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The Virtues of the Speakeasy

From Web Exclusives

If you go down St. Mark’s Place, between First and Avenue A, you’ll find a hotdog place“Crif Dogs, to be exact. If you go into Crif, you’ll see a counter at the end serving hotdogs. Two old arcade machines sit on the right. On your left there’s a phone booth, unremarkable since payphones were last used when those arcade machines were brand new… . Continue Reading »

The Bees Are Back

From First Thoughts

This year, the bees are back in the Exsultet . The Church’s prayer of rejoicing before the Paschal Candle never ceased to mention them in the Latin text, but the English translation omitted them for no good reason. Since the new translation of the Mass is more careful in rendering the Latin . . . . Continue Reading »

The Catholic Case for Protestant Hymns

From Web Exclusives

Should Catholics sing hymns at Mass? Given the state of Catholic liturgical music, it’s a fair question. In the last century, Catholics exchanged their musical solid food for milk”usually skim and on the edge of going sour. Hymns at Mass are a recent addition to the liturgy… . Continue Reading »

Should Christians Be Wary of Conscience Talk?

From Web Exclusives

Does freedom of conscience lead to a naked public square? When religious people try to protect their own rights of conscience, does this undermine their ability to advance their convictions publicly? In responding to the recent HHS mandate for religious employers to provide contraception and abortifacients, religious groups and individuals have argued that their rights of conscience trump any potential desire of their employees for these medications. Their private religious convictions about contraception and abortion prevent them from taking these actions, and under the First Amendment they cannot be coerced to violate those convictions… . Continue Reading »

The End of Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

From First Thoughts

Today in “A Stem Cell Report,” Rebecca Oas writes about yet another way in which we might be able to use ethically unproblematic stem cells?in this case, from hair follicles?for medical treatment. Again and again, it seems, scientists are finding actual cures that come from adult stem . . . . Continue Reading »

Everyone Forgets Advent

From First Thoughts

Everyone forgets Advent, Christians lament as they feel the assault of yet another holiday song on their battered spiritual senses. We seek ways of carving out a space for the preparation of our hearts. We want to find nooks in which to hide for contemplation, even if only for a bit. This year, I . . . . Continue Reading »

Martin Sheen Goes to Compostela

From Web Exclusives

Walking through Europe, one finds the relics of Christianity. Not relics in the Christian sense of the term”the cherished remains of the beloved dead, the things that make real our connection to the believers who have gone before”but in the literal sense of the Latin: relicta, things that have been left behind, abandoned, or forsaken. The monastery has become a museum filled with placards that don’t quite know what to make of the former occupants… . Continue Reading »

Sexual Economics

From the Aug/Sept 2011 Print Edition

Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker Oxford, 295 pages, $24.95 A full 84 percent of unmarried Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three have already had sex. Sexual standards have disappeared, book after . . . . Continue Reading »