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Issues Beneath Issues at Synod 2015

Written from Rome: Since Pope Francis announced that two Synods would examine the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family and work to devise more evangelically dynamic responses to that crisis, a lot of attention has focused on issues of Catholic discipline: How does the Church determine . . . . Continue Reading »

Synod on the Family

The following is a preview segment of R. R. Reno's “The Public Square” from our upcoming November issue. Another segment can be found here. A group of bishops from around the world gathers in Rome this week. The synod’s topic is the family. But the underlying issue is . . . . Continue Reading »

Instrumentum Laboris

Last fall, in preparation for this fall’s Synod on the Family, an extraordinary synod met in Rome. Between that meeting and this year’s, a Vatican-­appointed committee produced a document. It’s called the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document to guide deliberation. Reading it is a ­depressing experience. It reminds me of how weak Catholicism’s ­intellectual culture has become, at least in some official circles.

Synod 2015 Hopes

The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family begins with Mass in St. Peter’s on October 4. No synod in modern Catholic history has drawn such worldwide press attention or generated such controversy within the Church (with the possible exception of the special synod . . . . Continue Reading »

Dieting

It is time for some late summer lighthearted fun, except our household is dieting. We have gone low carb, paleo, eggplant. Yes, I know, eggplant doesn’t belong to a paleo diet. It’s cultivated. Fruits, berries, nuts, and wild roots are paleo. But with only four or so carbohydrates to a cup, . . . . 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 »

Rearing Slaves, Rearing Sons

You’ve heard the horror stories about the schools: kindergartens with a dose of amoral sex education; teachers sowing gender confusion with the hearty support of administrators; violence and widespread drug use in the tony prep schools that train tomorrow’s elites; depression, eating disorders, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Psychologization of Everything

The enormous Duggar family has been in the public eye since their TLC reality series, 19 Kids and Counting, premiered in 2008. In the lineup of TLC shows about oddball families—the twins-plus-sextuplets family; the polygamist family; the little-people family; the hundred-proof hillbilly family—the Duggars are distinguished by their amazing fecundity, and by their commitment to baby-names starting with J (Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph).They are distinguished, too, by their vocal affiliation with Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull—hierarchical and pro-procreation movements within Evangelicalism, which strike some observers as creepy and cultish. The Duggar kids are homeschooled and don’t mix much with the outside world; this, too, strikes some observers as creepy and cultish. All of the Duggar girls perm their hair and wear long skirts—sartorial tics that some observers find creepy and cultish. Did I mention that all the Duggar kids’ names start with J? (Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedediah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin …) At a certain point, this starts to look creepy and cultish. Continue Reading »

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