Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

My Confessions

A few years ago, in the middle of the journey of life—in modern terms, having a midlife crisis—I read St. ­Augustine’s Confessions for the first time since I was eighteen. I’d loved the work when I was young, but in what was hardly an original discovery, I found that I . . . . Continue Reading »

A Failing Papacy

The current regime in Rome will damage the Catholic Church. Pope ­Francis combines laxity and ruthlessness. His style is casual and approachable; his church politics are cold and cunning. There are leading themes in this pontificate—­mercy, accompaniment, peripheries, and so forth—but . . . . Continue Reading »

​Getting Augustine Wrong

Injustices are done; imprudent, ill-considered policies are pursued. Brutal, cynical men posture as noble leaders. There’s a great deal about public life that arouses our passions. It is easy to become angry, bitter, fearful, and despairing. There’s another side as well. We can harbor great . . . . Continue Reading »

Newman on St. Monica

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. This feast was the occasion on which the the Venerable (soon to be Blessed) John Henry Cardinal Newman preached a characteristically brilliant sermon called “Intellect, the Instrument of Religious Training.” The whole thing is . . . . Continue Reading »

Augustine of Hippo: A Biography

My worn and heavily marked copy of the original hardback edition of Peter Brown’s biography of St. Augustine, its binding held together by sturdy book tape, sits on a bookshelf close to my desk as it has since it first appeared in 1967. On the inside cover I have a little note, “Reviewed in . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles