The State Without an Executioner

I don’t think anybody was surprised. On April 16, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision upholding the constitutional legitimacy of lethal injection as a method for executing those condemned to death for their crimes. It’s hard to imagine any other outcome. If hanging and . . . . Continue Reading »

Benedict in America: As of Thursday

Perhaps it was just as well to try to get the question out of the way right at the start. For weeks, it seemed that every report and comment began with the question of whether Pope Benedict would be addressing the sex abuse crisis and, if so, how. While still on the way to America, a news . . . . Continue Reading »

Friday of Good Shepherd Sunday

The Thursday Mass at Nationals Park introduced the Holy Father to aspects of the aesthetic suffering endured by the faithful in America. The background notes we have been supplied are not specific about who, for instance, is to blame for the choice of music. The whole thing was overweeningly, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Papal Week That Was

Triumphalism, as we all know, is a very bad thing. On the other hand, defeatism is worse. In any event, I am persuaded that the apostolic visit just completed was a triumph. As is probably evident from my earlier postings on the visit, as well as some of my comments on EWTN, I was not sure about . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Banality of Abortion as Art

Yale senior Aliza Shvarts has gone too far¯or maybe she hasn’t. According to a press release that Shvarts sent to the Yale Daily News on Wednesday, April 16, over a recent nine-month period, the senior art major artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” and then . . . . Continue Reading »

Opium and Revolution

Marx famously said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” The implied analysis has become commonplace. Ordinary people suffer under a system of exploitation, and their hearts . . . . Continue Reading »

Benedict and Beauty

In my commentary here and in my coverage of the papal visit with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN, I had occasion to make somewhat critical remarks about the way the Mass was celebrated at Nationals Park in Washington. My observation that New York, by way of contrast, did itself proud was quite untouched by . . . . Continue Reading »

The May Issue of First Things is Here!

The May issue of First Things is now on the newsstands. And what an issue it is. You want serious? We can do serious. Here’s Avery Cardinal Dulles speaking magisterially in “ The Freedom of Theology ”: Although the functions of the magisterium and of the theologians are distinct, each . . . . Continue Reading »

Sensible Jane

The fire dances with hypnotic frenzy, shedding blaze and shadow across the room. Fevered palms fumble, shoulders tremble, and hearts heave. “Do you truly love me?”¯“Trust me.” “But when will you come back?”¯“Soon, very soon.” It is a steamy scene, a . . . . Continue Reading »