SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Opinion
As America veers between yelling and the silent treatment, is a national conversation even possible?
September 29, 2020
Matthew Schmitz
In the final presidential debate of 2016, Donald Trump promised to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v Wade. “That will happen,” he told the moderator. Hillary Clinton promised the opposite: “I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important … that we not reverse Roe v Wade.” Voters went to
September 29, 2020
Ben Sixsmith
We all know our actions have consequences for others, but we might not know, and never know, what they are or even whether they existed. Sometimes they are unintentional, resulting not from our deliberate plans but from chance encounters. Such indirect consequences shaped my perceptions of the Catholic faith. My grandfather was devoutly Catholic. When
September 29, 2020
George P. Matysek Jr
Patricia Kelly, who has died aged 88 at her family farm in Carroll County, Maryland, was a tireless advocate for the pro-life cause. Her gentle but persistent lobbying efforts helped secure a ban on physician-assisted suicide in Maryland. A mother of 10 and a parishioner of St Joseph, Taneytown, Kelly volunteered for Maryland Right to
September 29, 2020
Ken Craycraft
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
September 29, 2020
Fr Raymond de Souza
The homilist at the funeral Mass for Fr Paul Mankowski remark­ed upon “three things that were important” to the late Jesuit – his fam­ily, the Society of Jesus and St John Fisher. This last, the preacher suggest­ed, was a fitting devotion, for Mank­owski, like the martyr bishop, “was extremely learned, especially in biblical languages and
September 29, 2020
Christopher Altieri
Watching the disintegration of American polity from an ocean-and-a-half away is excruciating. The metaphors are all hackneyed. Not one of them will do. One thing is certain, however: we are way past watching milk spill, past dumpster fires, past train wrecks – and we are fast approaching the “Simpsons parody of a Bosch painting” kind
September 28, 2020
Gertrude Clarke
'The good news is that Cardinal Nichols has been supportive of most of the conclusions of the report he commissioned.'
September 25, 2020
Brandon McGinley
I remember the first time I realised I had grown-up friends. I had a few friends from school and college, but after I moved back home to Pittsburgh, they were all out of the picture. I was busy working in politics, which for better or worse mitigated the loneliness. In the meantime, my wife and
September 25, 2020
James Le Fanu
It is comforting, exhilarating even in these bleakish times, to learn of some won­drously ingenious detail of life, so extraordinary as almost to defy belief. For ornithologist Tim Birkhead a fer­t­ilised hen’s egg is an “everyday miracle of nature”, a complete and self contained support system for the dev­eloping embryo within. The yolk must contain,
September 25, 2020
Simon Caldwell
The televised final of Myanmar’s Got Talent last year featured a mesmerising performance by Erasmus – the stage name of the American magician Angelo Stagnaro. Erasmus began his act by randomly selecting a volunteer: he did this by throwing 10 paper aeroplanes into the audience, one of which contained a message to come to the
September 23, 2020
Bonnie Lander Johnson
We are in a season of protest. Taking to the streets or the picket line is an ageless method for communicating our disapproval. But everything else about protest in the digital age is quite new. Try taking a stand without a Twitter account. Four hundred years ago another radical development in communication technology introduced a