Disenchanted Westworld

Our engagement with the arts is no longer guided by emotion and imagination, but by reason. It’s why we walk away from a show like Westworld concerned with and moved by logos—“theories”—rather than ethos and pathos. Continue Reading »

The Ties that Bind

Recently I attended my son’s installation ceremony as a member of the student government at his elementary school. The passage into office was marked by a series of oaths in which students made vows to uphold the integrity of their charges and the duties that flowed from those vows. In the ancient Roman world, the term most employed to refer to the civic relationship to which such vows bound a person was pietas. Continue Reading »

The Gioia Effect

If you have attended many poetry readings, you know how often they turn out to be flat and pedestrian affairs. A figure at the podium recites lines from compositions published and unpublished, and otherwise doesn’t have much to say. You hear a bit of biographical context for this or that specimen, . . . . Continue Reading »

A Pope and a Psychiatrist on Transsexual Marriages

The suffering of those who feel themselves to be transsexual can be so great—to the point of making them suicidal—that from the perspective of the Church one can hardly categorically forbid surgical and hormonal measures to reduce their suffering, as a last resort after attempting other measures. The proscription of self-mutilation must here be weighed against the good of reducing suffering. Continue Reading »

Get Thee to an Altar

So with a nod to considerations both theological and practical, my main criticism of the argument in Reno’s book, as with the religious right more generally, is not that it’s too Christian, but that it’s not Christian enough. Continue Reading »

John Podesta, Son of the Church

In his Washington Post column today, E.J. Dionne (about whom I have written in these pages before, here and here) tries to pooh-pooh the eruption that ensued when WikiLeaks revealed emails sent back and forth by Clinton campaign personnel, including the Catholics John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri. . . . . Continue Reading »