Marriage is Not a Social Convention

From First Thoughts

In a Web Exclusive article today, I elaborate problems that I see in Amoris Laetitia. Here on First Thoughts, I want to discuss the parts of Amoris Laetitia that are especially helpful for an engaged couple. The document offers an excellent diagnosis of why marriage can be difficult in our time: . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

From Web Exclusives

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

Winter Songs

From the January 2016 Print Edition

Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession by ian bostridge knopf, 528 pages, $29 One hundred and fifty years ago, lieder—art songs, in English—held a place in society that no music holds today. These were songs for a soloist with piano accompaniment, something for two people of . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis and the Bishops

From Web Exclusives

A Catholic bishop recently became the first member of the hierarchy known to have met with Kim Davis. According to her account, the bishop thanked her for her courage, told her to “stay strong,” assured her of prayers, requested hers in return, and gave her and her husband rosaries. A few days . . . . Continue Reading »

Teaching the Family

From First Thoughts

Love Is Our Mission, a preparatory catechesis on family tied to the Catholic Church’s upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, begins exactly as it should: with Jesus revealing that being ­created in the image and likeness of God means being created to offer others the gift of ourselves. Continue Reading »

Christmas in Harvard Square

From First Thoughts

Christmas in Harvard Square is the first recording of the St. Paul’s Choir school, the only Catholic boys’ choir school in America. Led by Mr. John Robinson, a former assistant from Canterbury Cathedral, the boys take their music and their faith seriously. Continue Reading »

The Domestic Church

From First Thoughts

Here’s something shocking that the bishops said about marriage—not the bishops in the Synod in Rome right now, but the Fathers of Vatican II. In Gaudium et Spes, they said that the task of being a father or mother is a munus, a Latin word that means service, gift, duty, and office. Continue Reading »

Suffer the Children

From Web Exclusives

The discussion preceding the synod of bishops on the family has ignored the most vulnerable party in divorces and remarriages: children. In so doing, it mirrors the discussion of sex and marriage in western culture more broadly, which focuses on the gratification of the desires of adults—however legitimate—while paying no attention to the needs of children. Continue Reading »

Advice for Grad School Students

From First Thoughts

It took me five years of graduate school to realize that my study is a vocation. My thinking about this was prompted by finally reading A.G. Sertillanges’s The Intellectual Life, which along with Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture and Elizabeth Corey’s “Learning in Love” make essential reading for anyone considering graduate work or a career in the intellectual world. Culling insights from those thinkers and from my own time in graduate school, I thought I would offer some thoughts for those beginning graduate school. Continue Reading »