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 »

First Links — 4.29.16

Give Us This Day Our Daily Hedgehog
Leah Libresco, Aleteia

The Librarian Who Saved Timbuktu's Treasures from Al-Quaeda
Joshua Hammer, Wall Street Journal

Corporeality Bites
Rachel Lu, National Review

China may be Readying New Crackdown on Religion
Associated Press, Crux

A Conversation with Camile Paglia
Tyler Cowen, Medium

Shakespeare Not Our Contemporary
James Bowman, New Criterion

The Smug Style in American Liberalism
Emmett Rensin, Vox

How I Discovered True Masculinity
Matt Moore, Gospel Coalition

My Unexpected Pregnancy Turned Out Better Than Everyone Expected
Heather Scott, Verily

Archetypes of Exorcism

Ray Russell enjoys the distinction and curse of being a horror writer’s horror writer. Though he helped rescue baroque gothic tales from Lovecraftian tendrils with his more Hemingway­esque renderings, he achieved nothing higher than cult status. Better-known figures such as ­Stephen King and ­Guillermo del Toro tout him, and his short story “Sardonicus,” a minor classic, received a film adaptation for which he wrote the screenplay. Continue Reading »

Soul of France

In the first pages of We Have Been Friends Together, Raïssa ­Maritain recounts one of her earliest memories. She is five, and her parents have rented a room in their house to a woman who holds classes for young children. She remembers watching this strange woman from afar with hushed reverence: “I heard the multiplication table being repeated . . . and I was overwhelmed with the feeling that here was instruction and knowledge and a truth to be known; and my heart almost burst with the desire to know.” . . . . Continue Reading »

See No Evil

If there’s any good reason to distrust the self-awareness of contemporary progressives, it's the cultural epidemic of pornography. Of all the Sexual Revolution’s fruits, porn is arguably the one that has rotted fastest. It has defied the categorical wisdom of libertines by growing in users and . . . . Continue Reading »