Lovemaking with the Lights On

Father Robert Barron, writing recently on the Ascension of Christ, noted that the feast is difficult for contemporary, largely Greek-influenced, minds to grasp: The key to understanding both the meaning and significance of this feast is a recovery of the Jewish sense of heaven and earth… Jesus’s great prayer, which is constantly on the lips of Christians, is distinctively Jewish in inspiration: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Notice please that this is decidedly not a prayer that we might escape from the earth, but rather that earth and heaven might come together… . Continue Reading »

Old Men Deserving of Gratitude

Watching the old men walk down the street, not marching, exactly, not at their age, but moving with a certain stiffness and purpose, and the even older men sitting in the convertibles driving past, few of us standing on the sidewalk as the Memorial Day parade goes by think of what they suffered, nor of all the men who might have been marching too had they not died in battle… . Continue Reading »

Reading Alan Jacobs on Reading

It seems a rare accomplishment that a book on the pleasures of reading could actually pull off being pleasurable itself. But Alan Jacobs’ newest book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, does just that. It is a marvelous manifesto of sanity in an age of jeremiads about the modern predicament of attention loss on one hand, and those proud champions of distraction singing the hallelujah chorus of a world devoid of long-form books on the other… . Continue Reading »

Being Faithfully UnReligious

At army boot camp, young recruits, like my Number Three son, aren’t given much free time, and what they are given is restricted to just a couple activities: writing letters home and reading the Bible. The boy has never really read the Bible beyond anything he picked up in catechism instruction, so it was an experience. He never finished it cover-to-cover during recruit training, which he said was his goal, but he did write letters home. Incessantly, it seemed, but we were very glad to have them… . Continue Reading »

A Rose by Any Other Name

Which, I wonder, is the greater despair of the comedian? Is it the academic, or the journalist? There’s much to be said for the academic. It takes real comic genius to write as badly as a Jacques Derrida or a Julia Kristeva, with the turgidity of a decadent schoolman and none of the precision. It takes even more to listen to it with a straight face. But my money is on the journalist… . Continue Reading »

On Being the Right Kind of Fool

If you think you dodged the eschatological bullet last week, think again. To paraphrase William Gibson, judgment day is already here”it’s just not very evenly distributed. At least that’s the latest word from radio evangelist and advocate of the imminent eschaton Harold Camping. In a radio broadcast on Monday, Camping explained that the world is still ending, it’s just been delayed a few months. … Continue Reading »

An Open Letter to My Friends in Poland

A son of Poland is now Blessed John Paul II. What is Poland to do now? If a friend might offer a suggestion: The Church in Poland should start looking forward rather than backward. Ever since the late pope’s death in 2005, the Polish Church seems to have been looking over its shoulder at the colossal figure of John Paul II. … Continue Reading »

The Ego vs Meatless Fridays

In her stupendous novel In This House of Brede, author Rumer Godden chronicles the pre- and post-Second-Vatican-Council journey of a successful English professional woman who becomes an enclosed Benedictine nun. When the novel’s main character, Philippa Talbot, is asked by a co-worker, “but will you be able to be obedient, a stiff-necked creature like you?” she responds rather naively, “I shall find it restful.” … Continue Reading »

Families and False Prophets

As you will have noticed, the world did not come to an end”or, to be precise, begin to come to an end”on Saturday evening at 6:00 local time, wherever you happened to be. The latest false prophet to be picked up by the media for the comic possibilities he provided proved to be wrong, as everyone but the gullible and deceived knew he would… . Continue Reading »

Down Syndrome and the Texas Sonogram Law

I hate to do it, but I have to mess with Texas. Hailed as a victory by many in the pro-life movement, the so-called “sonogram law,” passed recently by the Texas Legislature and now awaiting Governor Rick Perry’s signature, requires women seeking an abortion in the Lone Star State to view a sonogram image and listen to a description of the “dimensions of the embryo or fetus … Continue Reading »