Hail Thee, Festival Day!

When I was young, my family's favorite hymn was sung on three days of the Church year. We knew it came on Easter and Pentecost, but we scratched our heads when we tried to remember the other festival day hailed in this resounding hymn. Ascension Thursday would catch us each year as a (pleasant) . . . . Continue Reading »

Laboratory Limits that are not Limits

Laboratory researchers have been able to extend the time they can keep a human embryo alive in the lab from nine days to 13 days. Now many are asking, “Why not go beyond the 14-day-post-fertilization limit that has governed this research to date?” Why, indeed? If the embryonic human being—in . . . . Continue Reading »

No Peace with Wicked Law

Those who think an amended C-14, with some regulatory tightening and some provision for religious or conscientious objection, is what even opponents of the bill should now aim at, as the lesser of evils, should think again. Here are some things they should think about:First, C-14 is not a bill to . . . . Continue Reading »

No Apology for Bach's Theology

As the cantor of Leipzig, Bach was responsible for composing music for Sunday ­services, which produced reams of choral ­music, mostly cantatas. Because of this, it would be difficult to find a composer who wrote more sacred music. Like Victoria and Bruckner, Bach’s works stem from his own devotion. But more than any other composer, Bach uses complex music to articulate theology. . . . Continue Reading »

What We've Been Reading—4.29.16

In anticipation of a film adaptation by Martin Scorsese (due this fall), I read Shusaku Endo’s Silence. It’s the story of a Jesuit priest, the most polished product of the counter-reformation Church, sailing to Japan and there encountering brutal persecution.

Why I'm Still a Sucker for John Kasich

I just sent the John Kasich presidential campaign another $100 contribution today. A grain of sand from me to weigh on the side of Kasich staying in the presidential race through the convention.No, I don’t think that Kasich has anything but a vanishingly low probability of winning the GOP . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage is Not a Social Convention

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 »