Catholic America

Continental Ambitions:  Roman Catholics in North America  by kevin starr ignatius, 675 pages, $34.95 In The Good Shepherd, the 2006 spy film, mobster Joseph Palmi asks CIA agent (and stereotypical WASP) Edward Wilson an insolent question: “We Italians, we got our families . . . . Continue Reading »

​Benedict Option

There’s something very right about Rod Dreher’s call to action in The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. He urges us to ask if we have “compromised too much with the world” and suggests ways to renew the integrity of our religious communities. Yet . . . . Continue Reading »

Pilgrims of Progress

America’s national epic was not written in meter and verse. Nor, for that matter, was it written by an American. Yet The Pilgrim’s Progress is nonetheless the primal American story, the account of our mad flight from order and lonely quest for grace. Hemmed in by civilization, resentful of kin, . . . . Continue Reading »

A Dissolving Age

We live in a dissolving age. Institutions, social forms, and traditional authorities recede. To the extent that they endure, they do so under the sign of choice, often reconfigured as economic or therapeutic projects. Man the entrepreneur and consumer is ascendant—or man the wounded, the victim of . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »

Get Thee to an Altar

So with a nod to considerations both theological and practical, my main criticism of the argument in Reno’s book, as with the religious right more generally, is not that it’s too Christian, but that it’s not Christian enough. Continue Reading »

A More Perfect Absolutism

It is part of the absurdity of American life that we decide questions of truth under the guise of settling contests of rights. Which means that we decide questions of truth without thinking deeply or even very honestly about them. Thus, while it is obvious to many that we are living through a . . . . Continue Reading »