First Things

(Better) Advice to Students in a Time of Strife

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days,” the great Solzhenitsyn told America’s intellectual elite at Harvard in 1978. It was heartening, therefore, to read a letter of “Advice to Students in a Time of Strife,” published by First Things in late … Read more

Protestantism Made Me Catholic

First Things has been running a fascinating and provocative series of articles that question the principles and beliefs of most of its readers. In May, it published “Why I Became Muslim” by one Jacob Williams, a Brit who grew up Anglican and then converted to Islam. More recently, the magazine published “Catholicism Made Me Protestant,” … Read more

The Marriage Crisis is Not All the Homosexuals’ Fault

The statement signed by prominent public intellectuals and published in First Things is a well-intentioned effort to avert same-sex “marriage.” In it the authors declare same-sex “marriage” a more serious matter than divorce or cohabitation. This claim should not be invoked lightly since it reflects a serious failure of leadership. This is not what Christian leaders … Read more

Why Catholics Must Fight “Lost Causes”

Much has been said, maybe pretty much everything that needs to be said, about  former First Things editor Joseph Bottum throwing in the towel over the same-sex marriage fight. He believes that the legalization of this aberration is already a done deal and that Catholics should simply accept it henceforth as a civil matter. It’s … Read more

What I Meant to Say: A Case for Same-Sex Marriage

 Editor’s Note: A friend passed on this manuscript written by someone named “Foggy Bottom,” which purports to be the notes or an alternative draft of a recent piece, with a similar title, which has received some attention by one “Jody Bottum” in Commonweal.  We cannot vouch for its authenticity, but in light of its curious … Read more

Gift Books of Christian Wisdom: A Syllabus for Our Era

Despite the recent, precipitous decline in Western education, most people do realize that going to college entails reading books. Of course, thoughtful men question the kinds of books which students are getting assigned these days. As a remedy, I’d like to list books almost no one in college will mention to students. Hopefully, they will … Read more

For the Dissidents, We’re All Priests Now

While faithful Catholics concluded their celebration of the Year of the Priest only last spring, a coalition of dissident organizations like Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, and the Women’s Ordination Conference have issued a “universal call to ministry” to help build a “non-clerical Catholic Church in which the laity reclaims their baptismal priesthood.” … Read more

Scalia on ‘Uncredentialed Wonder’

Over at First Things, Elizabeth Scalia has an interesting column on the dangers of valuing “credentials” over a curious mind: To become educated is a marvelous thing; to have the opportunity to study is a privilege too many take for granted. But have we become a society that places too much weight on the attainment … Read more

British royal calls abortion “most grievous moral deficit”

The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI), a pro-life outreach to members of democratically-elected legislatures, reports that Lord Nicholas Windsor has described abortion as “the single most grievous moral deficit in contemporary life.” The great-grandson of King George V penned the essay “Caesar’s Thumb: Europeans should not forget their most pressing moral issue: abortion” in … Read more

Do You Renounce Kennedy and All His Works?

Two weeks ago I ventured into enemy territory: the Harvard Club in Boston. In all the time I’ve lived in New England, I’ve turned down every chance to visit Harvard’s prim, Georgian campus, though I’ve window-shopped in swanky Harvard Square. Out of loyalty to its rival, my alma mater, I’ve steered clear of Harvard, displaying … Read more

Natural Law without Nature? Aquinas to the Rescue

Natural law has had a hard time in the modern world. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) castigated the natural law theorists of his day for promoting “personal opinions and sentiments” as standards of right and wrong. He offered utilitarianism as a replacement, versions of which have taken the lead in modern university courses on ethical theory. Immanuel … Read more

Immaculate Mary

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! Over at First Things, David Mills has an excellent column on just what this doctrine means, why we believe it, and why it so confuses our Protestant brothers and sisters: [Mary] is, [Pope Pius IX] wrote, “far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God … Read more

‘Death Dignified by Christ’

Over at First Things, David Mills tells the poignant story of his father’s death — one that, by any modern standard, would have been considered humiliating and undignified. It wasn’t pretty, Mills admits, but he says that his father’s willing acceptance of his circumstances was more “dignified” than any easy way out: This is what … Read more

Election Day Roundup

I just returned from my polling place — things were awfully quiet in this corner of Baltimore — and thought I might do an Election Day roundup. First, if you’re looking for an interactive election map to keep track of results, the Huffington Post has a good one. *          *   … Read more

Jody Bottum No Longer Editor at First Things

Reports have been circulating the last few days that Jody Bottum is no longer the editor of First Things.  The changes on the masthead — listing an “interim editor” — corroborate the truth of those reports. First Things has yet to issue any kind of official comment on the change — until then, it would … Read more

Change, timelessness, and ecclesiological confusion

Over at First Things, our friend David Mills thumbs through an eye rolling interview with Boston College Theology Dean Mark Massa, SJ. Father sounds all the usual progressive Catholic notes, and in doing so, reveals a surprising confusion over the distinction between the Church’s eternality and her theological and institutional development. “The current battles between … Read more

Benedict and Elizabeth

Tonight is InsideCatholic’s 15th annual Partnership Dinner and Dance, so things will be quiet around the blog as we prepare. I did want to call your attention to one timely item. Elizabeth Scalia had a lovely Tuesday column at First Things, anticipating the meeting today between Benedict XVI and Elizabeth II: At the age of fourteen, … Read more

Danielle’s Helpful “Goose and Gander” Pieces

The Anchoress is gallivanting around Rome at the moment, but she did not leave us blog-less in her absence. Over at First Things, Danielle Bean, Sally Thomas, and our very own Simcha have been busy writing and posting and creating havoc in Elizabeth’s stead. Over the weekend, Danielle had a series of posts that really caught my … Read more

Friday Free-for-All: August 20

It’s Friday! Just a few quick links this morning: Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up? One professor is pushing to have the 20s recognized “as a distinct life stage, which he calls ’emerging adulthood.’” Yet another treatment developed using adult stem cells — this time to rebuild … Read more

In Praise of Father Schall

Over at First Things, George Weigel has written an excellent tribute to a man much beloved around here: Father James Schall. Father Schall is entirely incapable of blowing his own horn, so Weigel must do it for him: He is a deeply learned man, yet he wears his learning lightly. He looks the part of … Read more

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