RD: Culpable ignorance

Responding to my doubts about the prudence of recent war making (the United States in Iraq, Israel in Lebanon), Jody points out ¯ quite rightly¯that nobody can know to a precise degree of certainty whether a war will be successful before it is waged, and that blunders in the course of a . . . . Continue Reading »

JP: Tribute to Belloc

In the healthily rambunctious spirit of Michael Novak’s posting yesterday (I refer to his "Beer Blessing" in ecclesiastically resplendent Latin), I was reminded of Belloc’s immortal lines in praise of the place of ale in Western civilization. I apologize in advance for the . . . . Continue Reading »

MN: Belief and discomfort

People who call themselves atheists often say rather strange things about people with faith¯things like, "Well, if you need the comfort, go on and believe." An odd notion, that there is "comfort" in faith. Serious believers often don’t find it so. Actually, it has . . . . Continue Reading »

August Blogging at Firstthings.com

After the tremendous response to Rome Diary , Richard John Neuhaus’ daily reports from Italy on the papal funeral and election in the spring of 2005, we kicked around the idea, here at the magazine, of continuing to post regular items on the First Things website. Blogging, you might . . . . Continue Reading »

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

I started reading it when it came out a couple of years ago, and I would like to say it is the kind of book you can’t put down but, distracted by something or the other, I did put it aside until the trip to Poland a couple of weeks ago. Gilead , like the town by that name, is fictional, or so . . . . Continue Reading »

Vatican and Lebanon

The situation in the Middle East has been changing so rapidly, it seems impossible to have timely commentary on it. The best outcome one can imagine is a restoration of Lebanon. Hezbollah has been for years an organization existing in the cracks of modern nation-states. It is in certain ways a . . . . Continue Reading »

Movies by M. Night Shyamalan

"Who would presume to know the intentions of another human being?" someone asks in Lady in the Water . Who indeed, but the most prosaic and literal-minded of critics? And it is to his critics that M. Night Shyamalan has really addressed both this question and his latest film¯critics . . . . Continue Reading »