The Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

You know the story. Forty years ago¯on July 25, 1968¯a tired, grumpy, and celibate old man in Rome issued an encyclical called Humanae Vitae , solemnly declaring that birth control is bad, and half the world responded with a shrug. The other half responded with a sneer.It’s hard to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mass Man

Every thinker has one idea—and after he formulates it, all his subsequent works are no more than elaboration: developments and revisions of the same basic intuition. Or so, at least, claimed the French philosopher Henri Bergson, and if ever there was a definitive example, it’s José Ortega y . . . . Continue Reading »

In Search of Realism

Twenty years ago historian J.G.A. Pocock shook the academic establishment with a sweeping account of the development of republican political ideals, from Florence in the Renaissance to the American Founding. His work, The Machiavellian Moment , was perhaps the most ambitious of its kind to trace the . . . . Continue Reading »

Those Whitewashed Walls

Nicosia, Cyprus touts itself¯mournfully but with a dash of pride¯as the world’s “last divided capital.” The southern side, which is muscularly Orthodox when not pedantically secular, boasts dozens of lovingly tended churches and several active, impressive mosques. On a . . . . Continue Reading »

Babylon, Then and Now

I’m working away at a new book, tentatively titled American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile . It will be a greatly expanded version of the argument set out in an earlier article [ Our American Babylon , First Things , December 2005]. In the course of my research, I’ve been delving into . . . . Continue Reading »

Obama’s Faith Base

The other day, I visited with my father-in-law and watched the television news¯something I rarely do, but a good way of catching up with the conventional wisdom about current events. From the talking heads, I learned that Barack Obama is doing what every conventionally smart candidate does . . . . Continue Reading »

A Man of Hope

My father, Thomas Patrick Carroll, Sr., was always a man of hope. Thanks to his natural Irish optimism, Dad spent much of his career in motion, moving my mother, brother, and me to half-a-dozen states where better opportunities beckoned and God’s call seemed to lead.Seen through Dad’s . . . . Continue Reading »