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The Secular Prison

Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Reportby saba mahmoodprinceton, 248 pages, $24.95 While I was reading Saba Mahmood’s new book on religion and secularism in Egypt, my university’s president—Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M.—published an article in Inside Higher Ed about the . . . . Continue Reading »

Mammon Ascendant

So, there I was, pondering, with an old familiar feeling of perplexity (about which more anon), certain reactions to my reaction to various reactions to the pope’s last encyclical, when it occurred to me that the one thing on which ­Hegelians of every stripe—right or left, theological or . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

MARQUETTEMickey Mattox’s piece on Marquette University (“Marquette’s Gender Regime,” April) was welcome indeed. I taught at Marquette for thirty years, and am grateful for the many blessings I experienced there. It has consequently been difficult for me to watch from a distance as the . . . . Continue Reading »

Cosmopolitan Dream

The Lure of Technocracyby jürgen habermastranslated by ciaran croninpolity, 200 pages, $22.95 The European project, as it is called, is marked by great promise and great peril. No less than ­Winston Churchill called for the reconciliation of a “spiritually great France” and a “spiritually . . . . Continue Reading »

Apostate

Atheism and religious indifference are growing in the United States. In Faith No More, recently reissued in paperback, Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman cites Pew surveys showing that “20% of Americans now claim ‘none’ as their religion.” Harris polls register an uptick of atheism, from 4 percent in 2003 to 10 percent in 2008, with another 9 percent identifying themselves as agnostics.

Our Potemkin Life

Several weeks ago, I was having dinner with friends in the town of Bridgewater, PA—a sliver of land at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers northwest of Pittsburgh. As tends to happen whenever orthodox Christians gather, the conversation turned to cultural decline. As we discussed the latest outrages, though, I couldn’t help but observe our surroundings.We were on the patio of a casual restaurant within sight of the gentle Beaver River. Between us and the riverbank was a pristine lawn, crisscrossed by walking trails. The weather was mild and clear. Around us, people conversed contentedly while dining wholesomely and affordably, in perfect security. To all appearances, here was the very image of the good society: pleasant, safe, and prosperous. Continue Reading »

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