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Pro-Life Liturgy

An icon of the Annunciation appears on the central altar doors of every Orthodox Christian church. The “royal doors” are double doors, so the icon is a diptych, with Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right. As a young child, I found the movement of this icon mesmerizing as the doors opened and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Religion of Activism

In 2002, in these pages, Peter Berger, the late American socio­logist, offered a succinct summary of the health and status of sociology. In Invitation to ­Sociology (1963), he had praised its promise. Two generations later, he offered a much more pessimistic picture. Now, a decade and a . . . . Continue Reading »

Violence and Politesse

Of all the places I’ve worked and played in my life, the politest one, the one where people were the most courteous and quiet, was a boxing gym in Decatur, Georgia. I hung out there for two years when I was in my early fifties, the boxing workouts being just right for an older guy. If you take it . . . . Continue Reading »

A Certain Idea of France

De Gaulle by julian jackson harvard, 928 pages, $39.95 Using pick handles and rifle butts, the police force of one of the world’s most civilized countries surrounded and savagely beat hundreds of dark-skinned men. They then threw them into the beautiful river that flows through a city celebrated . . . . Continue Reading »

Big Julie

James Boswell, who knew a thing or two about hero worship, called Julius Caesar “the greatest man of any age.” Alexander Hamilton told Thomas Jefferson that Caesar was “the greatest man who ever lived.” Theodor Mommsen, in his History of Rome, called Caesar “the sole creative genius . . . . Continue Reading »

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