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American Pilgrimage

From the February 2020 Print Edition

We began just after daybreak. One by one, the brigades filed out of the parking lot, each singing a different hymn. Turning away from the water, the lengthening line of pilgrims snaked up the hill toward a colossal statue of St. Isaac Jogues. This St. Isaac was not the bashful youth of prayer cards. . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholic America

From the October 2017 Print Edition

Continental Ambitions:  Roman Catholics in North America  by kevin starr ignatius, 675 pages, $34.95 In The Good Shepherd, the 2006 spy film, mobster Joseph Palmi asks CIA agent (and stereotypical WASP) Edward Wilson an insolent question: “We Italians, we got our families . . . . Continue Reading »

Gaul Divided

From the February 2016 Print Edition

The January 7, 2015 terrorist attacks provoked the largest demonstrations in France since the liberation of Paris. The impressive spectacle of many thousands calling themselves “Charlie” suggests that the French all accept the scatologists of Charlie Hebdo as national saints. On this view . . . . Continue Reading »

Reverence for Words: A Case Against Blogging

From Web Exclusives

Someone recently encouraged me to write more, because “words aren’t lifeblood. Words are cheap.” Words are certainly held cheap, and the blogosphere has drastically lowered the going rate. This is a development entirely in conformity with the spirit of the age, which, as Wendell Berry observed, does not ask a man what he can do well but “what he can do fast and cheap.” Berry and I are not alone in thinking that this is a bad state of affairs. It’s no small problem that our society is trying to do very important business with increasingly debased currency. Which brings to mind Neil Postman… Continue Reading »

Morning’s Minion

From First Thoughts

Promoter, promote thyself! Amanda was so enthusiastic about Robert Miola’s piece that she forgot to direct readers to her own thoughtful and elegant review of Paul Mariani’s Gerard Manley Hopkins (subscribers only): Absent a biblical understanding of sacrifice, a biographer would be . . . . Continue Reading »