Oscar’s Parochial World

In a scene in the Oscar-nominated film An Education, an older British man with designs on a precocious teenage girl concocts a story for her parents about how he is taking her to visit his old professor, C.S. Lewis. Although Lewis does not figure further in the film, this is a pivotal moment… . Continue Reading »

The Lukewarm Generation

Sociologist Christian Smith began his ambitious, multivolume effort to plumb the religious lives of Americans across the life course in his 2005 with Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. In that book”aimed at an audience that the author hoped would include general readers as well as clergy and scholars”Smith painted an incisive portrait of religion among America’s adolescents… . Continue Reading »

Science, Reason, and Catholic Faith

A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from a theologian named Chris Baglow, whom I didn’t know. He told me that he had just completed the first draft of a textbook on science and religion for use in Catholic schools and colleges and wanted to know if I’d be interested in taking a look at it. A textbook on science and religion? … . Continue Reading »

How JFK Secularized the Catholic Conscience

Dissenting Catholics in the public square seem to unite around at least two principles. One is their dogged pursuit of the appearance of ideological consistency. However grave the division between their public and private beliefs, persuading the public of their supposed unity of mind is a priority often pursued with rhetorical acrobatics… . Continue Reading »

Children of Lesser Gods

Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, a serious contender for worst movie of 2009, is noteworthy mostly as a disastrous attempt to channel Allen’s humor through the caustic verbiage of the increasingly unfunny Larry David. But the problem is deeper than casting… . Continue Reading »

Happy Anniversary to First Things

March 2010 signifies First Things’ 20th Anniversary. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a cross-section of the magazine’s highlights from the last two decades. We had an embarrassment of riches to choose from, a reminder to all of us of the lasting significance of the magazine’s achievements. Please join us in celebrating, and enjoy the 20th Anniversary Issue, available on newsstands and online today… . Continue Reading »

Muddled Moral Reasoning

In a New York Times column today, Mark Oppenheimer reviews the controversy surrounding former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen’s efforts to square waterboarding with Catholic moral doctrine. Mr. Thiessen has some ill-informed views, and Mr. Oppenheimer seems to have failed to do his homework… . Continue Reading »

Interview with George Weigel

First Things : How did you get involved in the magazine? Where and when did you meet Fr. Neuhaus? George Weigel: I first met Father Neuhaus in May 1978, in New York, when I was arranging a conference on international human rights in Seattle, where I then lived and worked. We quickly became fast . . . . Continue Reading »

Interview with James Nuechterlein

First Things : So I think the first thing we would like to know is what it was that brought you to New York in the first place and how you met Father Neuhaus and your background. James Nuechterlein: In the early ’60s, he was then Pastor Neuhaus of St. John the Evangelist in Brooklyn, and I . . . . Continue Reading »