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The Catholic Brand, the Real Gospel

No one would criticize the Yves St. Laurent company for dismissing a part-time salesman who was also managing a store selling inferior clothes called Yves St. Laurence, or the Tommy Hilfiger company for letting go a junior executive who also ran a knock-off clothing company named after a Tommy Hilfinger. Everyone would understand their desire to protect their name and brand… . Continue Reading »

One of the Two Philosophers Responds

I came to discover only late that, thanks to the exertions of Micah Watson in his “A Tale of Two Philosophers,” published here last Friday, the readers of First Things were given an account of this interesting exchange I had with my young friend, Matthew O’Brien, taking up the vocation of philosophy. What seemed to rage, though, in the comments attached to the piece were rather emphatic comments, some in criticism and some in support, by people who evidently had no idea of what I had actually said in those pieces, written in that exchange with O’Brien… . Continue Reading »

Shangri-La Lutheran

Pastors often make the mistake of romanticizing their first parish. Nothing ever again matches the depth of faith encountered, nor the affirmation of pastoral effort as happens in the first parish. That is if it was a good experience. If it wasn’t, the pastor is apt to drop out of parish ministry within the first five years of ordination, or take another call and repeat the same bad experience… . Continue Reading »

Picasso’s Grenades

Shortly after the end of World War II, Ernest Hemingway was traveling through Paris and attempted to visit his old acquaintance, Pablo Picasso. On learning that the artist was out, Hemingway decided to leave him a present. He went to his car and returned with a case of grenades, on which he wrote, “To Picasso from Hemingway.” … Continue Reading »

Clarifying “Double Effect”

The recent controversy over the termination of a pregnancy at Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, which Phoenix bishop Thomas Olmstead determined to have been a direct abortion and thus a grave moral evil, has generated a secondary controversy over the meaning of the Church’s traditional moral principle of “double effect.” … Continue Reading »

What Flannery Said!

Father Augustin Escobar, associate pastor at St. Norbert’s Church in Orange, California, invited a Presbyterian minister to concelebrate Mass, partake of the Holy Eucharist, and distribute the sacrament to the faithful. Bishop Tod Brown of the Diocese of Orange, California put Father Escobar on leave while an investigation ensues… . Continue Reading »

Reflections on Lincoln

On this President’s Day, we offer selections from three articles we’ve published on Abraham Lincoln, all dealing in some way with his attempts to balance principle with practice, or rather to achieve his principles by understanding the situation, including the limits and restraints, in which he had to act, and acting accordingly. The value of his example is obvious… . Continue Reading »

Newman’s Assent of Faith

John Henry Newman, Oxford scholar and famous English convert to Catholicism (1801“1890), whose birthday we celebrate today, is acknowledged by most for his English prose, his lofty ideas on university education and his writings on development of Christian doctrine. We often put Newman forward as an example for the Catholic intellectual but rarely consider what he has to say to the average person striving to live a Christian life in a secular world… . Continue Reading »

A Tale of Two Philosophers

An interesting and significant online discussions between Hadley Arkes and Matthew O’Brien on the content of moral judgment has recently played out in the pages of Public Discourse. What made this exchange so remarkable was that O’Brien and Arkes are in close agreement on the great moral issues of our day”both recognize the evils of abortion and racism, for example… . Continue Reading »



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