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Cassandra Nelson’s “A Theo­logy of Fiction” (April) is a welcome intervention and advance in an ­ongoing conversation that, as ­Nelson herself notes, I’ve been invested in for some time. Nelson’s attentiveness to the work of Sr. Mariella Gable—and her related readings of a series . . . . Continue Reading »

What Sex Really Is

In her delightful essay “Harry Potter and the Reverse Voltaire,” the philosopher Mary Leng tries to understand why a colleague of hers has denounced J. K. Rowling. Although the colleague believes that “there are contexts in which [biological] sex matters politically,” she has condemned . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Ukrainian Border

“I doubt if we ever come back home,” says Helen, who until recently taught English to second- and third-graders in Mykolaiv, a southern Ukrainian city of several hundred thousand. “Putin wants Mykolaiv,” Helen says. A large majority of Mykolaiv residents speak Russian at home. The . . . . Continue Reading »

All We Need Is Everything

In November 1945, Jacques Maritain wrote a letter to his friend Étienne Gilson in which he complained about “the integralists in Quebec” who were accusing him of “neo-­liberalism, neo-individualism,” and “­neo-­Pelagianism.” Maritain was particularly frustrated because he saw the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Shadow of Failure

I am grateful to Edmund Waldstein for his kind response to my essay, and for his writings on these subjects generally. I am especially grateful in this case for his crisp elucidation of the Maritain–De Koninck debate and its implications for contemporary arguments, a subject whose subtleties I . . . . Continue Reading »

A Gentler Christendom

How should contemporary Christians react to the decline of their churches, the secularization of the culture, the final loss of Christendom? Perhaps, one important author has suggested, they should reconcile themselves to the new dispensation, accepting that the “modern age is not a sacral, but a . . . . Continue Reading »

Painting Over the Growth Chart

I had to squint to notice them. The linesthat bicker up to door jamb in the kitchen— a notch for every year, or half-a-year,depending on how much the kids had grown. A coat of paint is all it takes and ifit’s not like new, it’s good enough for now. Any sign they ever lived here is blotted . . . . Continue Reading »

The Wheel, The Wheel

Sixteen and a half with a brand new driver’slicense in my wallet, driving my father’s’47 two-toned old clunky Pontiac, I turnedleft off Hempstead Turnpike when a car swimsshark-like in front of me and I’m twistingthe steering wheel left right when somehowthe wheel takes over, spinning this . . . . Continue Reading »


On feet bare like a desert saint’s, it padsacross the porch and toward the dry cat foodmy wife pours out for strays. It doesn’t scarewhen I stomp, bellow, toss a pebbleat its rump, just hisses at me, geezerly,and keeps on chewing. Eyes like little radiodials and fur like coal snow, smog sky, or . . . . Continue Reading »

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