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Resurrecting the Dead in America

Many Christians regularly recite the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed, recounting aloud beliefs they hold to be foundational. With the share of our neighbors that self-identify as agnostic, atheist, or simply “not religious” rising, repeating such creeds is an opportunity for Christians to reflect on just how odd some of our faith assertions really are. Admit it—there’s some strange stuff in there. Too strange, it turns out, for many of our peers, including some of the faithful. Continue Reading »

The Poor Are Not Middle Class

Linda Tirado’s poverty was a horrible grind with no means of ready escape. “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts,” her blog post that chronicled this poverty, went viral last November. By early December, Tirado had critics—many, many critics—who more or less made her out to be a poor little rich girl gone slumming, trying to pull a scam with her gofundme page (that incidentally netted her some $61,000). A news outlet described her article as one of several web hoaxes that year. Continue Reading »

Remembering the Great Fouad Ajami

In a year replete with devastating news, the June 22 death of Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami hit especially hard. For decades, Fouad, a man of genius I was honored to call a friend, was an invaluable mentor in matters involving the Arab world and its often-lethal discontents. It was a cauldron of self-destructive passions he knew well, this Lebanese Shiite who came to the United States because he found here a model of the civility and tolerance he wished for his people. Continue Reading »

Weakness of Witness

Is Catholic social teaching, to use the modern vernacular, a “real thing”? Do we have to passively agree when the Church teaches about subjects that cross the line into economic or political territory? Continue Reading »

InterVarsity Christian Ministry in Trouble for Acting Christian

To protect against discrimination, liberals increasingly seek to discriminate. News broke over the weekend that all twenty-three schools within the California State University system have taken steps to “derecognize” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), a para-church Christian ministry organization that’s had a longstanding presence within university life religious settings. Continue Reading »

From Cain to Isis

The radical Islamic movement ISIS is more radical than Islamic. It is true, of course, that this group’s vision of a restored caliphate in the Middle East, like its other ambitions, only makes sense in an Islamic context. But its methods—ruthless violence and criminality, grandiose goals framed in world-historical terms, leadership cadres regularly purged to ensure purity, and bloody public spectacles—are familiar elements of the modern European experience of radical politics. Continue Reading »

Silence and Solidarity

Many colleges and universities open the new academic year with a special assembly or convocation that is generally an upbeat occasion of welcome and new beginnings. The Catholic University of America held such an event several days ago, and it included, appropriately enough, a beautiful mass led by Washington’s Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl. The music was sublime and the liturgy well ordered. Dr. John Garvey, the president of CUA, was presented with an award by the Archdiocese of Washington. It was an altogether appropriate and uplifting event. But just before the dismissal, the tone was changed as Cardinal Wuerl, speaking without notes, delivered this admonition with a sense of urgency: Continue Reading »

The Statute of Kalisz’s Great Legacy

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Christian rulers across Europe east and west persecuted and expelled Jews. While the papacy had denounced blood libel rumors, Christians from England to Crimea abused their Jewish neighbors, sometimes blaming them for the Black Death. In 1215, the Catholic Church decreed in the Fourth Lateran Council that Jews were to wear special clothing distinguishing them from Gentiles, and were to be segregated in ghettoes. In 1492, Queen Isabella the Catholic of Castile expelled the Jews from Spain. Seven hundred and fifty years ago today, the duke of Greater Poland, Boleslaw the Pious, issued one of the great exceptions to this pattern of persecution: the Statute of Kalisz. Continue Reading »

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