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Matthew Schmitz is a former senior editor of First Things. 

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In Praise of “Xmas”

From First Thoughts

One of the popular indicators of the supposed war on Christmas is the use of the abbreviation  Xmas . The well motivated, if grating, “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas” alludes not so subtly to the abbreviation. The former Anglican bishop of Blackburn, Alan Chesters,  . . . . Continue Reading »

How Not to Misread Pope Francis

From First Thoughts

“When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” So Pope Francis  said  during his visit to Brazil in the first days of his papacy. After two recent interview with La Repubblica and La Civiltà Cattolica . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Papal Approval Ratings Are Absurd

From First Thoughts

Approval ratings remain high for the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God, . . . . Continue Reading »

Two Generations on Gay Marriage

From First Thoughts

Joseph Bottum has  walked back  the most controversial assertions of his barnburner Commonweal  essay on gay marriage. For this, I’m glad: Several of them were unsupportable. Yet the essay was never about any point of fact so much as it was about a certain mood: one of surprise . . . . Continue Reading »