Notre Dame’s Faustian Bargain

My younger son will be graduating from the University of Notre Dame in May. Last Friday, he informed me that President Obama will be giving the commencement speech and will be awarded an honorary degree. I was, frankly, stunned. The joyful event of our son’s graduation has now been . . . . Continue Reading »

Britain’s Naked Public Square

A series of high-profile legal battles and workplace rulings during the past several months has kept Christianity, or its lack, in the headlines in Great Britain. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, caused outrage last year when he suggested that Shari’a law might replace British . . . . Continue Reading »

Tributes to Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

The April issue of First Things is now on sale¯a set of tributes and memorials that mark the death of the magazine’s founder, Richard John Neuhaus. Among the many fine pieces is Fr. Neuhaus’ unpublished essay, ” The One True Church ,” together with reviews of Fr. . . . . Continue Reading »

Young and Irresponsible

A couple of years ago Richard disliked something I had written and chided me for it in “The Public Square.” He began: “Richard J. Mouw and I have been friends since we were both young and irresponsible.” There was more than a little hint there that he thought that at least . . . . Continue Reading »

He Threw It All Away

In the early 1970s, Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus was poised to become the nation’s next great liberal public intellectual¯the Reinhold Niebuhr of his generation. He had going for him everything he needed to be not merely accepted but lionized by the liberal establishment. First, of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Sledgehammer of Modernism

Massive concrete buildings, post-war housing projects, highways torn through old neighborhoods¯so much of the ugliness we take for granted in our cities testifies to influence of Le Corbusier. Born in 1887 as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, the thin, intense young man from a provincial Swiss . . . . Continue Reading »

Dancing with the Pornographers

Last week, the ABC television show Dancing With the Stars aired its season premiere, bringing professional dancers and celebrities together and seeing what happens when they put on their dancing shoes. Over twenty-two million viewers tuned in to meet the latest match-ups¯in past seasons, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Keep the Fast, Keep the Feast

Over the centuries, Christians have fasted for many reasons. Sometimes the reasons have been good. The apostles and their churches fasted and prayed before selecting elders or ordaining missionaries. Christians have fasted in mourning for their sins. They have fasted and prayed to combat demons and . . . . Continue Reading »