Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

For Cardinal O’Brien, A Sad End

From Web Exclusives

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well, it were done quickly.” So speaks Macbeth of the murder of the king, but the words might well be self-applied by someone who finds themselves in the situation faced by Cardinal O’Brien, when he learned of the news stories reporting accusations against him of inappropriate behavior… . Continue Reading »

Goodbye to Cardinal O’Brien

From First Thoughts

The resignation of Cardinal O’Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, within a month of the date on which his formal resignation would normally have taken effect, is both shocking and sad, for he was a well-known and well-liked figure within the Catholic Church in Scotland, in . . . . Continue Reading »

A Tale of Two Thomases

From the December 2012 Print Edition

Consider this description of one of “America’s Byways”: “Traversing the lush hills and farmlands of southern Indiana, and paralleling the mighty Ohio River, this route marks a timeworn and history-rich corridor linking historic villages and farms through a picturesque landscape. Rock . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Erotic Entitlements

From the April 2012 Print Edition

There is a general form of reasoning to which I shall give the name argumentum ad consummationem, which runs as follows. Major premise: Sexual attraction and love are determinants of human happiness and should be consummated where sincerely felt. Minor premise: You cannot choose to whom you are . . . . Continue Reading »

Philosophy Lives

From the January 2011 Print Edition

Philosophy, Étienne Gilson observed, “always buries its undertakers.” “Philosophy,” according to Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their new book The Grand Design, “is dead.” It has “not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics, [and] scientists have . . . . Continue Reading »

Visions of Mary

From Web Exclusives

I am not sure what my own first vision of Mary was, but from an early age I was aware of two images: one a literal picture, the other an imagined scene; and both remain with me half a century later. The picture was a gilded reproduction of an icon, the original of which is displayed in Rome in the Church of Saint Alfonsus Liguiri … Continue Reading »

Dueling Dualism

From the November 2008 Print Edition

Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics by Patrick Lee and Robert P. George Cambridge University Press, 222 pages, $80 Like it or not, the dominant mode of philosophical reflection in the English-speaking world is Anglo-American analytical philosophy. Although this is sometimes . . . . Continue Reading »

What Philosophy Can Do

From the November 2005 Print Edition

Until not so very long ago, many truly great minds devoted themselves to natural theology. In more recent times, however, the subject has receded as the Western world has come under the influence of styles of thinking, which, though varied, have in common a presumption that for now I will simply . . . . Continue Reading »