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Two Thomisms,
Two Modernities

The past century and a half of papal teaching on modern times often seems a tangle: any number of different strands—theology, Thomistic ­philosophy, social theory, economics—all snarled together. And yet a little historical analysis may help loosen the knot. In fact, a careful reading . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology After the Revolution

Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians: From Chenu to Ratzinger by fergus kerr blackwell, 240 pages, $29.95 Over the last decade, a Scottish Dominican named Fergus Kerr has produced a series of books designed to orient readers to contemporary trends. In the 1997 Immortal Longings, he discussed a . . . . Continue Reading »

Fighting the Good Fight

God’s War: A New History of the Crusades by christopher tyerman belknap, 1,040 pages, $35 Not too many years ago, single-volume histories of the Crusades were a rarity. Bookstores were crowded with volumes on the Civil War or World War II, but there was little on medieval battles fought in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Writing Life

It is the rare reader of fiction who does not at some time or other consider becoming a writer. It comes and goes over the years for many, and some carry it about forever as an unredeemed promissory note to themselves. In their heart of hearts, they regard themselves as writers. When my first novel . . . . Continue Reading »

The Truce of 2005?

In his influential book The Courage to Be Catholic, George Weigel wrote about the “The Truce of 1968.” By that is meant the decision not to discipline the many theologians and priests who, in a public and concerted campaign, rejected the teaching of the 1968 encyclical on human sexuality, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Bishops in Council

Twenty-five years ago this month, Pope John Paul II made his first pastoral visit to the United States, meeting the American bishops in Chicago. In his address to them, the former university professor used a style that was both innovative and pedagogically effective: he quoted from an array of . . . . Continue Reading »

Orthodoxy and Reticence

It has been forty years since my revered teacher Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, popularly known as “the Rav” by his followers in the modern wing of American Orthodoxy, presented his paper “Confrontation” to the Rabbinical Council of America. The paper was later published in the Council’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholicism as the Other

Martin Scorsese’s recent film The Gangs of New York takes us back to a time when religion, not race, set the terms for ethno-cultural conflict in America. The film begins in the 1840s with a battle between rival gangs of native (Anglo) Americans and immigrants (largely Irish, even more largely . . . . Continue Reading »

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