The Realism of the Supernatural

Ronald was staring with wild incomprehension at the toaster, which was stubbornly refusing to relinquish the toast. This sentence, from British writer Alice Thomas Ellis’ 1990 novel, The Inn at the Edge of the World , may well win my personal award for Best-Ever Pithy Character Sketch. In this . . . . Continue Reading »

Healthcare with a Conscience

Healthcare institutions owned and operated by the Catholic Church are, and always have been, an important component of the nation’s healthcare infrastructure. By 1872, there were seventy-five Catholic hospitals in operation around the United States, founded and staffed mainly by women’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Soulful Unbelief

Ages ago, Lionel Trilling wrote in favor of the “little magazines.” The Partisan Review had put out an anthology after the Second World War, and Trilling’s introduction drew attention to a simple fact: There is not a large market for sophisticated literary and intellectual voices. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Coming Kulturkampf

Many who do not embrace the Christian faith nonetheless have a high appreciation of the importance of Christianity to the cultural and social order. Theirs is an instrumental view of religion. Edward Gibbon caught the idea nicely, and in his usual caustic manner, when describing the religious cults . . . . Continue Reading »

The December Issue Is Here!

Christmas time is almost here¯aarrgghh, how I hate that sentiment when Halloween is not long past, election day barely over, and Thanksgiving not yet come.Still, in the world of magazine publishing, you have to think ahead, and that joyful season of the year is at our throats again. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Culture Wars, R.I.P.?

Only four years ago, the media were abuzz with the revelation that a fissure ran through America, dividing us into Republican red states and Democratic blue states, polarity as much cultural as political. Red states are NASCAR and barbecue, while blue states are NPR and brie. Red states are . . . . Continue Reading »

For Pro-Lifers, A New Day

The worst aspect of an Obama presidency, I have been telling friends for months, will be his Supreme Court appointments. They will set the so-called constitutional right to an abortion in concrete for years to come. While this remains true, Sen. Obama‚Äôs victory challenges pro-lifers in two ways.We . . . . Continue Reading »

Assisted Suicide: The Wind in Their Sails

Between 1994 and last Tuesday, the assisted-suicide movement in this country was moribund. After Oregon passed Measure 16 (the Death with Dignity Act) in 1994 and saw it go into effect in 1997—despite widespread expectations, myriad state legislative efforts, and two voter referenda (Michigan . . . . Continue Reading »

Three Movie Reviews

Apocalypto When Apocalypto was announced¯a film set in the waning days of the Mayan Empire, with a no-star cast speaking Yucatec Maya¯you could be forgiven for thinking Waterworld . Well, Apocalypto has been unveiled, and it is more Apocalypse Now Redux than the Kevin Costner debacle. In . . . . Continue Reading »

Rocky Is My Prayer Partner

In the sixth installment of the Rocky series¯which opens today¯a fifty-something-year-old Rocky Balboa sits nervously awaiting the call to enter the arena and take on the heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a spectacle rivaled only by his first shot at the title, thirty years . . . . Continue Reading »