McAuley Beyond Despair

James McAuley had a gift for overcoming first impressions. Manning Clark, the future ­doyen of Australian historians, met the twenty-five-year-old poet in the crowd at an Aussie Rules game. McAuley was blind drunk, full of wild slogans about art and politics, and looked wrecked even by the usual . . . . 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 »

Pagan Horror

Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reichby eric kurlanderyale, 448 pages, $35 That Hitler and his inner circle were mad is not a matter of controversy. The source and character of their madness, though, is subject to debate. Eric Kurlander wants us to understand Nazi ideology . . . . Continue Reading »

Pain, World, God

The frequency of my headaches has dropped to one every six weeks or so. (I never say that without giving thanks three times.) For twenty years, they hit every third or fourth day, a twinge at 10 a.m. spreading into a steel net circling my head and tightening slowly, slowly, until it hurt to blink. . . . . Continue Reading »

Postliberal Theology

Blood pressure is rising. Folks are worried about “illiberalism.” In a November issue of the Washington Post, Anne Applebaum warned of a rising “neo-Bolshevism” assailing the West: “Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and Jaroslaw Kacyniski.” Others have more . . . . Continue Reading »

Non Possumus

Kidnapped by the Vatican? The Unpublished Memoirs of Edgardo Mortaraby vittorio messoriignatius, 190 pages, $17.95 At nightfall on Wednesday, June 23, 1858, a knock came on the door of Salomone and Marianna Mortara, Jewish residents of Bologna. Only the wife was at home with the children. It . . . . Continue Reading »

The Metaphysics of Democracy

Liberalism began as a political project that sought to curtail the role of religion in public life. Religious impulses haven’t proven easy to expel, however, even in secular societies. Contemporary secular liberalism aspires to be a universal project that supplants traditional religion and . . . . Continue Reading »

Virtuous Evildoers

At the end of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Brutus and ­Cassius, the conspirators who had assassinated Caesar, are themselves dead. Brutus has, in fact, fallen upon his sword rather than face capture by the armies of Octavius and Mark Antony. Brutus was bad enough to betray and murder a . . . . Continue Reading »