The Forgotten Pogrom

From Web Exclusives

On August 23 of this year, armed men stormed a Hindu school in the Kandhamal district in Orissa, a remote and destitute state in eastern India, and killed the Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his followers. (Saraswati had belonged to a radical Hindu association opposed to the . . . . Continue Reading »

T.S. Eliot on Religion without Humanism

From Web Exclusives

I recently needed to track down a reference in a long out-of-print anthology called Humanism and America: Essays on the Outlook of Modern Civilization , published back in 1930. Having got my citation, I was going to return the book when I caught sight, in the table of contents, of a contribution . . . . Continue Reading »

Atheism and Atonement

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In his delightful comic romp Slouching Towards Kalamazoo , novelist Peter de Vries describes an amusing debate on the existence of God between an atheist dentist and a Methodist minister. The minister had previously published a pious essay for the local secular paper¯an op-ed piece that was . . . . Continue Reading »

Newman on Conversion

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Last Friday, Father Richard John Neuhaus, in a piece about the possibilities of reconverting the nation of England to the ancient faith, made a passing reference to Cardinal Newman’s diffidence about actively seeking Anglican converts to the Catholic Church and specifically cited . . . . Continue Reading »

Atheism and Violence

From Web Exclusives

Books advocating atheism have recently been enjoying a modest boomlet. Sales are solid, book readings are sold out, and their authors grace the highbrow talk shows and op-ed pages in prestigious newspapers and periodicals. But their arguments are shopworn, stale hand-me-downs and threadbare . . . . Continue Reading »

Are Protestants Heretics?

From Web Exclusives

My lucubrations for today’s webposting would like to argue just this one single point: Doctrinal clarity is lost when Catholics call Protestant heretics. To be sure, that habit of unthinkingly hurling accusations of heresy at Protestants pretty much died out after the Second Vatican Council, . . . . Continue Reading »

Purpose: Biological, Biblical, or Both?

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In one of his early books, Untimely Meditations , Friedrich Nietzsche spins a tale that, in paraphrase, goes like this: Once upon a time, on a minuscule planet orbiting a mediocre star on the edge of a backwater galaxy, clever little animals emerged from the slime¯and not longer after began . . . . Continue Reading »

Does Doubt Belong to Faith?

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The recent publication of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., with its frank avowals of the struggles with darkness of someone widely regarded as a saint (and not just by Catholics), has raised once more the question of the role of doubt in the life of faith. Are faith and . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer and Politics

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Last Friday, on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross (September 14), Pope Benedict’s motu proprio (a genre of decree indicating the pope is acting "on his own initiative") titled Summorum Pontificum took legal effect. I cannot predict at this early date how much of a demand there . . . . Continue Reading »