R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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America in Bronze

From Web Exclusives

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the Walt Whitman of American sculpture. Born in Dublin in 1848 to a French father and Irish mother and soon brought to the New York as an infant, Saint-Gaudens embodied the emerging fresh vitality of a country then entering a period of explosive industrial growth. Too young to serve in the Civil War, Saint-Gaudens came of age in the warm glow of Union victory and the ascendant sense that America was a nation destined to serve the noble purposes of humanity… . Continue Reading »

A 2009 Ranking of Graduate Programs in Theology

From Web Exclusives

A few years ago, I made a crude and impressionistic ranking of graduate programs in theology in North America. Recently, I mused in a more general way about what makes for a really good program in theology, and, in response, a couple of friends asked me if my old opinions still hold true. It’s a good question, and one I’ll try to answer… . Continue Reading »

The Agony of Mainline Protestantism

From Web Exclusives

This summer the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) held their biennial Churchwide Assembly. As is so often the case with American Christianity, the headline grabbing issue was sex. The Assembly didn’t exactly affirm or endorse homosexuality, but, after agreeing to disagree about the moral significance of homosexual relationships, it opened up the possibility for same-sex blessings and homosexual clergy… . Continue Reading »

Marriage, Morality, and Culture

From Web Exclusives

The tide is going out. Words like fornication have a musty, antiquated ring. Unwed mothers no longer suffer social stigma. Divorce has become common. The large, complicated human reality of sexual desire, mating, romance, and childrearing no longer finds itself ruled by elaborate and widely accepted social norms. And now, of course, we are in the midst of a drive toward same-sex marriage… . Continue Reading »

Final August Aphorism

From First Thoughts

The languid month has run its course, and I’ve pretty much run out of worthwhile aphorisms.  Maybe I ran out awhile ago.  In any event, I have a final bon mot that Russ Saltzman sent me a couple of weeks ago. Never become so cynical as to believe that things can’t get worse. . . . . Continue Reading »

War, Progress, and Caritas

From Web Exclusives

The recent encyclical on social doctrine, Caritas in Veritatae, has raised interesting questions about international cooperation and development. I’ve certainly had some good conversations. But I’ve been struck by a fairly widespread lack of acquaintance with War, Progress, and the End of History: Three Conversations Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ by Vladimir Solovyov (1853“1900). It’s a book that is worth knowing, not the least because it bears directly on a central theme of Caritas in Veritatae: “humanity’s journey towards unity.” … Continue Reading »