In his great biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson noted that Franklin donated money to “the building funds of each and every sect in Philadelphia.” For Franklin and his founding brothers, religion promoted the civic virtue essential to sustaining the republican model of government. Franklin was a deist throughout his life. But he understood, nonetheless, … Read more
Most of those involved in Tolkien fandom, at any rate, know that William Morris exerted a profound literary effect on the development of The Lord of the Rings. This is most evident, in the case of The House of the Wolfings, in the way that both works are organized as prose narratives with lengthy intervals … Read more
In the 1980’s, at the height of his influence among American bishops, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, alluding to the robe of Jesus for which the Roman soldiers cast lots, proposed that Catholics treat a host of political issues as one. The “seamless garment” of respect for human life, for the Cardinal, implied opposition to … Read more
In a recent column, I suggested that the most important thing for Catholics to do politically is to present, argue for, and act on the Catholic understanding of human life. We are defined by our faith, which has to do with an understanding of God, man, and the world, and our goal as Catholics is … Read more
Recently visiting Northern Ireland for the G8 meeting at Lough Erne, President Obama said this during his now-traditional speech to local young people: If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages … Read more
The Sixties wanted Paradise Now: a paradise that ignores the distant and difficult in favor of the immediate and effortless. We wouldn’t transcend life’s conflicts and difficulties by striving after a higher unity, we’d abolish them by denying them recognition. Each would do his thing and follow his bliss, and all would be well. As … Read more
Melinda Gates was holding forth at a conference in Berlin earlier this month about the necessity of universal access to contraception in the developing world, claiming that it is the only way that 200 million people who do not already have “access” will have a choice about how many children they will have and when. … Read more
Pope Benedict XVI and others have recently drawn attention to the fact that simply putting forward the Church’s unchanging teachings on marriage and sexual morality puts a person in the position of being accused of “hate.” In particular, GLBT (gay lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) activists are demanding that Catholics and those of other religions change … Read more
Why won’t American Catholics get behind the very Catholic Rick Santorum? From New Hampshire to Nevada, he has lost the Catholic vote in nearly every state where Republicans have gone to the polls to elect their nominee for president. The only slight exception is Tennessee*, where he carried the Catholic vote by a whopping one … Read more
The thought of a new book, from a proverbially establishmentarian imprint, on Elizabeth I’s spymaster is not one that immediately gladdens the heart. Anyone who has actually been expected to spend time in modern England – rather than simply viewing it through a Downton-Abbey-generated haze – knows perfectly well that English anti-Catholicism has reached during … Read more
I am thinking about quitting the New York Times. Ever since I took my present job six years ago I have been frequenting the website of what is generally regarded as the leading paper of record in the United States and, frankly, I find it sadly predictable. A Timesheadline on any topic that matters to … Read more
The Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that even health plans of religiously affiliated employers must include the coverage of contraception, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization. Hundreds of Catholic hospitals, colleges and universities, and social service organizations will have one of three choices: Cave in and accept what is morally repugnant; Face heavy fines … Read more
Many Crisis readers are concerned at the reports that have begun to emerge regarding Fr. Marcel Guarnizo’s denial of Communion to the alleged lesbian Barbara Johnson and the subsequent loss of his priestly faculties upon the authority of Cardinal Wuerl and communicated through a letter by Bishop Knestout, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of … Read more
This second part of this series treats the experience of Roman Catholics during the Founding era, since this period establishes the particular milieu in which American political rhetoric was forged and continues to find its orientation.
A year and a half ago, while searching for a recording of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion to share with a friend, I stumbled across a YouTube clip entitled simply: ”St Matthew Passion. No. 1.” Filled with idle musical curiosity, I clicked away, and within moments, realized that I had discovered something extraordinary. This was breathtaking music; grandiose, … Read more
To win the culture war, the Church is going to have to break a lot of bad habits. And old habits die hard. A new generation of bishops now recognize the perils of allying with the American government that Pope Leo XIII warned against a century ago.
A mist gathers around the Capitol. Glowering clouds obscure the sun. Dark Forces are pulling the levers of power. The very laws of the land are being forged to enslave freemen (and freewomen) by a sinister power beyond our ken. Somewhere, a council has gathered. Blofeld, Mrs. Danvers, Prof. James Moriarty, Cruella de Vil, Sauron, … Read more
Religious-freedom infringement occurs quite a bit in American legal practice, and it makes sense that it does; for, those in charge of securing the common good of the community, as well as the rights of individuals, have the right and obligation to ban practices that are a direct and serious threat to it.
I am disquieted by the way in which the issue of the HHS mandate has largely been framed – not only by the Left, but perhaps more by the Right.
In October 2009, I published a column titled, “Can Obama and Congress Order You to Buy Broccoli?” Now I need to ask a follow-up: Can Obama order grocers to give away bread? I wrote the broccoli column after Sen. Orrin Hatch raised serious questions in the Senate Finance Committee about the constitutionality of President Obama’s … Read more