February 24, 2013
In a selection from his forthcoming book The Intellectual Temptation, former European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein suggests that an academic obsession with abstract theory over hard-won experience lies behind our political and cultural crises. Bolkestein takes us from centralization through multiculturalism to cultural self-flagellation: ideals – or ideologies – that define the landscape of contemporary Western Europe.
December 29, 2012
Carrie Frederick Frost
Family is on everyone’s mind during Christmastide, whether it be the Holy Family of the Christmas story or our own families. But rarely is this topic approached theologically or as a virtue. Read Carrie Frederick Frost’s reflection on the under-appreciated virtue of familial responsibility and its great exemplar in the novel Kristin Lavransdatter.
December 2, 2012
In every society, power must be humanized and used morally in order that free and civilized life might prosper. And in a commercial society, businessmen and businesswomen wield especially great power and are frequently called into roles of civic and political leadership. So, why should they read great literature?
November 12, 2012
A review of Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists.
Not long ago Starbucks sandwich boards advised us to “Take comfort in ritual”—in this case the diurnal rites of lattés and Frappucinos. It’s clear enough that the Giant of Joe benefits from regular patronage, but less clear is why recommending ritual might not be off-putting to a clientele whose apple of wisdom is to “think different.” Ritual is religious (or is thought to be) and is therefore considered wholly personal. Most Westerners tend to regard its presence in public space with suspicion.
November 12, 2012
What’s wrong with rape? As soon as we scratch the surface of the problem we encounter the deep complexity of human relations. It is important to recognize this complexity, particularly when the discussion of sexuality – arguably the most intimate form of human relations – is played out in exultant parades in which triumphantly brandished signs defend “slut pride” by proclaiming things like “my short skirt has nothing to do with you”, “we’re taking ‘slut’ back”, and “I’m a human not a sandwich”.
February 1, 2010
Peter Augustine Lawler
It’s my pleasure to be able to introduce Nalin Ranasinghe’s Socrates and the Underworld: On Plato’s Gorgias to you as one of the most able, eloquent, noble, profound, and loving books ever written on Socrates. Ranasinghe restores for us the example of a moral hero who inaugurated a moral revolution in opposition to his country’s post-imperial cynicism and nihilism. What Socrates discovered about the human soul remains true for us in our similarly cynical and nihilistic time. Here’s the truth:
October 29, 2009
“What the word says, the image shows silently; what we have heard, we have seen.” That is how the Seventh Great Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople in 787, summarized its defense of the use of icons in Christian worship. What the council confessed to have heard from scripture and to believe, is that God became man in Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel of John “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:13–14). Through an act of unfathomable kenosis, the infinite had become finite, the uncircumscribable was circumscribed in a human being, and the invisible was made visible.
October 9, 2009
Writing at the threshold of the twentieth century, G. K. Chesterton noted that “Words are perpetually falling below themselves. They are ceasing to say what they mean, or to mean what they say…”1 Matters are no different today, thanks in large part to the impact of media on literary and cultural life. And perhaps no words have been susceptible to decay in meaning more than religious ones.