July 4, 2019

As a kid, I watched the History Channel special on the American Revolution every year. I loved learning about the origins of my country. Coming as I do from a patriotic family, a family in which both grandfathers fought in World War Two, one of them at D-Day and Bastogne, the whole ritual was imbued with filial significance. I brought a book about the 101st Airborne, my grandpa’s division, to my high school for a grown-up show-and-tell. I would look… Read more

July 3, 2019

Traditionalist orders and parishes are on the rise. The Dutch Dominicans are full of new life after forsaking a watering-down of their communal and spiritual life. Cardinal Sarah has called for ad orientem liturgy. It just seems to be in the air—young people like the Latin Mass, or at least attach themselves to older devotions. Anecdotal evidence may, for many people in my age group, corroborate this. A recent piece on the English Oratorians emphasizes the lively relationship between their… Read more

July 2, 2019

Christianity is a communal religion; it coheres in a Church, a body of believers spiritually- and socially-united in faith and deed. Whatever people may say about Vatican II seriously wounding Catholicism, no Christian group has escaped challenge from an individualistic modernity. In fact, some say our decline goes back well beyond the Council. First and foremost, any decline in Christianity has stemmed from the destruction of our communities. People must move to find work, alienating themselves from structures of support…. Read more

April 21, 2019

It is tradition in many Byzantine Churches to read from the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom on Easter. Perhaps, the sermon is most famous for its ending: O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For… Read more

April 18, 2019

The Bad Sleep Well is my favorite film by Akira Kurosawa. As with many of his films, it finds its basis in a Shakespearean play—in this case, Hamlet. For my purpose here, its most interesting element is its dissection of Japanese corporate culture: the board members, the salarymen, the suppression of conflict such that it must operate in the shadows, manifesting primarily in decorous putsches. Where Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street offer depictions of greed, most typically… Read more

April 15, 2019

Notre Dame is perhaps the most famous cathedral in the work. And now, it’s on fire. It remains to be seen how much of the structure will remain. A 19th-century spite has fallen and, at least from photographs, the flames seem bright and undeterred. Many relics and priceless artifacts are exposed to destruction. The cause also remains unclear. The whole thing seems shrouded in smoke; what the fire illuminates remains no more available for comprehension. We watch and it burns—paralyzed,… Read more

April 11, 2019

What could this title even mean? In our day and age, “the medieval” is most often made to confront modernity. That’s when Catholics were Catholic, when Protestants didn’t even exist. By contrast, socialism is a modern pan-heresy that exalts the State over and above everything else. The pairing seems unthinkable. And yet, it’s not, according to Fr. Bede Jarrett, O.P. In 1914, he wrote a book entitled Medieval Socialism. I’ve been reading it, and, while it’s filled with some of… Read more

March 29, 2019

I’m no fan of Donald Trump. I wouldn’t say I’m in the #Resistance. My favorite candidates in the current primary are probably Sanders and Warren. I’ve got some love for AOC and mostly find the way the Democrats have chosen to do things over the last couple of years ineffectual, though they’ve achieved some modest successes—like their small victory in the midterms. Trump, however, tells us something about the actual nature of politics, something that the Dems have generally struggled… Read more

March 20, 2019

A debate has been unfolding in the (digital) pages of Church Life Journal: Troutner v. Waldstein, Post-Liberal theology v. Integralism, old v. new. Define it how you will, this back-and-forth reflects larger questions in our culture. These questions are fundamentally about our future—what and who we will become, what sort of world our children will see. As post-war prosperity followed the political instability of the Depression, so we ineluctably speculate about what follows after Trump, Orban, Brexit, and all the… Read more

March 19, 2019

First and foremost, we must pray for the victims, their families, and the assailants themselves. This is inarguably the Christian response: to hold up the innocent and the malicious in hope before a merciful and just God. But prayer, as Pope Francis has reminded us, is also a question of action, of uniting ourselves to the will of God such that we carry it out in this broken world. I am a graduate student; technically, I’m a literary critic. More… Read more

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