SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Matthew Schmitz

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May 02, 2019
In 1969, the Swiss Jesuit Herbert Haag published Goodbye to the Devil, an argument that Satan was merely a metaphor. Along with two American Jesuits, Henry Ansgar Kelly and Juan B. Cortes, he opposed the practice of exorcism. They reasoned that modern man had outgrown the medieval belief in demons. Fifty years on, it is
April 18, 2019
Benedict XVI’s decision to break his silence cannot have been made lightly. At the time of his resignation, the former pope announced his intention to withdraw and remain “hidden from the world”. His few public comments since then have carefully skirted current debates. Now he has done what it seems he intended never to do.
April 04, 2019
Brilliant, impish and alarmingly productive, Ben Shapiro is a William F Buckley for the internet age. Hundreds of thousands of fans listen to his podcast, read his columns and crowd campus auditoriums to see him spar with liberals. Shortly after his new book, The Right Side of History, debuted at the top of the New
March 07, 2019
Coco Chanel had no precursors in fashion. Her forerunners were religious fanatics, the ascetic souls who scourge themselves and their societies so as to bring about a new freedom. “I loved what was beautiful and loathed prettiness,” Chanel said. In her severity, her implacability, her hatred of every compromise, she was a perfect Savonarola, a
February 21, 2019
As the Catholic Church proceeds to declare John Henry Newman a saint, some will try to present him as a queer icon. Andrew Sullivan has already done so, writing that Newman’s friendship with Ambrose St John (beside whom Newman was buried) shows “that deep same-sex love was still alive in the highest echelons of the
February 07, 2019
The danger to Western Christians doesn't come from sword-and-sandals tyrants, but from an enforced code of etiquette
January 24, 2019
When none of my historian friends are looking, I like to draw parallels between Pope Francis and Blessed Pope Pius IX. Of course the pairing is on its face unlikely. Francis is the cool pope, a mascot for those who believe that Christ came 2,000 years before the fullness of time, which will only arrive
January 10, 2019
Richard John Neuhaus, who died 10 years ago this week, was a master of words who was mastered by the Word. Whether he was speaking at anti-war rallies alongside Joan Baez, preaching to his congregation (Lutheran before his conversion, Catholic after), or holding forth at the table, he used his eloquence to point men toward
January 08, 2019
Richard John Neuhaus, who died 10 years ago this week, was a master of words who was mastered by the Word. Whether he was speaking at anti-war rallies alongside Joan Baez, preaching to his congregation (Lutheran before his conversion, Catholic after), or holding forth at the table, he used his eloquence to point men toward
December 20, 2018
Perhaps because red and green look garish together, or because roasted chestnuts have no taste, or because “everyone telling you be of good cheer” is rather depressing, or because “peace on earth, goodwill to men” is supposed to be the proclamation of a new kingdom, not an invitation to complacency, I find myself dreaming of
December 06, 2018
Barring the unforeseen, John Henry Newman will be declared a saint in 2019. Church authorities have determined that a woman in Chicago who had a life-threatening pregnancy and a deacon in Boston who had a debilitating spinal condition were each miraculously healed after praying to Newman, thus clearing the way for his canonisation. In time,
November 22, 2018
Ex-Catholics never seem to propose any higher, truer teaching than the Catholic faith