Renaissance

Today’s Church Needs a Renaissance Pope

Right now, the Church needs proud leaders devoted to preserving civilization and inspiring excellence. What it doesn’t need are pusillanimous demagogues committed to seeking approval.

Confessions of a Guelph

Poor old Philippo Argenti languishes in the fifth circle of his Inferno, among those condemned for the sin of wrath. He treads water in the Styx, jostling with other damned souls to stay afloat; others sink beneath the surface, forever drowning but never dying. A contemporary of Dante’s, Argenti tries to climb aboard the boat … Read more

Enemies of Christianity at the Time of the Reformation

Nearly everyone knows the basics of the Reformation, the first being that 500 years ago, it began with Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg castle door on October 31, 1517—except that scholars now think that what probably happened was that Luther mailed them, not nailed them, to his archbishop, Albrecht of Brandenburg. … Read more

The Real Significance of the Crusades

Sometimes the story goes like this: The Catholic Church attacked the Holy Land in 1095 and relations between Christians and Muslims have been poisoned ever since. This simplistic interpretation is not only false, it misses the real significance of the Crusades. They reacquainted Europe with her past, helped bring her out of the so-called Dark … Read more

St. Thomas More: From Renaissance Man to Christian Martyr

When we consider the period in Western civilization known today as the Renaissance, we encounter a time of notable change in virtually every area of culture. Visual art was departing from the purely symbolic, representative forms of the Middle Ages and exhibiting a more earthly, mundane realism, and while it continued to concentrate on religious … Read more

The Coming Christian Renaissance

The linear conception of history is so seductive, even antagonistic groups like Enlightenment philosophers and Marxists adopt it.  It pervades their attitude toward religion. Both believe society matures as it sheds its religious heritage. Infantile societies practice religion, but progressive societies are secular, they maintain. Voltaire viciously expressed Enlightenment hostility toward organized religion when he … Read more

Sir Kenneth Clark’s Mindless Civilization

I’m currently in the midst of watching Sir Kenneth Clark’s celebrated Civilisation, first broadcast by the BBC in 1969 and subsequently by PBS. I had heard so much about it, and remember watching it as a child, and was looking forward to having a guided tour of Western Civilisation by one of its most outspoken … Read more

Why Catholics Like Einstein

This article originally appeared in the March 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine. Science is mankind’s great success story since the Renaissance. Only the most obdurate Luddite can regret the computer chip, the Hubble telescope, and the heart bypass. But these material triumphs have come at a philosophical cost. The scientific method has been so successful … Read more

The Unhidden Faith of Lady Falkland

While plenty of scholars continue to debate Shakespeare’s Catholicity (or lack thereof), there are other English Renaissance dramatists whose Catholicism is less conjectural. One such Catholic is Elizabeth Cary (Lady Falkland, officially), the first known woman to publish an original play in English with the Tragedy of Miriam the Fair Queen of Jewry in 1613. … Read more

The Price Is Right

Last week I outlined just how complicated the economy really is. Society is confronted with the almost incalculable problem of how to meet the indefinite needs of a massive and diverse population. Anyone who has raised a decent-sized family knows just how hard it is to satisfy even a small group of people whom you … Read more

The Power of Obedience

“Submit yourselves one to another, as in the Lord,” says St. Paul, and then he follows his command with a list of applications, involving relationships among husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, citizens and their magistrates, and all Christians and their elders in the Faith. The Christian life, as the saints and … Read more

Nature by the Numbers

Today’s YouTube treasure is neither particularly humorous nor stop-motion-animation-y. But what it lacks in those departments, it more than makes up for with its high “math geek” quotient and sheer mind-blowing awesomeness: Cristóbal Vila, the man behind the short, has a fascinating website documenting the ideas and process behind his creation: Artists and architects have … Read more

How Beauty Can Renew the Catholic Church

The criticism of a recent column, “My New Year’s Wish for the Church,” forced me to think more deeply about the road to renewal in the Catholic Church. Several readers argued I was forcing Evangelical habits on a Catholic parish. Of course, I would still insist that Catholics need to be more welcoming to each … Read more

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