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Bursting the Blog Bubble

I link this blog simply as a piece of light entertainment and because it refers to three of the First Things team—myself, Peter Leithart, and the editor. And I am rather afraid that the author manages to sum each of us up in a single sentence. I might also add that he seems to do the same with all the other names on the list which I recognize. It should save readers a lot of time in the future.

The Problem of Constructive Protestantism

It has been almost eighty years since the publication of H. Richard Niebuhr’s The Kingdom of God in America and we are still talking about what Niebuhr called the problem of constructive Protestantism. This problem lurks behind the recent talk about the future of Protestantism unleashed by Peter Leithart’s initial volley. Continue Reading »

Why Is Distributism So Intolerable?

Arguments for Distributism have become predictable. Most include an historical homage to long established tradition: Look for mention of guilds, agrarian reform, and Aristotle’s theory of the polis. Catholic authors typically proceed to locate their claims in the magisterial teaching of modern Catholic Social Teaching: Look for mentions of Rerum novarum or any one of the subsequent encyclicals, which commemorate its anniversary (see here, p. 42ff.). Next, there are the literary sources, which can be mined for any number of bombastic or polemical gems. Chesterbelloc can always be depended upon to deal one’s opponent a good drubbing. And yet, the appeal to tradition, magisterial teachings, and some of the best contrarians of the age leave most unmoved. Continue Reading »

Rabbi Lord Sacks, Canterbury Medalist

On May 15 in New York City, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded its Canterbury Medal to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who will be familiar to First Things readers thanks to his marvelous Erasmus Lecture, given last autumn and published in the January 2014 issues under the title “On . . . . Continue Reading »


As we enter Ascensiontide I’d like to remind readers of the seasonal prayers included at pp. 159–161 of Ascension Theology. And of the hope expressed in the Preface that homilists will help their listeners ponder the relationship between Ascension and Pentecost. In the pages between I’d like to think there are things to ponder as well, respecting the eucharistic situation of the Church and the signs of our times. Continue Reading »



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