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Believe, That You May Understand

In 1970, Michael Polanyi wrote an essay called “Why Did We Destroy Europe?” In it, he reflected on the cancerous spread of ideologies and war in the twentieth century. He argued that scientific rationalism had initially “been a major influence towards intellectual, moral and social . . . . Continue Reading »

Saint and Scribe

Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul IIby george weigelbasic, 368 pages, $32 Czesław Miłosz once said that, in terms of moral grandeur and personal presence, St. John Paul II could have been one of Shakespeare’s kings. No less a judge than Joseph Ratzinger noted that it was . . . . Continue Reading »

Neuhaus Was Right

As the Berlin Wall fell, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the end of history—“the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” Richard John Neuhaus wasn’t so sure. In a 1996 symposium on judicial overreach, he questioned the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Splendor of Truth in 2017

There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.” Those are strong words, written by the Czech activist Václav Havel in his essay “The Power of the Powerless,” one of the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Cinematic Lesson in Hope

At a moment like this when there doesn’t seem to be a lot going right—ascendant authoritarianisms throughout the world; lethal violence by ideological fanatics; feckless responses to both from the democracies—it’s good to be reminded that things can be different, and in fact were different, . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »

A Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has announced a jubilee Year of Mercy, starting December 8. He is hardly the first pope to stress the importance of mercy. John Paul II spoke about it often and eloquently. But Francis has a special passion for the virtue, likely rooted in his experience of the poor and his affection . . . . Continue Reading »

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