Max and the Pontifex Maximus

From First Thoughts

Last year young Benedict XVI fans were treated to Joseph and Chico , an inside look at the early life of the Holy Father—through the eyes of his tabby cat. Now, we have Part II: Max and Benedict , a bird’s eye view of Ratzinger’s Vatican life—through the eyes of a blue thrush. . . . . Continue Reading »

A Picture’s Worth …

From First Thoughts

A picture, even a school yearbook picture, can be surprisingly prophetic. Fr. Neuhaus’ Lutheran seminary snapshot, for example, shows a confident young man gazing determinately out from behind a friend’s scrawled “Pope.” The scribbler, perhaps, was on to something. Now, from . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage and the Courts

From First Thoughts

I should add “Cont’d,” since this is hardly the first, or last, instance of state courts’ deliberating on and dictating the meaning of marriage. Last Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state’s existing law defining marriage as a union between one . . . . Continue Reading »

Immensity Cloistered

From First Thoughts

From John Donne, the great seventeenth-century lyric poet and Catholic-turned-Anglican churchman, we have this lovely poem on the mystery of the Incarnation. It comes near the beginning of his sonnet sequence La Corona , which takes key moments the story of Redemption—mysteries of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Honoring an Unlicensed Humanist

From First Thoughts

Leon Kass, the National Endowment for Humanities announced today , will be receiving the U.S. government’s most prestigious honor for intellectual achievement in the humanities. This May, Kass will be delivering NEH’s thirty-eighth annual Jefferson Lecture, entitled: . . . . Continue Reading »

Proposition 8 Thuggery

From First Thoughts

When eerily convenient Prop-8 directories and Google maps were released earlier this winter, accounts of threats and thuggery began accumulating. But how much of this was real intimidation from the left, and how much was the pretense of doom from the right? Writing in the latest issue of the Weekly . . . . Continue Reading »

In the Dock: Marriage and Democracy

From First Thoughts

The debates surrounding Proposition 8—California’s constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman—will reach a head this morning as the state’s Supreme Court convenes to discuss the proposition’s constitutionality. In short, the . . . . Continue Reading »

“Friar Escape”

From First Thoughts

“Friar Escape,” the New York Post headlines read , but anyone familiar with the life and vows of a Franciscan friar—symbolized by the thrice-knotted rope girding a brown robe—reminds each Franciscan friar that his life is not an escape from sacrifice but an active embrace of . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: “Oldest English Words” Identified

From First Thoughts

It might not be tens of thousands of years old like its nominative English counterpart, but the accusative/objective pronoun me is hardly a neologism, much less a confining Victorian corruption. So wrote Benjamin A. Plotinsky earlier this week, over at City Journal . You might be rolling your eyes: . . . . Continue Reading »