America’s Greatest Mystery Writer

G.K. Chesterton’s Fr. Brown stories are proof that only the British style of detective fiction can reach to religion¯or so, at least, a friend recently claimed. W.H. Auden’s great essay on the Christian origins of the mystery story came into the argument somewhere, as I recall, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Auth Cartoon

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer published the Tony Auth cartoon below.Apparently referring to the fact that the five Supreme Court justices who voted last week in Gonzales v. Carhart to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 are all Catholics, Mr. Auth’s point seems to be . . . . Continue Reading »

Philip Rieff’s Charisma

I don’t think many would dispute that Philip Rieff was one of the most perceptive and creative intellectuals of the second half of the twentieth century. His justly famous 1959 Freud: The Mind of the Moralist has never gone out of print, and rightly so, because it remains the definitive . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion and the Common Good

Sooner or later, every teacher hears the same old joke about the philosophy student and his dad.The dad asks, “Son, what are you going to do with that goofy degree?” And the son says, “I’m going to open a philosophy shop and make big money selling ideas.” I smile every time I hear it, . . . . Continue Reading »

With Guts Enough to Be Disarming

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major-league baseball, as the Dodgers beat the Boston Braves 5-3 over in Brooklyn. The sixtieth anniversary of that event was a little over a week ago, when fitting commemorations were held in ballparks across the continent.We . . . . Continue Reading »


We will, I imagine, be talking about the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart for a long time: sorting out the implications, reading the tea leaves, following the press coverage. Earlier today Michael Uhlmann did a nice job , here on the First Things website, of placing the . . . . Continue Reading »

Put on Your Body Armor

Concerning yesterday’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart , a few preliminary observations based on a very quick reading:The Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence remains a singular embarrassment. That fact is well known by, and infuriating to, Roe ‘s sophisticated supporters and . . . . Continue Reading »