Category Archives: Society and Culture

Conserving Something or Other

[Originally published on June 16, 2009]

Over at Taki’s Magazine, Charles Coulombe playfully takes readers on a fast-paced romp through the unfamiliar (for most people) political spectrum of what is called “Paleoconservatism.” His article, The Old Paleos and the New, seeks to explain the contrasts and often bizarre alliances within this recently-coined label. Continue reading

American Capitalism Gone With a Whimper

(Originally published on May 30, 2009)

From a Russian blogger comes a stinging critique of America under President Obama. Stanislav Mishin originally published this on his blog, Mat Rodina, but I’ve linked to Pravda’s reprint of it (the printer-friendly version, to spare you some grossly immodest ads).

Those who don’t think we’re living in a socialist oligarchy might want to look at this outsider’s view. A few lines are worth reproducing here: Continue reading

Something Real Men Must Know, on Chivalry

A friend sent me this, and I thought it worth sharing. All young men considering Holy Matrimony should keep this in mind for that time when they engage in Christian Courtship. Married men, and even celibates, should also know this, too. In the realm of religious devotion, there is a Lady worth dying for. In the ages of faith, She was both the object of Chivalric veneration, and the ideal of the lady.

Chivalry: Not all girls like it. Just the ones worth dying for.

Chuck Baldwin Praises Generals Lee and Jackson

<Originally Published on: Jan. 17 2009 >

Chuck Baldwin and I do not see eye-to-eye on religious matters. I am an avowed Catholic, he an avowed Protestant. That said, the man has some uncommon common sense on social and political questions. Witness his recent laudatory comments about two real American heroes. Continue reading

Give the Gift that Keeps Killing

Originally published on <Dec. 9, 2008 >

The marketing department at Planned Parenthood has become positively tasteless. Abortion, the killing of an unborn human, has been made the subject of a gift certificate at Christmas time. “What do you get for the girl who has everything — including something she doesn’t want? Why, an abortion, of course!” Continue reading

Our Lady of America and the Obama Nation

Originally published on <November 25, 2008>

Brian Kelly has written on this site about Our Lady of America and her apparitions to the holy religious in Ohio, Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil). These apparitions are approved by the Church, as the recent canonical study of the case by Archbishop Burke testifies. While there are many supposed apparitions which claim our attention, we put no credence in those lacking the Church’s approbation. Since this apparition is approved, and since it has a message for the Church in America, we consider it worthy of attention, especially now. Continue reading

“Live Free or Die!” — A New Hampshire Meditation

A displaced Dixie-dweller living in the frozen wilds of New England, I was, until recently, quite unaware of the history of my adopted state’s motto. New Hampshire’s license plate sports the catchy slogan, “Live Free or Die.” The phrase was the personal proverb of New Hampshire’s hero of the War for Independence, General John Stark.

Could there be a Catholic angle to this motto? Perhaps, but let’s first explore it at face value.

There are Granite Staters today, Catholics and non, who say that “Live Free or Die” is more than a motto, and they cite the fact that the stark sentiment behind Stark’s words are still enshrined in Article 10 of New Hampshire’s State Constitution: Continue reading

Scientific Conference Refuting Evolution Theory to be held in Rome

Press release from the sponsors:

Scientific Conference Refuting Evolution Theory to be held in Rome, Italy

The Scientific Impossibility of Evolution

November 9, 2009 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. St. Pius V University (Rome)

In Response to Pope Benedict XVI’s Call for Both Sides to be Heard



The 150th anniversary of Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” in November 2009 will be the occasion for a unique conference at Pope Pius V University in Rome presenting a scientific refutation of evolution theory. According to Russian sedimentologist Alexander Lalamov, “Everything contained in Darwin’s Origin of Species depends upon rocks forming slowly over enormous periods of time. The November conference demonstrates with empirical data that such geological time is not available for evolution.” Recently returned from a ground-breaking geological conference in Kazan, sedimentologist Guy Berthault will present the findings of several sedimentological studies conducted and published in Russia. In one of these, the age of the rock formation surveyed was found to be 0.01% of the age attributed to it by the geological time-scale—instead of an age of 10 million years, the actual age was no more than 10 thousand years. “Contrary to the conventional wisdom,” Lalamov observed, “these rocks formed quickly, and the fossils they contain must be relatively young. This finding contradicts the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record.” Continue reading

Anglicans? Say Rather They Are Catholics!

Here come the Anglicans! And it’s a good thing.

When England was evangelized, it was explicitly and directly a papal project, the inspiration of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, who sent his fellow Italian, Saint Augustine, to do the job. This was after a providential misadventure trying to go there himself. For the rest of time, that Augustine would be distinguished from his African namesake as “of Canterbury,” and that city would be, for a millennium, the primatial see of happy Catholic England. Then came the brutal English Reformation that tore “Mary’s Dowry” away from the true Church, producing such martyrs as Saint Edmund Campion and Saint Thomas More in its sanguinary effort to efface “popery” from the realm.

Tuesday’s news brought us the generally unexpected announcement that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has cleared a canonical path for Anglicans seeking union with the Holy See to do so in a corporate way, retaining part of their Anglican liturgical patrimony and customs, just as others had earlier been welcomed in and allowed to worship according to the so-called “Anglican Use” Missal, an expurgated version of the Book of Common Prayer. Continue reading

Concerning Palantíri and Blogses: Technology without Grace

A recent news story from the Los Angeles Times tells of a multi-level tragedy that reveals once again the the depravity of fallen human nature in its technologically-enhanced destructive ugliness. In brief, a teenage girl who was subject to depression was befriended by a sixteen-year-old boy online. After the six-week Internet friendship had developed to a point of apparent emotional attachment, the boy turned on the girl, terminating the friendship in a particularly cruel and vicious way. The girl killed herself. Continue reading

Longfellow and Tolkien: the Finnish Connection

What do the “shores of Gitche Gumee by the shining Big-Sea-Water” have in common with the “Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie”?

The Protestant American author of Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha is not generally associated with the Catholic British author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. But there is one literary connection at least — curiously, a Finnish one. Both writers were influenced by the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.

Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha was written in  the meter known as trochaic tetrameter, sometimes called “archaic trochaic tetrameter,” sometimes called “Kalevala meter.” This is rarely used in English. It is known that Longfellow had read the Finish epic — at least in a German translation and possibly in its Finnish original. Two journal entries, only a couple of weeks apart, reveal that Longfellow had recently read the epic, and soon after landed upon a meter for his own “Indian Edda” (as he called the Song). Longfellow was known to spend much time studying and meditating his subject before choosing an appropriate meter for his poem, so this is of great importance. Continue reading

The Shire, not the Borg

Recently, on two separate occasions, I discussed our apostolate with a couple of members of the media. One had something of a grasp of our community’s purpose. The other was far less aware and seemed swayed by some of the more ridiculous criticisms leveled against us. The contrasting lines of questioning from each was a bit amusing. Continue reading

Summorum Pontificum: the Battle Begins

Now that Summorum Pontificum has gone into effect, there are some interesting battle-lines being drawn. One of the most perceptive comments I’ve yet seen regarding the Holy Father’s motu proprio comes from Mr. Edwin Faust, who likened it to the Battle of Milvian Bridge and the Edict of Milan. That victory and that law did not make Rome Catholic, but they safeguarded Catholic liberties in the Empire. It was not until the reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395) that the Faith became Rome’s state religion. Mutatis mutandis, similar events have just occurred in the Church. Tradition is not the rule of the day, but it has been decriminalized. Continue reading

Christendom’s Building Blocks — Catholic Communities

(This is the paper written in preparation for a talk given at the 2005 St. Benedict Center Conference.)

In this talk, I am going to propose that the building blocks of tomorrow’s Christendom are Catholic Communities. Before I proceed in explaining why I believe this is the case, and before I explain the principles behind it and what it entails, it would be appropriate to give some definitions. Continue reading

Apocalypse Now, a Hollywood Meditation

Imagine that you are thrust into the most captivating film plot about the end of the world. Reality as it is portrayed in the most special-effects-ridden movie Hollywood can make, complete with a Hans Zimmer musical score, suddenly and inescapably absorbs you. Good and evil are in a war for ultimate dominion, and you — yes, you! — are decidedly hand picked to join the incongruous rag-tag army that will save humanity from the Ultimate Evil. Continue reading

The Right Stuff: On Barack Obama and the Conversion of America

Of what stuff are you made? Is it — to borrow a line from Saint Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons — “the stuff of which martyrs are made”? This is a question we would do well to ponder as we examine our commitment to the Faith.

To be sure, it is God who raises up martyrs out of our frail stuff. Without His grace, the weak could not be strong — and nobody, in and of himself, has the strength for martyrdom. That being said, it remains that our wills must cooperate with this grace. To do that, barring a miracle of grace, they must be acclimated to virtuous living, to the habitual practice of the moral virtues guided by the theological virtues and elevated by the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Continue reading

The Great Stereopticon

Reproduced below are about two pages of the thinking of Richard Weaver, the philosopher whose work we recommended in our third installment of the recent series on American culture. The subject of Weaver’s text: “the great stereopticon.” Borrowing the name of the nineteenth-century pre-film viewing device, the reality the Platonic philosopher critiques is the technologically enhanced thought control to which we are subjected by newspapers, film, radio, and television. It is a machine, this stereopticon: a big gadget built by man, with many parts. And new parts keep getting added to it. Even though Weaver’s work was published in 1948, when television was just getting its start and the Internet was decades away, his considerations are timely. In fact, if we excuse an occasional dated reference, they are now even more timely. Continue reading