SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Ken Craycraft

February 27, 2021
For many of us, Lent is more about failure than success: Maybe that’s the point. We begin Lent (much as we did the New Year) with confidence and determination that this time we will maintain the self-control to sustain our resolution/discipline. For Lent, though, we are even more determined because our discipline is ordered toward
February 19, 2021
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, recently introduced a child-focused income redistribution bill that resonates with principles of Catholic Social Doctrine. While not perfect, and subject to tweaks and adjustments, the pro-child Family Security Act reflects priorities and creates incentives that resist the traditional conservative
February 13, 2021
On February 5, the United States Supreme Court partially invalidated California’s Covid-related prohibition on gatherings for religious worship. The Court was divided in its reasoning—four separate Justices wrote statements supporting, qualifying, or dissenting from the result—but the holding is a hopeful indication of this Court’s protection of the free exercise of religion. Six of the
February 03, 2021
US President Joe Biden has asserted his policy priorities through a flurry of executive orders (“EOs”). Among these is the “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” (the “Transgender EO”), one of 17 EOs signed on his first day in office. The ostensible purpose of this EO is
January 20, 2021
Dear President Biden: Congratulations on becoming the second baptized Catholic to attain the office of President of the United States. Many Catholics feel somewhat alienated from American political culture, and thus feel a sense of pride when one of our own achieves high public office. Unlike some of our brothers and sisters, I do not
January 16, 2021
Grieving the death of a parent can be incorporated into our moral lives because it’s part of the natural order of things, but there is no proper way to grieve the death of a child. It is not natural grief. It is alien, disordered, lawless, intrusive, obnoxious, repugnant. It is a festering sore that never
January 08, 2021
“When people write violent absurdities on the walls of a city, the city becomes violent and absurd.” For the past four years I have often thought of (and cited) this quote from Mark Helprin’s excellent novel, A Soldier of the Great War. Over the course those years, one prominent man, Donald J. Trump, has been
January 06, 2021
While “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways,” begins the Epistle to the Hebrews, “in these last days, He spoke to us through a Son.” The Star of Bethlehem is the sign that we most commonly associate with the announcement of God’s manifestation to the nations. Even though God has now revealed himself in
December 30, 2020
SCOTUS 2020 year-in-review, or: Why Alexander Hamilton may have spoken too soon. Alexander Hamilton famously called the federal judiciary the “least dangerous” of the three branches of the United States government — a claim that  requires some qualification in light of history, and especially in light of recent history. Hamilton predicted that the judiciary would
December 16, 2020
Today, December 16, 2020, for the 6575th consecutive day, I have decided not to take a drink of alcohol. For normal people, that is 18 years. But I’m not a normal person. I am an addict. At least for the purpose of staying sober, we recovering addicts know better than to count time in any
December 06, 2020
Advent differs from Seinfeld in at least one significant respect. Advent is a season about nothing. But unlike the pointless drifting of the characters and stories in Seinfeld, Advent is ordered toward and by a purpose that gives it meaning. It is a staple of Advent reflection to emphasize that this is period of watching
November 25, 2020
In a “normal” year, this is the time in the United States in which extended families and friends gather to feast, to give thanks for their blessings, and to initiate holiday festivities. While some families will maintain their customs this year, many will be forced to concede to the pandemic and either forego or significantly
September 29, 2020
Fr Paul Mankowski SJ, who has died at the age of 66, was a Jesuit priest of immense erudition. A linguist and literary critic, and an extraordinarily insightful analyst of the ills besetting the Church in his time, Fr Mankowski was also an inveterate controversialist who combined Midwestern frankness with his keen intellect and profound