The Friday We Call Good

From Web Exclusives

The celebration of the Passion of the Lord is dramatic. It is the climax of all sacrifice. The curtain is torn. The temple is destroyed. On this day, when “Christ our passover was sacrificed,” the Christians fall prostrate in grief and sorrow. The whole range of human emotions experienced in the life of Christ are now on bended knee—sorrowful suffering, dripping blood, bloody flesh—the grief is palpable. Continue Reading »

Forgetting Allen Tate

From Web Exclusives


Today Allen Tate is remembered—if at all—as a Southern Agrarian or New Critic. His name barely registers in discussions of “Catholic” writers. It was not always so. Tate’s 1950 conversion from atheism to Catholicism was so well celebrated that Marshall McLuhan would say that his was “the nearest American equivalent to Newman’s conversion.”Why do we hear so little of this American Newman? I started to wonder recently why do we not hear of his going to Mass with Ernest Hemingway in Paris, his pilgrimage to see T.S. Eliot in London, his correspondence with W.H. Auden? Why had I not heard of his time as poet-in-residence at Princeton where he spent countless hours discussing the Catholic faith with Jacques Maritain – who would eventually become his godfather? A friend who knows his work said to me, it is because he wrote the poem “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” and because we think he defended an old South that we are keen to expunge from our stained memory. Continue Reading »

The Joyful Mystery of Christmas

From Web Exclusives

A recent Pew study has found that instead of being at war with Christmas, Americans love it. Three-quarters of Americans believe that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, and that angels appeared to shepherds to tell them that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem. Over 80 percent of Americans believe Luke’s account that Jesus was laid in a manger. The study found that about 65 percent believed in all the historical aspects of the Nativity—about the same percentage who will attend church this Christmas. Continue Reading »

On Marriage and Temple Desecration

From First Thoughts

The Vatican is sponsoring this week (Nov 17–19) an international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman in marriage called Humanum. It is sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith along with the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The curial sponsors reflect the broad import the Vatican is giving this three-day event, as well as its significance for ecumenism and inter-religious cooperation. Continue Reading »