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Let’s Listen to the Pope on Climate

The Syllabus of Errors, issued in 1864 under the auspices of Pope Pius IX, famously ends by condemning the proposition that “The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.”Is Pope Francis a latter day Pio Nono? Such . . . . Continue Reading »

Ulysses and the God of Irony

Allow me to summarize the plot of a 644-page Modernist masterpiece, James Joyce’s Ulysses: Two guys meet one day. The day in question is June 16, 1904 (Happy 111st anniversary!). The guys in question are Stephen Dedalus, twenty-two, poet; and Leopold Bloom, thirty-eight, ad canvasser. Stephen . . . . Continue Reading »

Building on Truth

Building is a willful act of symbolic import, sometimes intended and sometimes not, and all architecture expresses the power of its makers and their aspiration to legitimate authority. This is true of individual buildings, public spaces, and all human settlements. Temple, forum, cathedral, city . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology After the Revolution

Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians: From Chenu to Ratzinger by fergus kerr blackwell, 240 pages, $29.95 Over the last decade, a Scottish Dominican named Fergus Kerr has produced a series of books designed to orient readers to contemporary trends. In the 1997 Immortal Longings, he discussed a . . . . Continue Reading »

Modernism, Science, and Spirituality

Some of the greatest Modernists, including the painter Georges Rouault, the poet T. S. Eliot, and the composer Igor Stravinsky, found in the language of abstraction, fragmentation, and primitivism ways to reconnect ancient religious truths with the conditions of the modern . . . . Continue Reading »

Preaching As Though We Had Enemies

I am just postmodern enough not to trust “postmodern” as a description of our times, for it privileges the practices and intellectual formations of modernity. Calling this a postmodern age reproduces the modernist assumption that history must be policed by periods. Just as modernity created the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Modern Jeremiad

The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics by christopher lasch w. w. norton, 576 pages, $25 Christopher Lasch has written a “loose, baggy monster” of a hook. He takes on nothing less than “the western human condition,” arguing determinedly and, to my mind, persuasively that the . . . . Continue Reading »

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