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Kraków's Geography of Sanctity

In a recent book, The Geo­graphy of Genius, Eric Weiner sets out on what he calls “a search for the world’s most creative places, from ancient Athens to Silicon Valley.” Change the term “most creative places” to “places that embody a civilization-building accomplishment,” or “places . . . . Continue Reading »

Overlooked Philosophy

Peter Adamson’s Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds accepts a noble challenge announced in the book’s subtitle: A History of Philosophy without any gaps. It’s an impossible objective, of course. Adamson knows this, but admirably proceeds to outline three areas of philosophy that are often overlooked in the hustle of contemporary academic discourse: “Hellenistic philosophy” (the inheritance of Plato and Aristotle), “late antique philosophy among pagans, and ancient Christian philosophy.”

Pius XII, Co-Conspirator in Tyrannicide

Written from Rome:The great Piazza San Pietro is a five minute walk from where I’m living during Synod-2015. About three-quarters of the Square is bounded by the famous Bernini colonnades, which reach out from the Vatican basilica as if to embrace the world. Along the open “front” of the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Royalist and Whig Revolution?

It was appropriate that I read Eric Nelson’s The Royalist Revolution this summer while on a research trip to Great Britain, since the book is a study of political ideas that bounced between England and her colonies and the effects they had on the shape of the new American nation. Continue Reading »

National Cathedral & Confederate Windows

The Dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., which is an Episcopal Church institution but serves as a place for national religious pageantry, wants to remove two over sixty-year-old stained glass windows honoring Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  “There is . . . . Continue Reading »

Statesmanship by Committee

Two questions underlie this study of the months leading up to the American Civil War: 1) At what point, if any, was Abraham Lincoln morally justified in fighting the Confederacy? and 2) Could an agreement have been reached that would have prevented the Civil War? Continue Reading »

Against Edenism

The future will look very different from the past. The Garden of Paradise will culminate in the City of God—“the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. . . . The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. . . . The city does not need the sun or moon . . . . Continue Reading »

“Wolf Hall” and Upmarket Anti-Catholicism

Wolf Hall, the BBC adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s novel about early Tudor England, began airing on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater” Easter Sunday night. It’s brilliant television. It’s also a serious distortion of history. And it proves, yet again, that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bigotry in elite circles in the Anglosphere.The distortions and bias are not surprising, considering the source. Hillary Mantel is a very talented, very bitter ex-Catholic who’s said that the Church today is “not an institution for respectable people” (so much for the English hierarchy’s decades-long wheedling for social acceptance). As she freely concedes, Mantel’s aim in her novel was to take down the Thomas More of A Man for All Seasons—the Thomas More the Catholic Church canonized—and her instrument for doing so is More’s rival in the court of Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell. Continue Reading »

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