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J’Accuse

From the May 2022 Print Edition

Bad reviews killed the poet Keats, so the story goes. Even though the tale has been debunked, it remains popularly repeated. We enjoy the éclat of unjust criticism, especially of the famous, even as we relish pitying the weakness of the oversensitive. The great film director Akira . . . . Continue Reading »

Mirrors of Perfection

From the April 2022 Print Edition

Our society is confused about children. We allow their destruction in the womb and their manufacture in the laboratory, a contradictory denial and affirmation of their inestimable value that tells us a great deal about our strange times. In our cold calculus, we allow that children are necessary to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Table

From the March 2022 Print Edition

The Church’s Lenten disciplines have often been seen in terms of bodily divestment: giving up food, giving up passions, giving away money. Such attention is rightly meant to turn us to God. But we should beware of giving up, in the process, the table, around which our bodily life and needs find . . . . Continue Reading »

It Is Enough

From the February 2022 Print Edition

The other day, I stumbled across a wonderful live recording of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale), a small theater piece he wrote with the Swiss novelist Charles Ferdinand Ramuz at the end of World War I. I was suddenly flooded with memories of the elaborately . . . . Continue Reading »

Divine Micro-Climates

From the January 2022 Print Edition

The Baron de Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws (1748) has been among the most influential modern political treatises, not least in the United States. Montesquieu’s discussion of the “separation of powers” proved crucial for James Madison’s own constructive thinking about the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Praise of Color

From the December 2021 Print Edition

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is open again. One has to book an entry time so that the museum can control the (tiny) crowds during the time of the virus. It’s hardly a fight to get in. Architecturally redone not so long ago with a steady but meditative touch by Frank Gehry, the AGO houses small . . . . Continue Reading »

Dark Age Theology

From the November 2021 Print Edition

We are facing a Dark Age. In this new era, theology will need to be sparer, stripped of speculative distractions, courageously at home with death and the “other world,” and, most important, deeply engrossed in Scripture. Otherwise, the public face of the Christian faith will be washed away by . . . . Continue Reading »

The Tragic Atheist

From the October 2021 Print Edition

“I painted to be loved.” That is how the artist Francis Bacon (1909–1992) described his impulse to create. Bacon’s work came to be part of the canon of late twentieth-century British painting, hanging in major museums around the world. His brutal images of contorted bodies, slabs of meat, . . . . Continue Reading »