Devil Resides in Vatican

So the Vatican’s chief exorcist insists that the joint is demon-possessed. Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican … . Continue Reading »

Remembering Rohmer

Eric Rohmer, leading director of the French New Wave, died in January at age 89. During a career that spanned fifty years, he gained international acclaim and some box-office success. But he died having been loved for the wrong reasons… . Continue Reading »

Sympathectomy of the Soul

For centuries, the Hippocratic Oath, including the admonition against abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia, formed the core of Western medical ethics. While the Hippocratic ideal has been eroding for decades, the most direct challenge has emerged in the Netherlands, with the cultural and legal acceptance of the right to die… . Continue Reading »

Concessions to Our Human Weakness

Whenever we process information, interpret an experience, or organize our actions, we do so within the context of existing intellectual knowledge abstractions”schemas. Schema theory has been developed within the field of psychology in an attempt to explain how these cognitive knowledge structures are derived from personal experience and how they are organized in memory… . Continue Reading »

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 »