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My Gideon Bible

My mother was notorious for it: checking out of a hotel with an item or two more than she checked in with. Years later, the contents of our drawers, countertops, and clothes closets bear witness to her souvenir-collecting. We have wooden coat hangers labeled “Property of the Pullman Company,” a . . . . Continue Reading »

Sex-Realist Feminism

What is a woman’s place in society? Down the centuries, from Plato and Aristotle to Margaret Sanger and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, certain patterns are discernible in how this question has been answered. The most cogent answers, offered in a variety of historical and economic circumstances, integrate . . . . Continue Reading »

Happiness Requires Resistance

There are two types of patients: those who want to run the show, and those who want to be told what to do. As an anesthesiologist, I deal with both, and both make me uncomfortable. Giving patients too much freedom risks injury; denying ­patients their freedom makes me feel like a tyrant. What I . . . . Continue Reading »

Who Killed the Catholic University?

Have you not heard of that mad Catholic professor who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours and ran to the marketplace, crying, “I seek Catholic higher education in the United States! I seek what St. John Paul II set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae!” As many who were standing around no . . . . Continue Reading »

Scruton's Castle

When Roger Scruton died in early 2020, the world lost a philosopher with that rarest of gifts: the ability to express profound ideas in elegant and limpid prose. It also lost the man who more than any other in his generation had sought to develop a positive conservative philosophy, eschewing both . . . . Continue Reading »

Cold War Contradictions

Another Kennan bio­graphy? The study of George Kennan—American diplomat, strategic mind, and architect of the “containment” doctrine that guided U.S. policy throughout the Cold War—is so persistent in academic and policy circles that it has become almost a sub-­discipline in . . . . Continue Reading »

Grace, Sin, and History

Writing authentic history that is also authentically Catholic has been a tricky business since Cardinal Baronius, if not since St. Augustine. How are we to reconcile the profound and definitive historical ­consequences of the Incarnation with the ­obvious fact that sin continues to permeate the . . . . Continue Reading »

Unmasking the Young

One of the priests I most admire grew up on a farm on the Canadian plains. The virtues of farm life transfer well to the parish: discipline, hard work, showing up, getting things done on time, maintaining relationships, helping people work together. And, not least, a kind of straightforward openness . . . . Continue Reading »

Ash Wednesday

The clouds are fused with amber fireAs vultures climb a dirgy gyre,Babel building with each bird,Glutted on the primal Word.Later one lights on my head,Its talons tight, its wings still spread. —Steven Knepper Image by Jo Naylor via Creative Commons. Image cropped. . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology in Division

Level with me—you’re Catholic, right? I get this question a lot—from students, folks at church, academic colleagues. I teach theology at a Stone–Campbellite university in west Texas. My friends and neighbors are, almost to a person, low-church believers, whether restorationist or . . . . Continue Reading »

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