The Italian Concerto

  Very often, if my wife is out doing errands in the middle of the day, I will make up my lunch on a tray and carry it into my study. There I can put a CD on my portable player — it is the only system I have, and it sits in a shelf … Read more

The Epidemic of School Sex Abuse

In March, a Florida school district that was already dealing with one teacher being arrested for teacher-student sexual relations had to deal with another young female teacher involved with an underage boy. Anecdotal evidence and statistical studies hint that sex abuse in American public schools is at epidemic proportions and that school districts regularly sweep … Read more

A Great Day for Catholic Higher Education

  Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic college presidents yesterday afternoon was brilliant. The pope built upon a generation of Vatican efforts to encourage the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic education. But more than that, he laid out a vision and roadmap for renewal that are ultimately tied to the survival of the West. … Read more

Our Moral Morass

Last week I was asked how to advise a twelve-year-old girl who has been asked to babysit for neighbors. The problem was that the neighbors are a lesbian couple who have had a child by artificial insemination. The girl was uncertain what to do, and uncomfortable at the prospect. The previous weekend, we were having … Read more

An Odd Reminder

  Well brought-up children are taught to say thank you, along with all of the other greetings and responses that attend polite life. Such responses must be imposed at first, of course, and learned by rote, but soon enough they become habitual, and virtually unconscious. This does not, however, mean that they are fraudulent. Somehow … Read more

Those Government Checks

You’ve surely heard of the economic stimulus payments that the government is planning to send out this summer. Most people will receive $300. The government hopes that we will all rush out to buy things, and that this will revive a slumping economy. Trying to stimulate the economy with an infusion of cash is not … Read more

Pro-Abortion Politics Not Welcome Here

“We didn’t invite Hillary Clinton, she asked to come. So we had no choice but to say ‘yes’ to hosting the campaign rally.” That’s what a Catholic college official allegedly told the distraught mother of two students who called the college last week to complain. The mother then called me to ask what she could … Read more

The Death of the Bobby Kennedy Coalition

After he addressed the cheering crowd and television cameras, Bobby Kennedy was told that there had been a change in plans. Originally, he was supposed to wade through the crowd and walk to another room below, where he would speak on closed-circuit television. But Fred Dutton, his de facto campaign chairman, thought that the packed … Read more

A Catholic College Stands Up for the Faith

Belmont Abbey College is one of the few Catholic colleges in the southeastern United States, located about ten miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, its president and chancellor are currently embroiled in a defense of the college’s Catholic identity against eight faculty members who insist on insurance coverage for voluntary sterilization, abortion, and contraception. … Read more

The Sins and the Fathers

The Sacrament of Penance is making a comeback as young people flock to confession. But repentance may not always look the way you expect. The confessor is not the master of God’s forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. He should have a … Read more

A Photo in Transylvania

  A sumptuous travel magazine — to which, I need scarcely add, we do not subscribe — arrived in our letter box the other day. Things are so beautifully laid-out these days that one cannot always tell whether a given item is actually just a piece of advertising.   In any case, the cover shows … Read more

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

High Noon at College of the Holy Cross

The Jesuit College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, is in trouble. Bishop Robert J McManus, S.T.D., issued a statement on October 10th warning President Michael McFarland, S.J., that the official Catholic status of Holy Cross was at risk. The reason for the showdown? On October 24, representatives of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL … Read more

Ecce Quam Bonum

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”   We hear this bracing sentiment often enough in musical and liturgical settings, most notably in the seraphic motet by Tomás Luis de Victoria, or in the spare sequence of chant. When it is conveyed to us under these modalities, … Read more

The Three Monkeys

  Trinket shops at roadside tourist spots used to sell items like shellacked coasters cut from cross sections of white pine or birch logs, or faux-bark mottoes inscribed with uplifting sentiments, or bawdy farmyard postcards. That sort of thing. Perhaps they still do.   Among the trinkets, one could always find the three monkeys telling … Read more

King Michael

Some months ago, my wife and I found ourselves watching a television program hosted by Ollie North. I am under the impression that he has a series on military affairs, or heroes, or something in that vein. In any event, on this evening he was interviewing King Michael of Romania.   Unless they are as … Read more

Notes Upon Hearing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto

How shall we speak of Mozart? We are always struck by his sprightly lyricism, of course, which offers us immeasurable delight but at the same time brings tears to our eyes—the tears that arrive when we find ourselves hailed with pure beauty. Grandeur, hilarity, bliss, poignancy, joy—what words suffice?   I was listening to Mozart … Read more

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