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David Mills is former executive editor of First Things.

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Withheld Writing

From First Thoughts

“For many of us who love the act of writing—even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy—there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one’s thoughts that has a value apart from the proximity or even perhaps the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Celibate’s Definitive Yes

From First Thoughts

Priestly celibacy, Pope Benedict XVI recently told a gathering of priests, as reported by the Italian journalist Sandro Magister, is an anticipation “of the world of the resurrection.” It is the sign “that God exists, that God is part of my life, that I can base my life on Christ, . . . . Continue Reading »

Smuggled In Doctrines

From First Thoughts

We need to stop smuggling “comprehensive doctrines” into our public discourse, because that deceptive refusal to admit metaphysics distorts and corrupts it, writes senior editor R. R. Reno in Metaphysics and the Common Good , today’s “On the Square” article. In . . . . Continue Reading »

It Just Needed to be Somebody Real

From First Thoughts

Particularly for pastors: a friend who pastors a small Evangelical church nearby writes in response to   Memorial Gratitude , my reflection on the difficulty some of us have in feeling the kind of gratitude that soldiers deserve: I tried something in church on the Sunday before Memorial . . . . Continue Reading »

Blood for Blood

From First Thoughts

Appearing tomorrow “On the Square”: Joseph Bottum reflects on the expected execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner this coming Friday as “a strong example of why we don’t need to use the death penalty—and why, as a consequence, we need not to use the death penalty.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Humanities Nonsense

From First Thoughts

The nonsense many college students are taught “takes three forms: condescension, literature taught as a crossword puzzle, and historicism,” writes Fr. Edward Oakes in Nonsense Drives Them Away , today’s “On the Square” feature. He is describing a new book review . . . . Continue Reading »

The EPA and the Amish

From First Thoughts

An interesting exercise in church-state relations: Amish Farming Draws Rare Government Scrutiny . Their cows generate heaps of manure that easily washes into streams and flows onward into the Chesapeake Bay. And the Environmental Protection Agency . . . is determined to crack down. The farmers . . . . Continue Reading »