Open, Disarming, and Inevitably Misunderstood

In his foreword to this remarkable book”structured as a conversation between Benedict XVI and journalist Peter Seewald”George Weigel praises the German Pope for his “frankness, clarity and compassion.” This is very true. It’s also an understatement. No serving bishop of Rome has ever spoken so openly and disarmingly as Benedict XVI does in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times… . Continue Reading »

Something Israel Cannot Do

“Both sides,” wrote my colleague R.R. Reno in “Bad Dreams,” his “On the Square” entry yesterday, “recognize that the future outlines of a Palestinian state will roughly follow the 1967 boundaries, with a few square miles (perhaps fewer) in East Jerusalem as the (admittedly very) wild card.” … Continue Reading »

Bad Dreams

In a recent short essay in America, the once influential magazine put out by the Society of Jesus. Fr. Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., offers what he thinks is a lasting answer to the conflict between Jews and Palestinians over the future of the Holy Land. Unfortunately, as he faces this thorny issue, which calls for the delicate exercise of theological reflection and prudential judgment, he offers easy Leftist slogans rather than serious analysis… . Continue Reading »

Prepositions, Prejudice, and Religiously Based Explanations

After an overzealous editor attempted to rearrange one of Winston Churchill’s sentences to avoid ending it in a preposition, the Prime Minister is said to have scribbled in reply: “This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put.” Churchill was confident about his writing style and knowledgeable enough to recognize that the “rule” against preposition-stranding was a convention of usage and not an inviolable grammatical standard… . Continue Reading »

Countercultural Time

During three years of outstanding service as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has often drawn the bishops’ attention”and indeed the whole Church’s attention”to the challenges posed by a new secularism that is, in its way, as great a threat to the integrity of Christian faith as the lethal totalitarianisms of the mid-20th century… . Continue Reading »

Why Marxism Always Fails

It was not the Marxist ideal in communism that was in error, really. It was that communism was compelled, rather than voluntary. Sometimes a sympathizer with classical Marxist ideology will write to me expounding on the compassionate and generous instincts that he believes are at the heart of Marxism … Continue Reading »

Moving Beyond Ritual

There wasn’t much compassion when it came to bread. It was 2006, and I attended a fellowship of rabbinical students across denominations that met every week over dinner. Our purpose was to cultivate compassionate Jewish leadership… . Continue Reading »

Secularist Cheating

You can see why the secularist might feel cheated. Every argument he makes against religious belief runs up against a great foggy X-factor called “God” and a useful hedge called “the Fall of Man” and an ace up the sleeve called “grace.” … . Continue Reading »