Was Ayn Rand A Secret Altruist?

"No one will hate this book [Atlas Shrugged] as much as the Catholic Church. Not even the Communists." -- Ayn Rand I've only recently been appraised that the anti-Catholic writer Robert Tracinski has produced a response to a column I wrote, trying to approach Ayn Rand charitably.To some extent, Tracinski's critique misses the mark. For example, here's what he writes: He explains that he doesn’t like the book because, among other reasons, Ayn Rand held that the “parasitic weak deserve to be … [Read more...]

Of Course Shakespeare Was Catholic


It seems that a new discovery (h/t YIMCatholic) might be (rather, ought to be, though almost certainly will not be) the last nail in the coffin of the idea that William Shakespeare was anything but a Roman Catholic.Pretty much his entire family was Catholic, including activists; he was likely educated in Catholic school. And his plays contain Catholic themes. Think of the positive portrayal of Friar Laurence in Romeo & Juliet, or the way in which Hamlet's father's murder is described as p … [Read more...]

The Ancient Art of Reading And Biblical Interpretation


The 20th century philosopher Leo Strauss is perhaps best known for his reflections on "esotericism", the practice by almost all pre-19th century authors to write their books on several levels, with a deeper level underlying the apparent, literal level.As the title indicates, Strauss's book Persecution and the Art of Writing focuses mostly on the fact that before the late-Modern era, there was no such thing as free-speech guarantees and that, since Socrates, most philosophers knew very w … [Read more...]

The Meaning of the Renaissance Popes


Whenever a Catholic dares to critique the all-too-frequent supineness of non-Catholic Christian religious bodies towards their respective nation states, an angry accusation of hypocrisy inevitably follows. What about the Renaissance Popes! What about that damned Borgia! (You mean Saint Francis Borgia? Wow, I love him too!)And it seems to me that this rather misses the point. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, the Renaissance Papacy was venal and corrupt and meretricious. And uniting Christendom … [Read more...]

What Is “Biblical Morality”?


Over at the Patheos Atheist Channel, the blog "Rational Doubt" has a post titled "The Futility of Biblical Morality".The post argues that people should not look to the Bible as a moral guide, for two reasons:a. The Bible is not a divinely inspired document; b. The Bible can sometimes be hard to interpret.Of course, this is all a bit vacuous. Obviously, there are people who believe that the Bible is a divinely-inspired document, so one wonders what one thinks one is trying to ac … [Read more...]