R.R. Reno on the Virgin Mary’s spiritual lessons :

 When affirming the Blessed Virgin’s immaculate conception, a Catholic is not in any way denying Mary’s humanity, nor is he covertly turning her into a goddess of some sort. Instead, the dogma simply applies the saving merits of Christ to Mary at the moment of her conception. She is, as it were, “born again” before she is born, and for that reason never under dominion of sin.

Also today, Brian G. Mattson on why conservatism needs the religious right :
In his book  The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse , legal theorist Steven D. Smith coined the term “secular cage” to describe the Enlightenment ideal of a value-neutral public square where religious and philosophical beliefs are off limits. The construction of the cage originally had an elegant rationale: if everyone were to lay aside their subjective opinions and commit only to objective, verifiable facts, then the age of ideological religious wars could be left behind and universal consensus about the common good could be achieved at last.