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That Motu Proprio

Having apparently gone on a silent retreat during Lent, Pope Benedict’s long-rumored motu proprio on the Latin mass looks as though it may put on its new biretta and stroll out for the Easter Parade. It’s completely ready! says Le Figaro .Er, it’s maybe ready! says the Catholic . . . . Continue Reading »

Dodging One Bullet, Shot with Another

Poor Tony Judt. The much-published author of such books as Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 and Past Imperfect , Judt recently took to the pages of the New York Times to review Michael Burleigh’s new volume, Sacred Causes . It was not what you might call a positive review: "This is . . . . Continue Reading »

Dutch Euthanasia

In his book Seduced by Death , Herbert Hendin reported that one reason the Dutch people have not turned against their euthanasia law is that doctors and the media in Holland do not candidly report about the many abuses and violations of the law that occur with regard to their country’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Bashing Darwin, Becoming Catholic

Herewith a peek at a forthcoming installment of "The Public Square" in First Things . Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest is a vigorous polemic by John G. West of the Discovery Institute . Dr. West properly takes to task prominent conservatives such as George Will and Charles . . . . Continue Reading »

An Opinion About Opinions

I haven’t figured out whether I agree or not with Robert Miller on the prevalence of genuine relativism . He is certainly right that there are almost no consistent relativists out there. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to be an absolutely consistent relativist, as it almost . . . . Continue Reading »

Plotting Human Rights

"Peace is a communist plot," Irving Kristol used to observe back during the Cold War. The line was one of his typically brilliant and overstated ways of focusing attention on a insufficiently noted fact¯in this case, the fact that nearly every organization with the word peace in its . . . . Continue Reading »

It’s Not All Relative

As I wrote in this space last week (see here and here ), many Catholic thinkers tend to dismiss as "relativists" anyone who disagrees radically with them on some moral or political matter. This, I argued, is a mistake, for there very many ways of disagreeing with Catholic moral teaching, . . . . Continue Reading »

Tatian on Death and Immortality

A recent diagnosis of cancer I got late last year, with some subsequent surgery I had to undergo in February, got me to thinking (as well it might) of death, the immortality of the soul, and the final resurrection of the dead. Being a theologian by habit, if not by talent, in the past four months I . . . . Continue Reading »

The Episcopal Declaration of Independence

Last week, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops met and let the world know just what they think of the rest of the Anglican Communion. The official text of their resolutions ran to several thousand words, but for the effect they are likely to have on the church’s relations with the . . . . Continue Reading »

Beyond “Beyondism”

I think it was David Brooks who coined, years ago, the term "beyondist." A beyondist is someone who urges us to get beyond left/right distinctions, beyond partisan politics, beyond the stymied options of the day. Jim Wallis is a good example, as the title of his book God’s Politics: . . . . Continue Reading »



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