Francis and the Bishops

A Catholic bishop recently became the first member of the hierarchy known to have met with Kim Davis. According to her account, the bishop thanked her for her courage, told her to “stay strong,” assured her of prayers, requested hers in return, and gave her and her husband rosaries. A few days . . . . Continue Reading »

RSVP “No” to Suicide Party

Back in 1991, I received an invitation to a party. My elderly friend Frances wanted to die. Her plan, she said, was to hold a life celebration with her closest friends: We would hold her hand, kiss her cheek, and tell her how much she meant to us—as she expressed her love for us. Then she would . . . . Continue Reading »

Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum

Decadence: A process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art; decay. The movie Cabaret—based on the hit Broadway play—was released in 1972, transforming Liza Minelli from “Judy Garland’s talented daughter” into a major star. In its day, Cabaret was shocking. . . . . Continue Reading »

On Marriage, Protect Freedom For All

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage, the question is: who deserves to be coerced by the government to embrace the Court’s new definition of marriage, or penalized for declining to do so? The answer: No one. The government is not justified in coercing or penalizing anyone or any institution that believes and acts on the belief that marriage is a union of husband and wife. Continue Reading »

Our Potemkin Life

Several weeks ago, I was having dinner with friends in the town of Bridgewater, PA—a sliver of land at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers northwest of Pittsburgh. As tends to happen whenever orthodox Christians gather, the conversation turned to cultural decline. As we discussed the latest outrages, though, I couldn’t help but observe our surroundings.We were on the patio of a casual restaurant within sight of the gentle Beaver River. Between us and the riverbank was a pristine lawn, crisscrossed by walking trails. The weather was mild and clear. Around us, people conversed contentedly while dining wholesomely and affordably, in perfect security. To all appearances, here was the very image of the good society: pleasant, safe, and prosperous. Continue Reading »

On Retreat

David Mills, inspired by a Facebook post from Robby George, has exhorted mostly unnamed proponents of the “Benedict Option” to reverse their various avenues of retreat and remain in the political fight. Now I can only guess the identity of the defeatists who have “left the front lines to read books in the library and argue causes and effects in the coffee shop.” But the charge puts me in mind of the colloquium discussion in the January issue of First Things which treated the debate between so-called “liberal” and “radical” Catholics, perhaps because my contribution to that discussion has elicited similar accusations of political irresponsibility or moral cowardice from people sympathetic to the liberal line of thought. Continue Reading »

Apostolate of Death

On November 1, after posting a Facebook message stating, “Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer,” twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard took a lethal dose of barbiturates, prescribed by an Oregon physician, and . . . . Continue Reading »