A Son and His Father

Edmund Gosse’s books are lovely to read but eminently forgettable. A winsome writer, fine stylist, poets of sorts, essayist, and arbiter of taste in the early decades of the twentieth century, he flourished at the center of London literary circles, and was eventually knighted for his cultural contributions… . Continue Reading »

Archbishop Chaput & the American Media

Last Friday, September 24, the archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, gave a talk to a conference of the Religion Newswriters Association. Called “Religion, Journalism, and the New American Orthodoxy,” it was an intelligent and sophisticated analysis”and really, quite uncontroversial in its conclusion, although you wouldn’t know that from the response of the religion reporters who were present… . Continue Reading »

Cheating the Habit of Being

In the mid-1970s, asked about her move from an updated habit to ordinary clothing, the teaching sister who ran our parish CCD program declared that the shedding of religious habits was a good thing because it emphasized that sisters were “nothing special, that we are all special in God’s eyes.” … Continue Reading »

Killing Children for the Sake of the Children

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., has a new book out, Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light. Or maybe it’s a reprint of her old book, The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth. It’s hard to tell. Once an author starts down the road of making a living off being a “former something-or-other,” everything begins to sound the same… . Continue Reading »

The Grim Reaper of Comedy

Maybe Woody Allen’s films once were funny. Now it’s as if he’s trying to spread his personal chronic sickness of anhedonia”that inability to enjoy what should naturally be pleasurable which has been a recurring theme in his work since Annie Hall”to his few remaining fans. If his latest film is any indication, it’s working… . Continue Reading »

Show Us the Money

It is a bad sign when the head of a Catholic college’s theology department ends an interview by calling Pope Benedict an Austrian. Father Mark Massa rewrote the pope’s biography in an interview with the Religion News Service, which talked to him about his book The American Catholic Revolution: How the ’60s Changed the Church Forever… . Continue Reading »

Patriots in Babylon

The New Testament does not seem to encourage patriotism. The Revelation to John juxtaposes the heavenly hosts arrayed against the malign powers of darkness, two worlds, two governments, if you will: the heavenly Jerusalem ruled by the slain Lamb, and the earthly Babylon, awash in luxury, decadence, and death. What Christian could be a patriot for Babylon? … Continue Reading »

Moderating Patriotism

Conservatism pairs God and country, observes the legendary Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., while cosmopolitan liberalism chooses “universal empathy rather than patriotism and human rights or humanity rather than God.” The cosmopolitan liberal pairing is perhaps more consistent than its conservative counterpart… . Continue Reading »