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Stay Outside

From the June/July 2023 Print Edition

When I first moved to Toronto, I used to pass a certain office building on my way to work. The windows, main door, and wall facing the street were plastered with signs telling visitors that this space was scent-free, smoke-free, violence-free, a place where harassment and disrespect were “not . . . . Continue Reading »

Knowing Animals, Knowing God

From the May 2023 Print Edition

Should we care about extinction? We hear all kinds of numbers about this. At the top end, some claim that well over 10,000 species of life, animal and vegetable, are disappearing every year. This is exponentially higher than the “natural” (that is, not human-influenced) rate of species . . . . Continue Reading »

Unmasking the Young

From the April 2023 Print Edition

One of the priests I most admire grew up on a farm on the Canadian plains. The virtues of farm life transfer well to the parish: discipline, hard work, showing up, getting things done on time, maintaining relationships, helping people work together. And, not least, a kind of straightforward openness . . . . Continue Reading »

Practice Without Purpose

From the March 2023 Print Edition

Not long ago, while in London, I passed by two street singers. A young man and woman, red-faced and with a smiling ­seriousness, were performing a version of the sixteenth-century song, “John, Come Kiss Me Now.” The small spectacle was wonderful: ­gentle, lilting, innocent, and mischievous all . . . . Continue Reading »

Unseen Worlds

From the February 2023 Print Edition

I am among the foremost skeptics of science’s pretensions. But I count myself among the first to express amazement and thanks for revelations that scientific work has provided—not so much discovering “new” worlds as uncovering hidden worlds. Consider the amazing event of January 14, . . . . Continue Reading »

An Honest Magazine

From Web Exclusives

Rigorous analysis, the value of persons, humility, correction, and—oh yes—the truth of God: First Things has been sticking to this for years, through both the light rumbles and seismic shakings of our times.  Continue Reading »

Slippery Slopes

From the January 2023 Print Edition

The Canadian government, with its leaders, functionaries, and even its medical acolytes, may well deserve to be charged with crimes against humanity. I am not speaking about crimes done against indigenous peoples, a different area of moral and judicial concern. I have in mind another set of crimes, . . . . Continue Reading »

Ancients and Moderns

From the December 2022 Print Edition

We are no better than our ancestors. I firmly believe this, although apparently many others do not. My disagreement with prevailing opinion concerns more than current academic arrogance and anachronism with respect to our ancestors. I’m opposed to the sweeping trends of popular attitude and public . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Genius

From the November 2022 Print Edition

“This is the main road God takes to come to us: our recognition of our own ignorance.” So said Stephen of Muret, a medieval hermit and purported founder of the Grandmontine order of monks that disappeared in the eighteenth century. The idea that wisdom comes from admitting our own ignorance was . . . . Continue Reading »

The Last Lambeth Conference

From the October 2022 Print Edition

July’s was probably the last recognizable assembly of the Lambeth Conference we shall see in this generation (and perhaps the next). No longer will “all” the bishops of the Anglican Communion gather, but only some, and only from some places. No longer will the deliberation of the Communion’s . . . . Continue Reading »