This Just In…

From French ninja-antiquers to the Great Venezuelan Toilet Paper Caper, here’s a quick jaunt through the most ridiculous news items of the past month.  Overwhelmed with information, we often miss revealing tidbits in the news that can be so enriching to our appreciation of life as it is lived early in the 21st century. Herewith, … Read more

Christmas Gift

Children are different from adults; better in some ways, worse in others. In my own later childhood, my favorite words of taunt and abuse to my contemporaries were, “Grow up!” I was an atheist by then; the phrase was never meant as an allusion to 1 Corinthians 13:11. But I was still thinking as a … Read more

Baby Business

I was talking with a friend recently about babies starting solids foods. We discussed when to start, first foods to offer, and different babies’ reactions and preferences. Suddenly, my eavesdropping children wanted to know: “How about me, Mama? What was my first food? Did I like it? How old was I when you first fed … Read more

Campaign 2008: A Conversation with John McCain

With the opinion polls in motion and the Republican primary back up in the air, Deal Hudson talked to Sen. John McCain about the race, his bruises over immigration, his attraction to the Baptist church, and the role of faith in the voting booth. ♦ ♦ ♦ Deal Hudson: Senator, I adopted a little boy … 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

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

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

Do Catholic Schools Have a Future in Britain?

There is a debate going on in Britain about Catholic schools. It is taking place at several levels. At the level of government, there is much lip service paid to the value of “faith schools” because of their undeniable popularity, but there is also considerable tension about them. The expression “faith schools” is irritating — … Read more

Oh Boy

My husband is paranoid. The other day, I was about to leave for a quick run on our peaceful, tree-lined, country roads when he stopped me to ask, ”What are you bringing for protection?” Protection? What on earth was this man talking about? “I’ve got a couple of these,” I offered, holding up two of … Read more


Human life appears most precious when it is under the gun. At such times, we affirm the greatness of one soul by acting decisively to protect it. Or do we? Modern life produces a multitude of justifications for moral disengagement from our own dark choices and those of friends and strangers.   In Bella, a … Read more


Batman lives at my house. He’s about two-and-a-half feet tall with a tuft of blond-streaked, overgrown hair on his head. Besides the obligatory black rubber mask, he sports a red velvet cape that looks suspiciously like his older sister’s discarded Christmas dress, a pair of denim overalls, and — underneath it all — a diaper. … Read more

Hugh Dacre Barrett-Lennard

  "Je suis l’Armée Britannique!" declared Sir Hugh Dacre Barrett-Lennard (1917-2007) to a startled French mayor at the Normandy invasion when he arrived with driver and jeep far behind enemy lines, in the 2nd Batallion, Essex Regiment. His title only came with accession to the baronetcy when he was 60 years old, as the result … Read more

‘Who Wants Me Now?’: On the Way to the Kingdom

It’s four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. All the clients have gone home. I am sitting at my desk, sorting papers, mulling over next week’s case list, daring to relax. Suddenly the phone blares, like an alarm mis-set for 2:00 a.m. My startled brain jumps and considers, “Who wants me now?” Here’s what crosses my … Read more

Ten Questions with Senator Sam Brownback

Senator Sam Brownback was traveling between events while campaigning in New Hampshire when I spoke to him last week. Despite criticism, Brownback has kept the abortion issue at the top of his agenda for the nation, and recently finished among the top three candidates in the Ames Straw Poll. I called him to ask about … Read more

Tocqueville’s Catholic America

Alexis de Tocqueville was born—and died—a Catholic. He lost his faith as an adolescent, but it had already broadened and enlightened him (indeed, his childhood tutor was a beloved priest) and made him the brilliant political observer he would become.   Tocqueville was an aristocrat from a family that had stood by the Bourbons and … 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

The Physiology of Success

The philosopher Aesop once related a story about a farmer who discovered among his livestock a goose that had laid an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and soon the farmer found himself a wealthy man. But as he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all … Read more

Maria Cristina Marconi

“Most Holy Father, the work that Your Holiness has deigned to entrust to me, I today return to You. . . . May you deign, Holy Father, to allow the entire world to hear your august words,” Guglielmo Marconi beseeched Pius XI at the inauguration of the Vatican Radio in 1931, 36 years after he … Read more

The Two Novaks: Jews, Christians, and the One True God

It happens that in the various Slavic tongues the name Novak means new man, newcomer, stranger. Novak was a name often given to wanderers to a town, who might be of Jewish or of Christian background. Those of us whose name is Novak (or Novick, or Nowak, or Novakoff, or Novacek, or other variants) — … Read more

What Might Have Been

Paris, Saturday, January 14, 2004. We are at Maillot Gate, a few steps away from the Champs Elysées and the business quarter of La Defense. On the left is the 34-story skyscraper of the Hotel Concorde La Fayette—a disruptive landmark amid the gorgeous town houses whose plush façades date back to the end of the … Read more

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