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An Obituary for the Culture Wars

I returned last Tuesday from a week in Rome, which is always an instructive, and frequently an edifying, experience. From numerous conversations over leisurely meals with Vatican officials, one gets the impression of quiet satisfaction with the pontificate of Benedict XVI after the first two years. . . . . Continue Reading »

Bible Park U.S.A.

The Bible is coming to Rutherford County. Yes, the Tennessee home I share with both the photogenic hog that now graces the new editions of Charlotte’s Web and those teachers who, as a prank, told students on a camping trip that a crazed gunman was loose near their cabins—as well as the . . . . Continue Reading »

Canon 1398: A Clarification

I wrote in this space yesterday about the controversy surrounding the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI concerning whether Mexican legislators who voted to legalize certain abortions were excommunicated lata sententia under canon 1398. As I stated yesterday, c. 1398 prohibits only "actually . . . . Continue Reading »

Catholic Politicians and Excommunication

Earlier this month, a reporter asked Pope Benedict XVI whether he agreed with the Mexican bishops who warned Catholic politicians voting to legalize first-trimester abortions in Mexico that they would face excommunication. Benedict said that he did indeed agree with the Mexican bishops. As reported . . . . Continue Reading »

Donate Now or We’re Calling UPS

As you may or may not remember, last week was Pledge Week . This week (or what’s left of it) is Still Another Pledge Week . . . week.Most such campaigns promise to send you some premium in exchange for a fat donation . We, on the other hand, promise not to send you any of the following items . . . . Continue Reading »

Pentecost and Public Life

What has Pentecost to do with public life? As Paul would say, much in every way.The Bible does not permit us to confine the work of the Spirit to the inner man or to private experience. Through Isaiah (44:3), the Lord promised to pour out water on the land of Israel and his Spirit upon . . . . Continue Reading »

America and Its Dead

You can see them at many grave sites where the War of Independence was fought, and the battlefields of 1812, and the Civil War. You can see them at the Alamo. You can see them arrayed now in rows of crosses and stars of David below the purpled hills of Anzio, and on the long sweeps of the green . . . . Continue Reading »

A Day in Chelsea

Francis Bacon once wrote, "Read not to contradict and confute; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider." The sentence exaggerates. Some books are maligne and require contradiction. As Dr. Johnson knew, talk is one of the pleasures of life, and if books enrich . . . . Continue Reading »

When a Book Reviewer Is In Over His Head

Here’s the latest example of a fascinating, though depressing, cultural phenomenon. A fellow who clearly knows nothing about a deep and difficult intellectual problem produces a manuscript purporting to resolve the problem definitively. Such a fellow is a crank, you might think, and will quite . . . . Continue Reading »

When the Saint Goes Swearing In

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is a cultural and religious enigma. An indigenous American religion that springs from the great American West, it was founded by the descendants of Europeans who had settled in the northeastern United States. Its practitioners, known as Mormons, . . . . Continue Reading »



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