On Loving Karen

From First Thoughts

Thank you, lady, for reminding me what it was like To fall in love with Karen Fifty years ago. It was her eyes that did me in, Blue as the sapphire stones She bought along the Indian Ocean. Blue, with sadness deep behind them, And merriment like candle’s flames on golden foil. Eyes incapable of . . . . Continue Reading »

Three Precisions: Personal Liberty

From Web Exclusives

“By its liberty, the human person transcends the stars and all the world of nature,” Jacques Maritain once wrote. No one has reflected more deeply on the phenomenology of the human person than Karol Wojtyla”John Paul II. The person, in his view, is an originating source of creative action in the world. The human person is able to reflect on his or her own past, find it wanting, repent, and change direction… . Continue Reading »

Three Precisions: Common Good

From Web Exclusives

Three of the terms used most frequently in Catholic social thought”and now, more generally, in much secular discourse”are social justice, the common good, and personal (or individual) liberty. Often, these terms are used loosely and evasively. Not a few authors avoid defining them altogether, as if assuming that they need no definition. But all three need, in every generation, to recover their often lost precision. Otherwise, the silent artillery of time steadily levels their carefully wrought strong points and leaves an entire people intellectually and morally defenseless. … Continue Reading »

Three Precisions: Social Justice

From Web Exclusives

Three of the terms used most frequently in Catholic social thought”and now, more generally, in much secular discourse”are social justice, the common good, and personal (or individual) liberty. Often, these terms are used loosely and evasively. Not a few authors avoid defining them altogether, as if assuming that they need no definition. But all three need, in every generation, to recover their often lost precision. Otherwise, the silent artillery of time steadily levels their carefully wrought strong points and leaves an entire people intellectually and morally defenseless… . Continue Reading »

Remembering 1989

From Web Exclusives

For the ten years beginning in 1982, I had the privilege of serving on the Board of Radio Free Europe (for East-Central Europe) and Radio Liberty (for the vast Soviet Union). President Reagan had declared it the goal of the United States to win the Cold War, not just accept it as our long-term fate, and our job was to report the realities on the ground as accurately as we could… . Continue Reading »