The Abbot and Aunt Susie

In the August/September issue of First Things , Matthew Milliner gave a delightful account of his visit to the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of St Anthony in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. At least, I quite enjoyed it”though, truth be told, I would have enjoyed it considerably more had it not included a brief exchange Milliner had with the monastery’s abbot … Continue Reading »

Fire of Love

Poets have always known that love is a fire. It burns, it melts, it consumes, it heats; it can smolder and burn low, only to burst out again with new energy. Lovers give themselves to the flames, risk and hazard all they have… . Continue Reading »

Art and Human Flourishing

Why art? Countless millions cry out for food to relieve their hunger. Many are caught up in wars, praying for some semblance of peace. There are diseases to cure. Environmental disasters to prevent. International institutions to build. Why, indeed, art? … Continue Reading »

Charity By The Sword

Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his followers the Apostolic Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Many Christian rulers would interpret this as a command to use the power of government to enforce the faith… . Continue Reading »

Take Two: The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls

Frank Capra and Ayn Rand are two names not often mentioned together. Yet the cheery director of Capra-corn and the dour novelist who created Objectivism have more in common than you might imagine. Both were immigrants who made their names in Hollywood. Both were screenwriters and employees of the film studio RKO Pictures. And during the last half of the 1940s, both created works of enduring cult appeal, Capra with his film It’s a Wonderful Life and Rand with her novel The Fountainhead… . Continue Reading »

Rationing Bono & Other Gaia-Saving Ideas

Eschewing teleconferences that could reduce their carbon footprints to almost nothing (assuming they all own computers and work in offices appropriately outfitted with vision-wrecking fluorescent overheads), the usual bureaucratic suspects have gathered in Cancun, Mexico, for another round of United Nations’ “talks on climate change””that malleable and useful crisis upon which every weather variant and geological shift may be blamed without proof, for as long as the scam can dependably line the right pockets, and infringe upon our daily living without discomfiting the elite… . Continue Reading »

I Was Ignorant, and You Taught Me

Over the years, I have learned five things about the sort of people who write strangers to ask religious questions: 1) even a question about an apparently trivial matter or a wildly unfair criticism may reflect a real spiritual struggle; 2) most inquirers are looking more for confirmation or consolation than engagement and teaching; 3) many of those who honestly want to be taught do not want to be taught that much, beyond a “yes” or a “no” and a two sentence explanation … . Continue Reading »

Real Social Justice

This week marks the birthday of a man most folks have never heard of, although he coined one of today’s most ubiquitous phrases: Social Justice. Born in 1793, Luigi Taparelli D’Azeglio was an Italian Jesuit scholar who co-founded the theological journal Civilt Cattolica and served as rector of the seminary Collegio Romano… . Continue Reading »

In Defense of the TSA

If a terrorist wants to launch an attack in the U.S. using a weapon of mass destruction they have two basic options: (1) Create the WMD in a foreign land and smuggle it into America, or (2) smuggle a knife onto an American airplane and use it to create a WMD. The first option remains only a hypothetical scenario, yet the threat of it occurring was used as a primary justification for the invasion of Iraq… . Continue Reading »