SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Matthew Schmitz

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October 03, 2019
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party is one of the most popular right-leaning parties in the West. It is also one of the most innovative. In recent weeks, it has promised a massive increase of healthcare spending – a proposal that is popular with voters and unpopular with libertarian ideologues. “There must be a health
September 19, 2019
Perhaps no American film has so successfully reproduced the self-image of its audience, or so thoroughly predicted the course of the next half-century, as The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). It is a truly great film, and its greatness is due in part to the fact that it expresses the impulses – not altogether
September 05, 2019
One hundred years ago, the National Catholic War Council, the predecessor of today’s US Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a “Program for Social Reconstruction”. Drawing on American progressive thought and the encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891), it argued for a living wage, urban housing, trust-busting, worker-run cooperatives, and employee ownership of industry. Unlike most documents issued
August 22, 2019
In 1981, John Paul II released Familiaris Consortio, a document which stated that unless the divorced and remarried abstain from sex, admitting them to Communion would “objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist”. In 2016, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia called this
August 08, 2019
On July 14, parishioners of Saint-Budoc à Porspoder in France learned that a vandal or vandals had vomited in the parish’s holy water stoups and thrown a cross in the trash. On July 26, paint was splashed on the faces and crotches of figures in the Valinhos Way of the Cross in Fatima, Portugal. On
July 25, 2019
Earlier this month, a conference on “national conservatism” in Washington, DC, showed that the terms of debate on the American right are changing. Intellectuals on the right are increasingly likely to cast their arguments in terms of what serves the nation, rather than what serves the individual. Beyond these shared terms, there sometimes seemed to be
July 24, 2019
Earlier this month, a conference on “national conservatism” in Washington, DC, showed that the terms of debate on the American right are changing. Intellectuals on the right are increasingly likely to cast their arguments in terms of what serves the nation, rather than what serves the individual. Beyond these shared terms, there sometimes seemed to be
July 11, 2019
The President of the United States has never asked God for forgiveness. Our social media mobs never grant it. America seems to have given up on redemption. Some things are no longer considered sins, but the sins that remain have become unforgivable. In the early 19th century, Americans observed national days of fasting, humiliation and
June 27, 2019
Conservatives think of themselves as defenders of the Western tradition. But they are particularly uneasy about one aspect of it: the insistence that political communities should seek to advance the common good, and indeed the highest good. Augustine spoke of political communities as bound by common loves: “The better the objects of this agreement, the
June 13, 2019
When young radicals gathered in the streets of Paris in May 1968, Régis Debray was nowhere to be seen. As his friends playacted at revolution, he sat in a jail cell in Bolivia. He had been arrested in 1967 and sentenced to a 30-year term for his involvement in a guerrilla group led by Che
May 30, 2019
If Catholics were barred from public office, our politics might be greatly improved. Such a harsh assessment would be unthinkable if Catholic politicians had identifiably Catholic voting records, but on the whole they do not. In fact, when it comes to defending unborn life, our purportedly Catholic legislators do more evil than good. According to
May 16, 2019
Last week Pope Francis disappointed advocates for the ordination of women. His previous statements on the death penalty and Communion for the remarried had encouraged their hopes. If the Pope could apparently disregard previous teaching on these matters, they thought, why could he not announce that the Church will sacramentally ordain deaconesses? First at an