John Updike the Blogger

Every critic knows that John Updike was a gleeful child of his age, but did he rise above it? The common complaint against him is that the greatness of his style eclipsed the thinness of his substance, and Adam Begley’s new biography, full of insightful and sympathetic detail, does little to dim such prejudices. Begley portrays Updike as a man who could not stop writing and as a writer who could not stop thinking about himself. For Begley, in fact, Updike comes across as America’s first (and finest) blogger. Continue Reading »

Fatherless Churches

Almost fifty years ago, when the Catholic Church unveiled its new rite of Mass in the Sistine Chapel, Cardinal John Heenan, then Archbishop of Westminster, remarked that if the Church used the new liturgy in ordinary parishes it would “soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children.” In 1967, Heenan could proudly assert that in his country “not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men” regularly attended Mass. . . . Continue Reading »

An Evangelical Looks at Pope Benedict XVI

With Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation this morning, Evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a college football fan might view the departure of his rival team’s head coach. But the global stakes are much, much higher. As Pope Benedict steps down, I think it’s important for us to recognize the legacy of the last two bishops of Rome that we ought to honor and conserve: an emphasis on human dignity … Continue Reading »

Rational Control

We learned last night that Timothy Geithner was confirmed as the Obama administration’s Secretary of the Treasury.  While this outcome was never in real doubt, the revelation that he had failed to report upwards of $26,000 in self-employment taxes when he was an overseas employee of the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Persistence of the Catholic Moment

This essay by Richard John Neuhaus, who passed away January 8, 2009 , was originally printed in the February 2003 issue of First Things .In 1987, while I was still a Lutheran, I published a book titled The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World . There I argued that the . . . . Continue Reading »

Conserving Liberalism?

We enter a season in which the meaning of conservatism becomes the ping-pong ball du jour.  With not only an election, but the meaning of the “movement” in itself in the contention, people of various beliefs and commitments seek to lay claim to the word and thereby to the direction . . . . Continue Reading »

Right to Be a Lady

The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, . . . . Continue Reading »