The Importance of Slow Architecture

I’ve not been to Las Vegas since my high school Latin group stopped there briefly on the way back from the Junior Classical League convention up in Bozeman. But I take it the new resorts look much more glamorous than their original models in Europe, Egypt, wherever. For some tastes, Paris in Nevada trumps (forgive me) Paris in France, even at 50% scale. It’s been remarked that theme parks can offer a kind of childlike introduction to a more grownup understanding of… Read more

The Father of Catholic Social Teaching

“Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveler who has been attacked. It is justice’s role to prevent the attack.” – Blessed Frederic Ozanam During the June Rebellion of 1832 in Paris, memorialized in Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Miserables,” many of the insurgents were students from the Sorbonne, still a college within the University of Paris system.  In the rebellion, some 93 insurgents were killed, along with 75 members of the army and national guard. As one… Read more

I sometimes give money to bums

Sometimes we do things on the basis of an intuition and only later are we able to verbalize what that intuition was, and why we felt compelled to obey it. Read more

Who Does God REALLY Love?

I have a friend named Trish who frequently corners me after Mass to ask questions about things she finds baffling about Scripture or Catholic teaching. Her questions range from the mundane – “Why, if Mary remained a virgin, does Scripture refer to the ‘brothers and sisters’ of Jesus?” – to the sublime – “How can it be that Jesus is both human and divine?” Why Trish brings her questions to me, I’m not sure, but I always try to reward… Read more

A Conversation on War, Torture, and the Limits of Evil – Part 4

[This post concludes Paul Grenier’s dialogue on torture and solidarity. You may also read part 1, part 2, and part 3.] PROFESSOR.  Certainly it is a good idea to take a break, though I disagree that we have exhaustively covered our topic. We have done nothing but review the problem of torture in the abstract and have not even scratched the surface of why the Americans are torturing in fact. After all, not a shred of evidence has come forward… Read more

“Running In and Out with a Flag” (the Distributist League)

“Look here,” G.B. Shaw once gently chaffed his friend and debating partner G.K. Chesterton, “Is there really a Distributist League, or is it merely Titterton running in and out with a flag?” Shaw was referring to W.R. Titterton, the de facto organizer of the League, who once described their meetings thusly: “The formal business of the [Distributist] League was followed by after-meetings in the general bar of the Devereux, where an account by one of the members describes pint pots… Read more

A Conversation on War, Torture, and the Limits of Evil – Part 3

[This post is a continuation of Paul Grenier’s dialogue on torture and solidarity. The first part can be found HERE and the second HERE. In this third section, the Ambassador, continuing his argument with the Professor, resumes the debate.] AMBASSADOR. You say that both sides must be at risk. Very well. In the case of the ticking time bomb, both sides are at risk. And unless the terrorist is tortured (if you insist on using that term), innocents, perhaps many thousands of… Read more

Amoris Laetitia, Vatican II, and “The Long Defeat”: A Defense of the Pope as Shepherd

There are many devout people, it seems, who imagine the Church a purely transcendent, an ideal which has no good reason and certainly no need to descend into the darker, dirtier areas of earthly life. They would have the Good Shepherd sit on a hilltop, preaching his principles and shining his light for the world to see. But the problem is that sometimes the sheep leave the hilltop. Read more

Deconstructing the Corner Drugstore

If you haven’t read Jeremy Beer’s The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity, well then tant pis pour toi, as the French used to say. It’s an eloquent historical essay on how we got from a theologically-grounded and localized culture of charity to the technologically-driven, globalist system of institutionalized do-goodery today. From the jacket blurb: “[Beer] exposes the way modern philanthropy’s roots are entangled with fear and loathing of the poor, anti-Catholic prejudice, militarism, messianic dreams, and the… Read more

Art For An Integral Ecology

A. Vonn Hartung is a Puerto Rico-based artist who works across a variety of media, including painting, woodcarving, mosaic, and ceramics. His defining achievement came in 2001 when he was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican to be so recognized by the Holy See. Vonn’s portrait hangs in the Hall of Saints of the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican. Inspired by Pope Francis, Vonn and his wife Patty are now offering to the Church a powerful… Read more

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