JB: 12.17.05 Ah, Christmas…

Ah, Christmas time, that fecund moment most welcome in the bleak of bitter winter! Ah, Advent days, so rich, so ripe, so opulent in golden light, while like a pall of poverty the hoary frost and thin-crust snow lie hard upon the cold-pressed earth! Ah, Yuletide, when for the briefest instant in the . . . . Continue Reading »

DN 12.16.05 Following the no…

Following the no confidence vote in the House of Commons that led to the fall of the minority government of Liberal Paul Martin, the Governor-General of Canada (who is the official representative of the Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen) has called for a parliamentary election on January 23rd, . . . . Continue Reading »

RJN: 12.15.05 Over on Catholic…

Over on Catholic World News, there is this fellow who calls himself Diogenes, aka Uncle Di. He is, how we shall put it, unsparing. There is, for instance, this : “Your Uncle Di fondly remembers those days of undergraduate study in cosmology and causality, parsing the tight packaging of St. . . . . Continue Reading »

JB 12.15.05 Vetting advertisements…

Vetting advertisements for a magazine is always a little tricky. Editors have a financial responsibility to keep the publication going, and it’s a fairly well-established practice in the trade to accept ads that don’t necessarily match the magazine’s editorial line¯I suppose . . . . Continue Reading »

SB: 12.13.05 The philosopher Daniel…

The philosopher Daniel Dennett visited us at the University of Delaware a few weeks ago and gave a public lecture entitled "Darwin, Meaning, Truth, and Morality." I missed the talk¯I was visiting my sons at Notre Dame and taking in the Notre Dame-Navy football game. Friends told me . . . . Continue Reading »

JB: 12.12.05 So, Clean Gene…

So, Clean Gene is gone , slipping away at age eighty-nine. The death of Senator Eugene McCarthy on Saturday has already touched the newspapers and Sunday morning political-talk shows with the usual obituary moment¯the obligatory hiccup of reflection in which everyone old enough to remember . . . . Continue Reading »

JB: 12.10.05 So many little…

So many little unfairnesses scrape at that raw, angry place in the heart. Money, looks, fame, intelligence. The effortless drape of my neighbor’s elegant overcoat, the easy seductive patter of the man at a nearby restaurant table, the cool grace of some winning stranger’s smile. All the . . . . Continue Reading »

RJN 12.09.05 Joshua Skinner…

Joshua Skinner is among those researching that troublesome Chesterton quote about those who do not believe in God ending up by believing not in nothing but in anything. He thinks we get pretty close to it in a Father Brown story, “The Miracle of Moon Crescent” in The Incredulity of . . . . Continue Reading »

RJN: 12.08.05 Christoph Cardinal…

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn kicked off quite a discussion with his New York Times essay on neo-Darwinism and Christian faith this past summer. In the forthcoming issue of F IRST T HINGS , he expands on the argument he is making. His article is titled “The Designs of Science.” For . . . . Continue Reading »

RJN: 12.08.05 Today is the…

Today is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation for Catholics. It is an amazement how many people, including otherwise thoughtful Catholics, think the immaculate conception of Mary means that she was not conceived by the natural means of procreation. Immaculate . . . . Continue Reading »