The Smoke of Satan Returns

From Web Exclusives

In 1972, on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Paul VI delivered a sermon that startled the world. Describing the chaos then consuming the post-conciliar Church, he lamented: “From some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God” … Continue Reading »

In Defense of Pope Francis

From Web Exclusives

In 2005, following the death of Blessed John Paul II, I asked one of my closest friends”a Jesuit who has served the Church loyally for decades”who he thought would make a worthy successor. Stressing he would welcome anyone chosen, he remarked, “I hope it might be my Jesuit colleague in Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio. Many of us believe he has the qualities of a saint” … Continue Reading »

Serpico’s Stand

From Web Exclusives

It has now been forty years since Al Pacino blazed across the screen in the classic police drama, Serpico. Based on the acclaimed book of the same name, it is that rarest of Hollywood films”an adaptation as exceptional as the book. Searing, deeply moral, and ultimately heartbreaking, it is as powerful today as it was the day it opened. And even more relevant… . Continue Reading »

Warren Zevon’s Secret

From Web Exclusives

Ten years ago this month, Warren Zevon died and the world of music lost an extraordinary talent. Gifted and mercurial, Zevon’s tumultuous life often paralleled the self-destructive paths of other celebrities; and yet”in significant ways”also diverged sharply from them… . Continue Reading »

Marty Glickman’s Triumph

From Web Exclusives

For a moment, it all seemed like a dream. Young Marty Glickman, an eighteen year old from Brooklyn, was at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, ready to run the 4 by 100 relay, in hopes of winning gold. It was early in Hitler’s dictatorship, but Jews had already been persecuted for several years. As a Jewish American athlete, proud of his heritage, and proud to represent his country, this was Marty’s opportunity to help expose Hitler’s mad theories about Aryan supremacy”just as Jesse Owens, his African-American teammate, had humiliated the Nazis by excelling in his events… . Continue Reading »

The Pope’s Theology of Sin

From Web Exclusives

By now, the Pope’s impromptu press conference, on his flight back from Brazil, has been analyzed the world over. But in all the discussion over Francis’ comments, very little has been said about the key line in his now famous exchange on homosexuality. “This is what is important,” declared Francis to reporters, “a theology of sin.” That is what should have made headlines after the papal press conference”not that Francis used the word “gay,” or expressed a merciful (and thus deeply Christian) attitude toward those seeking reconciliation with God. “This is what is important: a theology of sin.” … Continue Reading »

NY Times Profiles Dawn Eden

From First Thoughts

Fans of Dawn Eden, well-known Catholic-convert and recent  First Things speaker , will surely want to read Alexandra Molotkow’s  new profile of Eden  in this Sunday’s  New York Times Magazine  (August 11 edition). The article connects the story of . . . . Continue Reading »

Should Priests Drive Fancy Cars?

From Web Exclusives

Of all the challenging things Francis has said since becoming pope, none has been more quoted than this line: “How I would like a Church which is poor, and for the poor!” Simple and direct, it perfectly captures the spirit of Francis’s new pontificate. And what gives it such power and meaning is the personal witness behind it… . Continue Reading »

Five Myths About Pope Francis

From Web Exclusives

He has been called an “improv pope,” a pope of many surprises, but the biggest surprise of all is that Francis continues to elude all efforts to classify him. Since the opening days of his papacy, a flood of commentators have come forth to tell us what to expect of him, only to miss the mark… . Continue Reading »