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Not Duffers, Won't Drown

From the May 2013 Print Edition

These stories are all about unsupervised children,” my oldest daughter observed years ago, when we were reading Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books aloud, one after another, books in which—to offer a rough collective plot summary—some children mess about in boats. “How,” my . . . . Continue Reading »

Newman’s Unusual Feast Day

From First Thoughts

Fr. James Martin notes  Newman’s unusual feast day, the anniversary not of Newman’s “entrance into Heaven,” but of his entrance into, as Newman himself put it, “the Church of Christ.” A convert from Anglicanism myself, I find the emphasis on Newman’s . . . . Continue Reading »

The Close of the Day

From First Thoughts

View the Westminster Hall Speech via the Telegraph ’s live blog. From the same blog, a last glimpse of the Pope as night falls on Britain: “Eagle-eyed Pope fans spot Benedict walking up and down in front of the building, rosary beads in hand before retiring for the night.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Terror Plot Against the Pope?

From First Thoughts

Early this morning, London’s Metropolitan Police arrested five men in connection with a possible terror plot aimed at Pope Benedict XVI. The arrests were made at 0545 BST at addresses in London after counter-terrorism officers received intelligence of a potential threat. The five men have been . . . . Continue Reading »

Who Are These People?

From First Thoughts

There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. — Pope . . . . Continue Reading »

Foster Child

From the March 2010 Print Edition

Everywhere she goes, he goes. She’s brought him here for Sunday tea. He’s been with me two weeks , she says and deftly shifts him on her knee. The rest of us try not to see the fine blue feed-tube up his nose or how his spine won’t hold him up. She says, I’ve called him Samuel. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Killer Instinct

From the January 2010 Print Edition

A friend of mine, in her college days, had a bumper sticker that offered this peaceful counsel: Don’t Buy War Toys . Once, she and a companion were stuck in a traffic jam on the highway, next to several young men in a pickup on their way home from deer hunting. The traffic was creeping along, one . . . . Continue Reading »

The Drama of Hallowmas

From Web Exclusives

As a friend of mine observed recently, there is something medieval about Halloween. The masks, the running around in the dark, the flicker of candles in pumpkins, the smell of leaves and cold air—all of it feels ancient, even primal, somehow. Despite the now-inevitable preponderance of media-inspired costumes, Halloween seems, in execution, far closer to a Last Judgment scene above a medieval church door, or to a mystery play, than it does to Wal-Mart. Continue Reading »