R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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Mortification of the Flesh

From First Thoughts

I’ve been reading John Cassian’s Conferences lately, a work that along with his Institutes were written at the beginning of the fifth century. Cassian’s goal is to convey to his Latin-speaking readers the spiritual wisdom of early Egyptian monasticism, and he lived with the monks . . . . Continue Reading »

South Dakota Dreamin’

From Web Exclusives

Two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the Imperial era, Livy wrote a history of Rome. He feared “the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.” He was not optimistic… . Continue Reading »

The Failures of the Church

From First Thoughts

I’m like most. The latest wave of revelations about clerical sexual abuse demoralizes me. I’m not wavering in my conviction that the one true and apostolic communion of the saints subsists in the Catholic Church. I think of what St Paul says: “We have this treasure in earthen . . . . Continue Reading »

The Burden of History

From First Thoughts

In the pages of his blog for World Affairs, David Reiff has been musing of late about the ways in which historical consciousness influences our political and social imaginations. His reflections on historical memory, especially the tendency for societies to carefully tend the fires of past . . . . Continue Reading »

A Jewish Defense of a Catholic Preacher

From First Thoughts

Yesterday’s Jerusalem Pos t features an op-ed by Alon Goshen-Gottstei n that defends Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa’s Good Friday sermon last week at St. Peters in Rome. The sermon was in the news because Fr. Cantalamessa drew parallels between the recent media treatment of the pedophilia . . . . Continue Reading »

Keep Philosophy Away From the Barricades

From First Thoughts

Among contemporary American philosophers, Martha Nussbaum has long represented the best and the worst of the urgent liberal conscience. One feels the moral seriousness of her work—and one worries (at least I do) that intellectual corners are being cut and complexities set aside so that her . . . . Continue Reading »

More on Thiessen’s Moral Muddles

From First Thoughts

For those interested in a detailed discussion of the flaws in Marc Thiessen’s use of double effect to justify “enhanced interrogation techniques,” as well as a sober overall judgment about the moral status of our interrogation policies after 9/11, see Christopher Tollefsen’s . . . . Continue Reading »