R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

RSS Feed

What Art Says About Life

From First Thoughts

Cezanne, Matisse, Monet, Picasso—the impressionist and post-impressionist painters bring in the big crowds at the museums. Van Gogh posters have had a fifty-year run as best sellers. What explains the enduring popularity of the largely French art that, in its day, was seen as shocking and . . . . Continue Reading »

Policing Theology

From First Thoughts

As is the case in so many other countries, the Australian government is revisiting the question of higher education. The United States isn’t all that different. We’re worried about how to finance our gigantic system, and we’re concerned about how to ensure that various . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage Natural and Supernatural

From First Thoughts

There tends to be confusion in some responses to the recent decision to overturn Proposition 8 in California. On the one hand, defenders of traditional marriage often point to natural law, or if not natural law, at least a common wisdom about the natural purposes of marriage—a disciplining . . . . Continue Reading »

Moral Fundamentalism Run Amok

From First Thoughts

In the last few days, various human rights organizations have criticized the Wikileaks posting of thousands of secret documents about U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Amnesty International and others point out something that should have been obvious to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Many . . . . Continue Reading »

Mary and the Modern University

From Web Exclusives

Cleaving to the truths of revelation, insisted Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesia (“From the heart of the Church”), issued twenty years ago Sunday, energizes the inquiring mind, giving us confidence that truth is worth the effort of discovery. The main thrust of the Pope’s vision contradicted the usual assumption the Church and the university represent antithetical traditions: the Church teaching with authority and shutting down debate, the university encouraging free and open inquiry… . Continue Reading »

More on Plagiarism

From First Thoughts

My posting yesterday about Stanley Fish’s deflationary remarks about plagiarism elicited a number of nuanced, reflective comments from readers, many of whom are teachers who grapple with the problem of plagiarism on a regular basis. The comments induced in me a moment of repentance. In his . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholicism in Europe

From First Thoughts

The recent Economist magazine features a helpful article about Catholicism in contemporary Europe, ” The Fate of Catholic Europe: The Void Within .” The title is misleading, suggesting a spiritual vacuum. The substance of the article is more nuanced, however, drawing attention to the . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Village Sophist

From First Thoughts

I love Stanley Fish. He’s a circus clown who bounces around and distracts us from the changes between acts. His latest ” Opinionator ” column in the New York Times is a classic performance. Plagiarism is not big deal, he argues, because there is no such thing as originality. Every . . . . Continue Reading »

Pray for Fr. Francis Martin

From First Thoughts

Fr. Francis Martin has suffered a heart attack, and is presently in intensive care in Copehhagen, Denmark. A long time proponent of biblical interpretation informed by the wisdom of the church’s great tradition of doctrine, Fr. Martin has been an important voice in contempoary . . . . Continue Reading »