R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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New Norms From Rome

From First Thoughts

The Vatican has put forward new norms for handling clerical sexual abuse. The spin in the AP story in the New York Times offers occasion for reflection. Thought #1: The story says, “The bulk of the new document merely codified the ad hoc norms for dealing canonically with pedophile . . . . Continue Reading »

Another Problem for the Church?

From First Thoughts

Italians newspapers are reporting intensified investigative interest in Cardinal Sepe of Naples. (For English language reporting, see a recent article in the Irish Times .) Cardinal Sepe may, perhaps, be a true son of southern Italy, using his position to distribute goodies funded by the massive . . . . Continue Reading »

Burqa Ban

From First Thoughts

As predicted, the French lower house passed a largely symbolic measure that bans full face coverings in public . In a posting last week , I pointed out that whatever one thinks of the French ban, it fits into a more than one-century-long tradition of enforcing (or at least trying to enforce) a . . . . Continue Reading »

Hitler Goes Motown

From First Thoughts

Am I the only one who finds this youtube video kinda creepy? Yes, Charlie Chaplin lampooned Hitler decades ago in The Great Dictator (1940). But the critical edge was plain to see. This video, which has Der Fuehrer singing the theme song to The Jeffersons , is more in the spirit of Mel Brooks, who . . . . Continue Reading »

The Gospel Of Scientific Materialism

From Web Exclusives

The scientific popularizers”Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, and others”don’t go in for nuance, as David Hart has pointed out again and again in our pages. They cheerfully champion the most reductive sort of materialism, including the idea that free will does not exist … Continue Reading »

Reno on Henry James, Part II

From First Thoughts

The folks at Azure have generously unlocked my article on Henry James , which I wrote about earlier in the week , recommending it to readers who are interested in thinking about literature from a conservative perspective. If you like the essay, please consider subscribing to Azure . The quarterly . . . . Continue Reading »

Virtue and Intelligence

From First Thoughts

A friend recently expresses chastened sentiment. “Great books and good philosophy,” he sighed, “don’t really help us become virtuous, do they?’ Well, mostly no, they don’t. In my youth I hitch-hiked across America many times, worked all sorts of jobs, and spent a great . . . . Continue Reading »

The French Burqa Ban

From First Thoughts

The machinery of French legislative authority is going into motion to pass a law that will ban the full veil in public , with a vote scheduled for July 13. Put forward by President Sarkozy, the ban was originally opposed by the Socialist Party. But the Socialists, who represent the main opposition . . . . Continue Reading »