The Chattering Classes Are Us

Catholics once had an intuitive understanding of sacred space: To enter a church, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, was to enter a different kind of environment, one of the hallmarks of which was a reverent silence. Some of that intuition remains… . Continue Reading »

An Idol Season

It’s that time of year, when celebrities and artists engage in self-promotional campaigning and play dress-up in hopes of snaring a nomination for a critic’s award or a guild award or an “arts and sciences” trophy celebrating their excellence, and the rest of us watch them do it. We watch them for the fashions and for the foibles … Continue Reading »

The Reasons the Heart Wants

The main character was the usual tortured ex-CIA agent, already a cliché when the show aired twenty-five years ago, a man haunted by his past and trying to find peace by using his skills to help the weak being victimized by the strong. More likely to be found in real life than the lead of The Equalizer, I think, was the lead in a Schwarzenegger movie who, when his wife finds out he’s a spy and yells “You kill people!”, replies, “Yes, but dey were all verry bahd.” … Continue Reading »

The February Issue is Here

The February issue is here! And not a moment too soon. First thing first, we have James Nuechterlein’s timely Public Square column in which he traces the few successes and many failures of America’s attempts to solve its racial problems… . Continue Reading »

An Infinite Passion

Atargatis, the “Syrian Goddess,” was a demanding mistress. For one thing, her priests (the galli) could win their way into her affections only by emasculating themselves. According to the De Dea Syria, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, any young man disposed to dedicate himself to her service in Hierapolis had to make this first and most extravagant oblation on one of her high holy days, in a fit of divine ecstasy … Continue Reading »

Affirming Authority

“We need authority to be ourselves.” So writes Victor Lee Austin in Up With Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings. Yes, that’s quite right, but there’s a further truth as well. We need authority so that we can become more than ourselves. Aside from the occasional anarchist, most acknowledge the need for some form of authority to block the worst excesses of sin… . Continue Reading »

When Atheists Are Angry at God

I’ve shaken my fist in anger at stalled cars, storm clouds, and incompetent meteorologists. I’ve even, on one terrible day that included a dead alternator, a blaring blaring tornado-warning siren, and a horrifically wrong weather forecast, cursed all three at once. I’ve fumed at furniture, cussed at crossing guards, and held a grudge against Gun Barrel City, Texas. I’ve been mad at just about anything you can imagine. Continue Reading »

The Reagan Centenary

February 6 is the centenary of the birth of Ronald Wilson Reagan, one of the most intriguing public figures of our time. Clark Clifford, the ultimate Washington “insiders,” dismissed him as an “amiable dunce.” Yet Reagan’s posthumously published diaries and speech notes show a man of considerable insight and intelligence, who was shrewd enough to understand that the contempt of the elites was a political asset in securing the loyalty of the electorate and in getting what he wanted out of Congress and the federal bureaucracy… . Continue Reading »

The Year of Living Anxiously

Phyllis Scheck, age 79; Dorthy Morris, age 76; Dorwin Stoddard, age 76; Judge John Roll, age 63; Gabriel Zimmerman, age 30; Christina Green, age 9. As you read this, those six human beings“mostly anonymous to the world but beloved of their families and friends“are being grieved, waked, remembered, mourned, celebrated and interred. They were murdered at a shopping center, on January 8 by an incoherent, mentally ill young man who was somehow able to get hands on a gun. … Continue Reading »

The Atheist Gives Us Nothing

Umberto Eco is one of those agnostic or atheist writers Christians tend to like, not just for the quality of his thinking on this or that question, but because every now and then he seems to let the cat out of the bag. “Your own guy admits it!” is one of the most satisfying arguments around. Christian apologists offer it a lot… . Continue Reading »