Opinion

Remembering the Early Church

  Lately, I have been hearing a lot about how the primitive Church was not Roman Catholic. I don’t know why it is, but this information keeps bursting upon me in the most unlikely settings—a lunch party near the sand dunes, cocktails on the upper east side—where a kindly soul informs me between sips of … Read more

Against the Grain: A Day in the Life of Serrin Foster

Serrin Foster is bombing. All around the Temple University lecture hall, bored faces drift in and out of attention — expressionless college women staring and still, college men telegraphing their waning interest by twisting in their seats. A round woman’s tiny eyes glare coldly from beneath her eyebrow rings. I’ve been assigned to shadow Foster … Read more

Blood on Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians

“Pro-choice” Catholic politicians support abortion mostly for political reasons. The U.S. bishops say this is unacceptable. So why do they accept it?   “Do you know what the Negro is?” Leander H. Perez once asked in 1965. “Animals right out [of] the jungle. Passion. Welfare. Easy life. That’s the Negro.” As a state judge and … Read more

If Christ Had Not Been Raised: The Evidence for the Resurrection

"Jesus came to give us moral guidance, and to prove he meant business, he let himself be killed and seen after death, so we would listen and be good." Not being raised in any particular religion myself, it wasn’t until later that I discovered that this view of Jesus’ death and resurrection (which I heard … Read more

Memories of Bernard Lonergan

  When I was 13, I considered entering the Jesuits, but they told me when I inquired that they did not take candidates until they had completed high school. So I went back to a choice that was attractive to me for other reasons, the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame, Indiana, whose spirituality … Read more

Structures of Self-Deceit

A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Garry Wills is a remarkably learned man. Graced with a powerful and confident mind and an elegant style, Wills is a forceful writer, with a clarity of conviction that is all too rare nowadays. Devoted to the rosary, the Mass, and the creed, he is deeply pious. But, above all, he … Read more

How Catholic Was Shakespeare?

Shakespeare stands as a wonderful anomaly. It could be argued that no artist in the history of the Western world enjoys both the critical and popular esteem of Shakespeare. His poems and plays continue to enchant generation after generation; his rich language saturates modern speech — whether we realize it or not. What accounts for … Read more

Casey’s Heirs: The Plight of the Pro-Life Democrat

Congress was out of session on January 22, but Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and coauthor of legislation to ban human cloning, had arrived at his office in the House Rayburn Building around 8 a.m. From his window, you could see morning commuters heading off to work on I-395. Stupak was here early to … Read more

Speak, Lord

One of the sources of the atheism that plagues modern society is, according to Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, our alleged sense of being in control of things. But surely this is a mood, not a conviction. A stroll to the corner is usually sufficient reminder of one’s contingency. When are we not open to … Read more

The Crescent and the Gun: Islam and Violence

It’s hard to watch Francis Bok remember. He speaks softly, haltingly. His piercing eyes stare out, sometimes at you, sometimes into space, but always to that morning 15 years ago in Sudan. He was seven years old and living with his family in a small southern village. His mother had sent him to the local … Read more

Perils of the Popess

Pope Joan is one of the most tenacious myths of the Middle Ages, told and retold by Catholics and anti-Catholics alike since the 13th century. It is said that beautiful young Joan, an Englishwoman born in Mainz, Germany, disguised herself as a man to gain higher education beside her scholarly lover. Her brilliance won her … Read more

Reconsidering Vatican II

In May 1964, in the middle of the Second Vatican Council, I published a book, The Open Church, an optimistic assessment of the changes in the Catholic Church that I believed the council would produce. I had written it in white-hot haste in my room at the Pensione Baldoni in Rome during a six-week period … Read more

Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials

This past winter, the illustrious and venerable New York publishing house Alfred A. Knopf published the third and final volume of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Its title is The Amber Spyglass, and it runs 518 handsomely laid-out pages. The English-born, Oxford-educated Pullman had earmarked his first two volumes for the “young adult” market, … Read more

The Price of Priestly Pederasty

Rudy Kos, former Catholic priest and convicted molester of altar boys, just spent another hot summer in the unair-conditioned Texas prison where he is serving four life sentences for hundreds of incidents of sexual abuse of minors during the 1980s and early 1990s. While Kos, 56, was hardly the first Catholic priest to sexually abuse … Read more

M. Night Shymalan’s Unbreakable Success

[Warning: This review contains spoilers] Shymalan’s 1999 blockbuster, The Sixth Sense, took the movie going public by surprise. His previous film, the bril­liant but underappreciated Wide Awake (1998), had gone straight from lacklus­ter reviews to video-store oblivion, so Shymalan well-deserved the success and acclaim The Sixth Sense suddenly brought him. It made more than $250 … Read more

Seven Problems with the Jesus Seminar

The Jesus Seminar, so-called, has been running out of steam. Its two flagship projects on the words of Jesus and the deeds of Jesus recently have been completed. The chairman, Robert Funk, has great agendas for reconstructing the whole of the first five centuries of Christianity, showing that the creeds and theology of St. Paul … Read more

Funding The Jesus Seminar

When Robert Funk announced the founding of the Jesus Seminar in 1985, he made a point of saying that all its work would be above-board. “We are going to carry out our work in full public view,” the New Testament scholar told a gathering of scholars in Berkley, California. “We will not only honor the … Read more

Fashionable Fathers

Fatherhood is coming back into favor. For most of us, it never went out. However, in today’s climate of absurd perversions of biology, we can expect — and have seen in certain academic circles as, for example, Peter Singer’s Princeton — that even such natural, normal beings as fathers have been deemed unnecessary and cumbersome. … Read more

Biblical Scholarship and the Church

Biblical scholarship is usually granted instant credibility today because it is considered “scientific.” Thus, the findings of the Jesus Seminar, however ill-founded, nev­ertheless quickly become front-page news. The assumption is that “science” has once again exploded claims about the Jesus found in the New Testament and preached by the Church. On the other hand, the … Read more

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