … Read more

‘Brideshead Revisited’ Revisited

My wife recently gave me the boxed DVD set of the British television series Brideshead Revisited. No doubt most readers of crisis will have long since read Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece and seen the filmed version. The great Catholic fiction writers of the 20th century were not particularly happy to be thought of as “Catholic novelists”—that … Read more

Archaeology, Hollywood Style

You’ve got to hand it to Hollywood producer James Cameron: He’s not about to let his lack of knowledge, credentials, and competence stand in the way of announcing a major archaeological find. On March 4, the Discovery Channel aired a Cameron-produced documentary titled “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” In it, various “experts” argue that a … Read more

The Devil’s Distraction: A Misplaced Bad Conscience

Having a bad conscience is one of the most unpleasant feelings one can experience. We dread it and understandably try to escape its sting. Anything that assuages a bad conscience will be welcome. In the meantime, the wily one—the devil—calculates what advantage he can win from it. He begins to benefit as soon as a … Read more

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