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 »

John Paul II's “Beloved Krakow”

Several years ago, Father Raymond de Souza, one of my fellow faculty members at an annual Kraków-based summer seminar on Catholic social doctrine, made a trenchant observation about the city John Paul II used to call “my beloved Kraków.” Kraków, Father de Souza observed, was the city where . . . . Continue Reading »

What Comes After the Synod

Whatever Pope Francis does in the wake of the Synod on the Family, we have a new Humanae Vitae moment on our hands. Decades of relentless infighting over what exactly the Church teaches is on the horizon and will negatively affect the priesthood, religious life, religious institutions, parishes, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Speaker and the Social Doctrine

TRIGGER WARNING: This column will speak well of Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, and compare him favorably to two liberal icons. Over forty years of teaching and writing about Catholic social doctrine, I’ve gotten to know three men who had the opportunity to embody the . . . . Continue Reading »