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Matthew Schmitz is a former senior editor of First Things. 

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On the Value of Reading Books

From First Thoughts

Isaac Chotiner hasn’t spent much time talking to religious folks, and he hasn’t read David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, but he does think the book’s picture of God differs vastly from that of most believers:I cannot speak for . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »