Chronicles Magazine Religion

The Broken Promise of American Cities

There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say,...

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  • Heresies

    Speaking of Hell

    Did Pope Francis deny the existence of Hell? If previous episodes in this pontificate are any guide, those who earnestly seek a definitive answer will likely discover that, much like the natural fate of the Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

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  • Heresies

    Hour of Decision

    Looking objectively at the legacy of Billy Graham in the wake of his passing is virtually impossible, especially for me personally. I know several people who answered the altar call at a Graham crusade, “just as I am without one plea, but that...

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  • Heresies

    Cult of America, Part I

    Whether or not America is or ever was a Christian nation is hotly debated. It is fashionable today on the left to ascribe whatever currently is deemed by it to be unacceptable to the legacy of privileged patriarchal white men whose Christianity...

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  • Correspondence

    Chained Bible

    The Church of England is now a citadel of advanced liberalism. It went over to secularism long ago, and its zealots intensify their hold upon doctrine and practice. The charge sheet includes, but is not confined to, support for the transgender...

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  • REVIEWS

    Shepherd in a Strange Land

    “I’m a pastor, not a scholar,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2011, said when I interviewed him earlier last year for Catholic World Report about his new book. “A bishop’s job is helping people get to...

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  • Heresies

    No Time for Indulgences

    [W]e cannot afford to set aside our differences: We need to rediscover them, defend them vigorously and magnanimously, teach them to our children, celebrate them in worship and festival, and nail them to the church door when necessary.

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  • VIEWS

    Ut Plures Sint

    For the last three months I have been asking people at my college what the phrase cultural diversity means, if it does not mean “a diversity of cultures thriving all over the world” or “the study of a broad diversity of cultures spanning four...

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  • Correspondence

    The Gift of Limitations

    When he was little, Rick Curry was the first of his friends to tie his own laces. That may not seem like such a big deal unless you know that he was born without a right forearm. He was brought up to believe he was completely normal.

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  • Correspondence

    Palm Sunday

    On Palm Sunday, I took a walk. It’s the first day of spring, and the sky is china blue, decorated with small cotton-like puffs of clouds. Flowers are blooming, and the ducks at the pond have laid their eggs.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Chief and His Men

    On June 1, 1945, Pope Pius XII met for three hours in private audience with his co-conspirator, the German lawyer Josef Müller. “I had hardly crossed the threshold into his study when the Holy Father approached me, and embraced me,” Müller later...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Dealing With the Devil

    Ralph Sarchie exudes an aura of intense strength when he walks into a room. A fit, middle-aged man with heavily tattooed arms (pictures of his daughters and tough cop tattoos, like one that reads New York Untouchables) and a buzz cut, who speaks...

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  • VIEWS

    Dante’s Human Comedy

    Prima sedes a nemine indicator: “The First See is judged by no one.” Thus reads Canon 1404 of the current Code of Canon Law of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and Canon 1556 of the previous code.

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  • REVIEWS

    Unshattered

    Admittedly, I approached Amanda Bell with a degree of caution. I am, to say the least, wary of fiction, especially fiction centered around a female protagonist who is on a path of self-understanding and realization.

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  • Stories

    Granny and Jesus

    Granny had been brought up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and went to church once every two or three years, usually on Mother’s Day, hoping my father would join her and learn to appreciate her innumerable virtues. He never went.

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  • NEWS

    Attack the Symbols

    By any chalk, Pussy Riot are marginal extremists. The pregnant woman, Nadezhda Tolokhinnova, now convicted, has a disturbing look in her pretty eyes, which suggests either drug abuse or a personality disorder: The scene with the cockroaches is...

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  • REVIEWS

    Maistre in the Dock

    In September 2010, Émile Perreau-Saussine, age 37, was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., with chest pains. The junior physician on staff misdiagnosed his condition and thus failed to prevent his death hours later of a massive...

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  • American Proscenium

    It's Ryan

    As a Catholic from the Midwest, Ryan embodies the type of voters the GOP ticket must win to capture the White House. It is difficult to see how Romney wins if he fails to gain the Catholic vote or to win a number of major Midwestern states.

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  • Breaking Glass

    And Pastures New

    Suppose you had to choose the single motion picture that dealt most seriously and challengingly with religious matters. What might it be? Offhand, I can think of a dozen or so possible answers from various countries, and probably most...

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  • NEWS

    Crusader in the Crossfire

    In January, I was tasked by the London Daily Telegraph to track Rick Santorum through the wilds of New Hampshire. Following his impressive gains in Iowa, many were giving Santorum good odds for winning the Granite State’s presidential...

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  • VIEWS

    Christian Democracy? No Such Thing

    Everyone hails democracy as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but very few realize—or dare realize—that democracy actually represents one of the most perfect forms of tyranny, because it is one the average citizen...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Ayn the Antichrist

    “Who is John Galt?” again rings throughout the land. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s doorstop novel chronicling a general strike of the productive against the “looters,” gains resonance during times of increasing government control.

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  • Breaking Glass

    Wisdom and Science

    Societies live by their mythologies, which become so passionately held that it’s usually risky to challenge them. Having said that, one major component of contemporary secularist mythology really has to be confronted, because it is so...

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  • American Proscenium

    Serial Killer

    Jack Kevorkian assisted in about 130 suicides—most of them women—from 1990 to 1998. Kevorkian’s modus operandi was to leave the bodies in a public place; a telephone call to authorities would then lead to a macabre discovery and the media...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Keeping History

    Ever since Hugo Black succeeded in incorporating his anti-religious prejudices and Thomas Jefferson’s “Wall of Separation” into Supreme Court jurisprudence, Americans have known how a story like this is supposed to end: A parent who comes into a...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Christophobia and Its Discontents

    The rise of multiculturalism and the rise of hostility to Christianity are related. And while Scruton is correct that the precise contours of multiculturalism are ill defined, we do know that it involves an exaltation of non-Western culture and...

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  • REVIEWS

    Bruised Reeds

    What is revealed is a man at once engagingly straightforward and wholly bound up with bearing witness to the “truth, the love and the joy that comes from conversion to Christ,” as George Weigel writes in his Foreword.

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  • VIEWS

    The One Civilization

    Popular culture in the West, and especially in North America, is an illusion, mostly electronic, that does not feed the soul. Indeed, it claims to do nothing but feed the senses, and as such it tends toward universal barbarism, fostering...

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  • Perspective

    Freedom From Religion

    The recent “flap” over the Ground Zero Mosque is the meaningless debate we have come to expect from American political debates, which are a mere exchange of platitudes. The only interesting part is the common ground occupied by both sides.

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  • REVIEWS

    Anarcho—Utopia Revisited

    Because a man owns himself, the late Austrian economist Murray Rothbard said, he may do anything to himself he wishes (thus suicide and abortion are not moral abominations), but he may do no physical violence to, or steal from, another. I...

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  • Heresies

    Mormon Apocalypse, Part II

    When Glenn Beck took the podium at his Restoring Honor rally, he began by listing off the names of American heroes and identifying their motivation to fight for their country: “You cannot coexist with evil.” If evil has reared its ugly head, an...

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  • REVIEWS

    Ubuntu!

    William Murchison gets right to the point in his eloquent account of mainline Protestantism’s near-terminal degeneration, written poignantly from an Anglican’s perspective.

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  • Heresies

    Christmas With the Devil

    “The true meaning of Christmas gets lost when we believe contrary worldviews,” the prisoner writes. “Our beliefs determine our views in a world where absolutes are fading away.” The prisoner is dictating this for his newsletter.

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Leaving the ECLA

    The recent decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to ordain active homosexuals and adopt a more permissive attitude toward fornication has put many parish churches in the difficult position of choosing whether to remain in...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The Necessity of Christianity

    According to an increasingly popular and influential narrative, the Founding Fathers were mostly crypto-atheistic deists who, as Christopher Hitchens is fond of pointing out, did not mention God in the Constitution, and gave us a First Amendment...

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  • Perspective

    Stepping Backward

    When Jefferson Davis was a boy, he told his father that he did not wish to go to school. The Yankee schoolmaster, although a kindly man, demanded a great deal of memory work and threatened to punish young Jeff for his failure.

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  • VIEWS

    The School of History

    The seven founders of the abbey had fled their native kingdom of Hungary in 1950 when the anti-Christian reprisals and “land-reform” initiatives of the new communist regime finally moved to close down their 660-year-old mother abbey of Csorna...

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  • VIEWS

    Educating for Faith and Community

    Few realize that the largest Protestant school system in the United States is operated by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. With 1,018 elementary schools and 102 high schools sharing a combined enrollment of 149,201 students, it is an...

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  • REVIEWS

    Freedom and Action

    In this rich and dense book, Michael Allen Gillespie is self-consciously trying to correct the “standard” understanding of the origin of modernity. Rather than being the “victory of secularism,” modernity, he says, is a series of attempts to...

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  • Heresies

    Christian No More

    C.S. Lewis wrote about the “death of words.” In essence, he suggested that, whenever we feel compelled to append a noun with the adjectives true or real, it is safe to say that the noun has lost its meaning, or died. “No, no,...

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  • VIEWS

    Home Church

    With the election of Democrat Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, I’ve watched a number of friends, family members, and acquaintances—conservative Christians, every one—come unglued. It would seem that this is the end of...

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  • VIEWS

    How to Win the War Against Christmas

    In the seven years since my first essay on the War Against Christmas appeared in Chronicles, I have had no trouble writing at least one such essay per year, because each year brings new and outrageous attempts to suppress the public...

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  • Perspective

    Christmas Nightmares

    Like many children growing up in the 1950’s, he looked forward to Halloween even more than to Christmas. It was, admittedly, a difficult choice, because at Halloween, all he got was candy or a disappointing piece of fruit, while Christmas was a...

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  • Heresies

    Merry Christmas, Pinhead

    Twelve long months ago, America was in the throes of Holiday Shopping Season ’07. It was a simpler time. The Dow was safely over 10,000, and we were all wondering whether it would be Hillary or Giuliani in the White House come January ’09.

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  • REVIEWS

    Kennedy Catholicism

    The indifference of Catholic elected officials to Church teachings is so common that it rarely attracts attention, but there are occasional exceptions. When at least five fervently pro-abortion politicians took Communion at papal Masses this...

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  • Heresies

    Out With the Old

    I sometimes wish he would have joined me in going over to the Lutheran church, but Gramp is a hardcore Baptist and just never was interested in learning why we do all of that standing up and sitting down, why we say some of the same words every...

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  • REVIEWS

    Instaurare!

    On being taken to Mass in the underground basilica at Lourdes, the late Msgr. Alfred Gilbey, that most courteous of men, was moved to comment, “It reminds me of nothing so much as a Nazi rally.”

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  • Letters to the Bishop

    Black Like Me

    I know May is a monster on your calendar, a whirl of confirmations requiring your presence in the backwater outposts of the Faith. The physical demands alone—the hours in the car, the parish suppers, the compliments and complaints—must weigh...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The Bishops’ Tale

    Last December, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams was roundly criticized for publicly denying the Christmas story. “Archbishop Says Nativity a Legend,” the Daily Telegraph headline screamed, igniting a transatlantic controversy over the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Atheism

    Strange as it may sound, one of the best antidotes to the angry atheism of such disaffected Britons as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins is the recent science-fiction novel Eifelheim by Michael Flynn.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Enemies of the Motu Proprio

    In a private conversation before the release of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” a leading personality of U.K. Catholicism predicted that the reinstatement of the Traditional Latin Mass would grant again such an abundant flow of graces...

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Who Votes Catholic?

    Quite a few years ago (1977, to be exact), a colleague tried to convince me that the best way to make our college conservative was to set up a curriculum and a program in Christian studies that would appeal to conservative Catholics.

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  • The Bare Bodkin

    Jesus’ Simple Message

    When you get intimately familiar with any artist’s work, you become delightedly aware of the development of his style. I was reminded of this lately while working on a book about Shakespeare; more than ever, I was impressed by the vast...

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  • VIEWS

    Throne and Altar

    My father, God rest his soul, was very fond of Thai food, with its quickly sautéd noodles and peppery élan. Not far from his condominium in the Rossmore section of Los Angeles, there was a practically endless selection of Thai places.

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  • The Rockford Files

    Inside the Gates

    Fr. Brian A.T. Bovee, the rector of Saint Mary’s Oratory in Rockford, sometimes calls his church Santa Maria Inter Carceres—Saint Mary’s Among the Jails. It’s a (half-)joking reference to the oratory’s location just to the west of the Public...

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  • REVIEWS

    Hitchens’ Hubris

    In July 1941, a political prisoner escaped from Auschwitz. As punishment, ten other prisoners were chosen by the Nazis to be killed in a starvation bunker. One of these men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began lamenting what his death would mean for...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Last Laugh

    In Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature, Anthony Esolen argues that Christianity introduced into European literature a new understanding of irony, an understanding found neither in the classical literature of...

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  • Perspective

    Ted’s Timor Mortis

    It was the second night of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), and Ted, the amateur catechist in charge of the class, was on a roll. The students were an odd lot of fallen-away Catholics, disgruntled Protestants who wanted to become...

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  • VIEWS

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Strange as it may seem today, once upon a time, Hollywood respected Christianity. Many movies had biblical themes—some were box-office blockbusters—but, more importantly, many others had scenes depicting religion as an integral part of American...

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  • VIEWS

    The Cardinal Vicar

    Twenty-one centuries will have passed since He promised to come in His glory, 21 centuries since His prophet wrote, “Behold, I come quickly.” For centuries, then, men had beseeched Him with faith and fervor, “O Lord our God hasten Thy coming.”

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  • Heresies

    For Zion’s Sake

    “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace,” declares the LORD, through his prophet Isaiah, “and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”

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  • Letters to the Bishop

    The I-Word

    This past May, I attended commencement ceremonies at Christendom College, where James, the oldest son of my oldest friend, was graduating with a degree in philosophy. Some of our fellow countrymen would declare such a degree about as useful as...

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  • VIEWS

    Love on the Rocks

    If George Barna, by far the most prominent head counter among American Christians, is correct, 35 percent of “born-again Christians” have experienced (to borrow from Tammy Wynette) “pure h-e-double-l.”

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  • REVIEWS

    God, Country, Notre Dame

    It must surely embarrass John Miller and the other Francophobic neocons to realize that one of the quintessential American institutions was founded by an intrepid French missionary, who offered this vision for his action: “I have raised Our Lady...

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  • Correspondence

    The Right to Blaspheme?

    The vociferous and, at times, incendiary uproar that suddenly erupted in early February with the publication in Paris of 12 “satanic drawings,” supposedly caricaturing Muhammad, offered the world one more proof of the extent to which, thanks to...

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  • VIEWS

    A Trip to Smart-Mouth College

    Over the years, there have been many errors identified in the various printings of the so-called Authorized Version (it was never officially “authorized” by anyone) of the Bible, the most beloved translation of the Scriptures into English.

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  • Letters to the Bishop

    Seminary Boot Camp

    Please forgive my extended holographic hiatus. What with the “priestly scandals,” the “bishop scandals,” the decline and death of one pope and the election of another, I assumed you and your fellow shepherds had your hands full.

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  • NEWS

    How Many Priests?

    For over a decade, the Roman Catholic Church has been in deep crisis over the issue of sexual abuse by Her clergy. That some priests had molested or raped children was indisputable, but just how many had offended?

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Gibson's Passion

    Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opens in theaters on Ash Wednesday (February 25). It is too early to tell whether Gibson has achieved his aim of creating an artistically compelling account of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life...

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  • VIEWS

    Divided Loyalties, Misplaced Hopes

    “By their fruits, ye shall know them,” our Lord once warned. Too often, however, when it comes to the promise of power or the allure of success, Christians are easily swayed to align themselves with those who cry, “Lord, Lord,” yet are, in...

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  • Letters to the Bishop

    Eucharistic Seconds

    Recently, having finished my post-Communion prayers at Mass, I was sitting along with everyone else, listening to our priest make a few announcements and deliver his last joke of the day, when I noticed my young neighbor in the pew—she was 15 or...

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  • VIEWS

    Rending the Seamless Garment

    People often ask me, “What is wrong with our priests?” or “Why don’t our bishops say more about abortion? They seem to have no trouble whatsoever speaking out quite freely when it comes to war or capital punishment.”

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  • VIEWS

    Hating Babies, Hating God

    When I sat down to write this article, Google reminded me that, when it comes to the issue of contraception, the stakes are very high. To check the date of publication of Dr. Charles Provan’s important work The Bible and Birth Control,...

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  • VIEWS

    Apocalypse Now

    American evangelicals, according to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “are the Israelis’ best friend in the whole world.” In return, they dubbed him “the Ronald Reagan of Israel.”

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Philokalia

    “He was a wicked man, but the Lord forgave him.” One fine spring day in my sophomore year of college, I joined my paternal grandmother on her more-or-less daily walk from her house out to the cemetery of my parent’s hometown in Eastern North...

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  • VIEWS

    The Third Iconoclasm

    The two roots onto which Western Christendom was grafted proposed very different notions about depicting the gods. The Greeks famously made images of Athena and Zeus, always depicting them as man writ large, and were untroubled by this glaring...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Heavenly Windows

    Saint Macarius’s words illustrate how this new and heavenly man finds visual expression in the art of the icon. In the icon, the Orthodox Church sees an important expression of our Faith in its totality.

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  • VIEWS

    My Hometown

    Saint Augustine did not originally desire to be a pastor. When, in 387, he finally surrendered to the Holy Ghost in the garden of his “philosophers’ estate” in the countryside outside Milan, he intended to follow the example of Saint Anthony and...

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  • Breaking Glass

    Of Priests and Peducators

    Over the past decade, I have been involved in public debate over the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and that experience has taught me a great deal about the way people come to understand—or, rather, misunderstand—social problems.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    God, Man, and Family

    The first chapter of the Bible forms the basis of the Christian understanding of the nature and dignity of man—and woman: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27).

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    At a Crossroads

    The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church (LCMS) is at a crossroads, and not for the reasons most might think. Conservatives and liberals within the 2.6-million-member synod have bickered and postured over their presidential election, held during...

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  • Anniversary

    CHRISTENDOM

    . . . [T]here is a fundamental point of intersection between the theory of a just government and much of the underpinning of what we know as Western civilization.

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  • VIEWS

    Roman Spies and Spies in Rome

    In the summer of 1943, as Allied forces reached Italy, U.S. Army counterintelligence warned GIs, "You are no longer in Kansas City, San Francisco, or Ada, Oklahoma, but in a European country where espionage has been second nature to the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Collision Course

    The polemics engendered by the beatification of Pope Pius IX are unlikely to go away. When all the false charges of antisemitism are set aside, the fact remains that this one man may have done more to stem the tide of liberalism than all the...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Catholic Rome

    St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that our intellect cannot grasp anything except through our senses. Recognizing this truth is essential to understanding the city of Rome and—beyond Rome—the Catholic Church, because Rome means nothing without the...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Church Arsons: The Real Story?

    It was one of the biggest stories of 1996: Black churches were burning all across the South, the seeming victims of a nationwide upsurge in racial hatred. Tens of thousands of horrified Americans rushed to contribute money toward the...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Debating the "Gentile Vice"

    At its annual "Ministers Week" lectures last year, the theological school of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas provided a revealing window into the contemporary debate within mainline church circles over homosexuality.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Liberal Slander

    At events such as the Episcopal Church's General Convention, held last July in Denver, traditional believers get slandered in all sorts of ways, most of them indirect but effective.

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  • VIEWS

    Tradition, Old and New

    As a starting point, we must distinguish between tradition as container and tradition as content. This is a difference between the positions of the two great confessional bodies which appear equally devoted to preserving their traditions.

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  • VIEWS

    Ethiopia Lifts Her Hands

    In a classic book of humor entitled The Experts Speak, we find an impressive collection of failed prophecies and wildly inaccurate predictions: Television would never catch on, nobody needs a personal computer, and so on.

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  • VIEWS

    Calvinism and Culture

    The most important element in the formation of a culture is the predominant faith of its people. The foundation of Western culture is Christianity; in this country, Reformed Protestant Christianity.

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  • Sign of the Times

    Vol. 1 No. 2 February 1999

    Plundering the treasures of conquered lands has always been a fair game, from Neolithic herds and Sabine women to works of art: Byzantine statuary adorns St. Marco's in Venice, and Elgin's marbles are in London to stay.

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  • REVIEWS

    In Our Own Image

    The greatest value of Charlotte Allen's book is the question it leaves eloquently unspoken. In the full etymological sense of the word, it is a crucial one; Are we here to find Jesus in ourselves, or to find ourselves in Jesus?

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  • VIEWS

    The Great Schism

    In August 1994, I was happy to be one of the many Latin clerics who over the years, in divisa or in borghese, have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Athos, the Garden of the Mother of God.

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  • VIEWS

    That They May Be One

    In this century, several different groups of Protestant churches have sought a measure of organizational unity: There have been a number of church mergers and there are ongoing discussions between officials and theologians of different...

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  • REVIEWS

    Against the Racketeers

    In January and April, Wistrich—a highly polemical writer with few scholarly accomplishments—castigated Lindemann in Commentary as an apologist for anti-Semites and Cambridge University for putting "its imprint on so biased and ignominious a work."

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    A Traditionalists' Alliance

    Seldom has a piece of foreign legislation elicited such an outcry among America's bien pensants as did a recent Russian bill designed to regulate the activities of the many religious sects that have been setting up shop in Russia since the fall...

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  • VIEWS

    A Good Report

    Forty years ago, merely identifying oneself as a minister, priest, or rabbi was a virtual guarantee of respectful treatment, and perhaps of a discount in stores or even "professional courtesy" from doctors and dentists as well.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    The Chastity Amendment

    The appearance of an article about American church life on the front page of the Washington Post is a rare occurrence. But the approval by the Presbyterian Church (United States) of a church law requiring celibacy of its non-married clergy gained...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Church Arson Mania

    A recent report by the federally appointed National Church Arson Task Force has confirmed that there never was any evidence of an upsurge in racist, fiery attacks upon black churches, despite the media spotlight of last year.

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  • REVIEWS

    City of Man, City of God

    This rich and complex book is on one level the summing up of a controversy over a properly Christian, specifically Catholic, view of politics which has pitted the author, a theologian, against certain "neoconservative" thinkers, notably Richard...

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  • VIEWS

    Sacramental Parodies

    "What do you expect of a spiritualist? His mind's attuned to the ghouls of the air all day long. How can he be expected to consider the moral obligations of the flesh? The man's a dualist. No sacramental sense."

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  • VIEWS

    Confirmation and Indoctrination

    Institutions survive because the old teach the young. The Quakers who founded Haverford and Swarthmore colleges in Pennsylvania had to admit that the Holy Spirit could use the help of explicit teaching to back up His direct conversation with the...

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  • VIEWS

    The Rise of the Profane

    At some point in their development, civilizations cease believing in the sacred and plunge into a new set of absolutes. No community likes to speak of decadence and its usually harsh symptoms; no one may even grasp the meaning of such an upheaval.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Burn, Baby, Burn

    For several months, the nation has been wracked by the widespread perception that black churches across the South were under widescale attack by racist arsonists. President Clinton dutifully visited a victimized South Carolina congregation, and...

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  • REVIEWS

    Up From Television

    In order to mark the 15th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's election to the Papacy, Italian Radio and Television commissioned Vittorio Messori to conduct a live television interview with the Pope.

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  • REVIEWS

    Jesus!

    The latest "Quest for Jesus" owes its origins to the discovery of two major texts and a host of lesser ones. The first key source is unknown to us as a document, but can be reconstructed from any New Testament.

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  • REVIEWS

    What Atheists Know

    In response to the charge of obsession with a "single issue," pro-life activists contend that the abortion debate is really paradigmatic. As Joseph Sobran suggested several years ago, "The debate about abortion is really the kind of debate...

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  • REVIEWS

    Sins of Omission

    The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is that, as Mark Noll puts it, "there is not much of an evangelical mind"; that, despite all their other virtues, "American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been for several...

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  • VIEWS

    The New Scapular

    For the Christian, AIDS is a summons to conversion, not merely for those who have the disease, but for the whole corrupted mass of society, drunk with pride and lust and the love of power that comes with technology.

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  • VIEWS

    Justice and Its Harvesters

    Nobody, except the New York Times and its worldwide allies, questions the right and duty of Catholic bishops to raise their public voice on moral issues, and on social issues intertwined with problems of a moral nature.

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  • VIEWS

    Episcopal Follies

    We have heard many debates recently about the undermining of moral and cultural traditions in contemporary America, a trend sometimes epitomized by the phrase "political correctness."

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  • Cultural Revolutions

    Virulent Propaganda

    "There is no God, and if there was. She made a mistake." That statement came from a colleague of mine during a class in philosophy. That is also the extent to which most public college students will hear the "G" word mentioned during their years...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Missionary's Son

    Henry Luce both created and dominated a new form of national journalism between 1930 and 1960. Founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Life, and Fortune, he is best remembered for his 1941 Life essay "The American Century," a robust call for the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Catholic Moments

    Patrick Allitt's study of Catholic intellectuals and their relationship to postwar conservatism is clearly presented and full of stimulating perceptions. Basic to this book is the contrast between two generations of American Catholic thinkers...

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  • VIEWS

    Ignorance and Freedom

    Important educators, including Benjamin Rush, attacked the traditional classical education, but the example and precept of Jefferson and other Founders kept America's leaders educated for freedom and creativity by maintaining their direct contact...

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  • REVIEWS

    Strange Days

    The wide-eyed declamations of Shirley MacLaine to the contrary, there is nothing particularly new about the so-called New Age, that hodgepodge of religious borrowings from diverse sources ranging from the genuine to the quackish.

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  • REVIEWS

    Progressive Pilgrims

    "It is risky to write about an ongoing series of events, in this case the Catholic church's history in the second half of the twentieth century," writes Thomas Molnar in the introduction to The Church, Pilgrim of Centuries.

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  • REVIEWS

    Piety and Meaning

    Walter Sullivan is professor of English at Vanderbilt University, the author of two novels, and, most recently, of Allen Tate: A Recollection. He is also a frequent and long-standing contributor to the Sewanee Review, in which four of the ten...

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  • REVIEWS

    Wills' Way

    Garry Wills is, of course, the talented apostate conservative whose interpretative political reporting avoids the usual journalistic cliches. No one will disagree that Wills penetrates events more deeply than do, say, the editorial writers for...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Sociology and Common Sense

    The "Common-Sense Sociology Test" made its first appearance in the mid-1960's. The test is now a familiar fixture in introductory sociology courses and textbooks, but in the beginning its exciting novelty instantly captured the hearts and minds...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Man for Distinctions

    Jacob Neusner's bibliography is as long as the laundry list of a professional football team. Only in his mid-50's, Neusner has published more than two hundred books, and several hundred scholarly essays.

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  • VIEWS

    The New Eschatology of Peace

    The relations of religious faith with political life in the modern world are riddled with paradoxes. In the Middle East, rapid secularization has provoked a fundamentalist revulsion, which seeks vainly to stem the tide of modernity that, at the...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Dinosaur

    Lewis was fond of referring to himself as an Old Western Man, one of a soon-to-be-extinct species: a veritable dinosaur. As a classically educated member of the Anglo-Irish middle class, one born at the turn of the century, his opinions to most...

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  • REVIEWS

    Worshiping the Golden Self

    Are religion and psychology enemies or allies? Can religion and psychology peacefully coexist? Can religion and psychology work together for the sake of social progress? Man and Mind, an anthology of thought-provoking essays, seeks to provide...

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  • REVIEWS

    In Search of Absolutes

    Caveat lector—shortly after glancing through the early pages of James J. Thompson, Jr.'s accurately but flamboyantly titled Fleeing the Whore of Babylon, I wondered how in this vale of tears I could complete the job assigned to me by Chronicles.

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  • Perspective

    Rights of Clergy

    I saw my old friend Browne recently. The subject eventually turned to the politics of religion and the religion of politics. I asked him what he thought about the current Anglican debate over homosexuality, and I wondered aloud if it had anything...

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  • Correspondence

    Bleary-Eyed for Christ

    Anxious to be liked, mainstream Churches roll over and piddle on the floor regularly these days, and seem to do so with the greatest vigor in the spring, when the pasqueflowers sprout on virgin soil and the "renewal" comes to town.

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  • VIEWS

    The Fear of Crisis

    In the November 1986 Encounter, the Princeton University economist Harold James sets out to tell us "Why We Should Learn to Love a Crisis." His explanation is not quite what we would expect from a champion of a market economy.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Second Opinion

    This profoundly conservative book forms a powerful personal argument against the liberal dogma that "modernity" destroys religion. Much of the left, militantly secular as it is, has attempted to make it "self-evident" that no reasonable person...

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  • VIEWS

    A Myth In A Garden

    Born the day after Christmas, 1902, like a wet firecracker, as my mother remarked, I entered a world that lived with and by other creatures. My grandchildren and their ilk are unaware that they are creatures.

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  • REVIEWS

    Catholic Church USA

    Three histories of the Catholic Church in the United States have become available within a two-year period—books by James Hennesey, S.J., Martin Marty, and now Jay P. Dolan, the bitterest of the three.

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  • VIEWS

    The Search For the Sacred

    Religion is inseparable from the sacred, the channel through which the divine transcendent communicates with man, according to man's sensate nature. Any object, natural or man-made—a Gothic cathedral or the lapis negra excavated on the Roman...

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  • REVIEWS

    Sons of Jacob

    The Jews Under Roman and Byzantine Rule has already appeared in German and Hebrew editions by the same polyglot author who has now produced the English translation.

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  • REVIEWS

    Second Adam

    Most persons now living can expect to witness the turning from the second to the third millennium of the Christian era. The year 2000 anno Domini looms as a seeming tower in time, commanding our attentive awe as we approach it.

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  • REVIEWS

    Bashing the Baptists

    "Who are these people?" someone asks about evangelicals in the early pages of Redemptorama, a book billed as an exploration of Christ and contemporary culture. Despite years of research and her own Southern Baptist upbringing, the author, Carol...

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  • VIEWS

    Trojan Asses

    On April 22, 1950, I published in the London Tablet an article entitled "The American Catholics Revisited," which provoked an avalanche of letters to the editor, wildly protesting against my observations.

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