Islam and America

A preview of The Public Square, forthcoming in the March issue of First Things.There is an understanding of liberal pluralism that is compatible with Islam. Sherman Jackson, a black American Muslim, argued the case well. Continue Reading »

What I Saw and Heard at the March for Life

At the March for Life, no efforts were made to police the ideology of the marchers. Feminists for Life, some stalwart Democrats for Life, and a pregnant woman carrying the quixotic poster: “End Abortion: Abolish Capitalism” walked side by side with the #MAGA caps and monarchists. All political differences faded in a cause greater than any government. Continue Reading »

A Papal Tutor of Heroic Virtue

To teach prayer and holiness to edgy adolescents is no small achievement. To do it under the pressures of a homicidal Nazi Occupation is remarkable. To do it with a future pope means that Jan Tyranowski’s lessons extend far beyond Dębniki and touch the entire world. Continue Reading »

Spiritual Freedom

On the outskirts of Moscow, there is an Orthodox Christian memorial. The site, known as Butovo, once belonged to a private estate. The Soviets expropriated the land after the revolution and turned it into a firing range. It was there during Stalin’s purges that more than 20,000 “enemies of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Canaanite Woman

I made my first confession last month, and it was easier than I expected. Not that I enjoyed recalling misdeeds from 2010, or that I wasn’t nervous when I stepped away from the parishioners in the middle of Mass that morning in St. Vincent Ferrer and entered the dark quiet of the confessional. But . . . . Continue Reading »

The Devil and Hilary Mantel

By now, everyone who reads contemporary fiction will have heard of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed historical novels about Thomas Cromwell, the powerful advisor to Henry VIII who all but single-handedly disestablished the Catholic Church in England. Anathema to many . . . . Continue Reading »

Bruckner’s Gethsemane

The devoutly Catholic Bruckner dedicated his last symphony to “the dear God,” and prayed in his final illness that the Lord would allow him to finish his masterwork. In the event, his prayer was not granted. Yet in a deeper sense the three movements he lived to complete could hardly be surpassed. The sublime and harrowing third movement makes any further statement, this side of heaven, redundant! Continue Reading »