At The Imaginative Conservative, Joseph Pearce offered an apology to the creators of new film, Tolkien. A few weeks ago, Pearce had written that he feared the movie would distort the reality of JRR Tolkien’s life.
Pearce predicted that the “heroism” of Tolkien’s mother, who converted to Catholicism at great personal cost, would be “airbrushed out of the picture altogether, as will any other positive portrayals of Catholicism”. He feared that Tolkien’s mentor Fr Francis Morgan would be portrayed as having “a sordid homoerotic attraction to the young Tolkien”.
But none of this had come to pass, Pearce wrote. Tolkien’s mother was portrayed sympathetically; as for Fr Morgan, “There’s none of the anti-Catholic bigotry that one has come to expect in the characterisation of priests in contemporary cinema. He shines forth as a compassionate father figure.”
It is true, Pearce said, that the film understates the depth of Tolkien’s faith. But this is a “quibble”. Overall, “I have seldom been more pleased to be wrong.”
The best way out of the two-income trap
In the Scottish Catholic Observer, Brandon McGinley looked at the “two-income trap”, a phrase popularised by the US Democrat politician Elizabeth Warren in a 2004 book. Warren “made the important observation that the two-income system for raising families has been a raw deal”. As the expectation grew that families would need two wages to survive, prices rose. “The stay-at-home mother, previously a source of social and financial security, was being increasingly compelled into the workforce not so much by culture as by economic necessity.”
For many families, it was simply impossible to have and raise a family on a single income.
The 1950s ideal of a man providing for his family through sheer “gumption and savvy and thrift”, isn’t the answer, McGinley argued. We need “to look to the deeper traditions of human communities, where families thrived not based on rugged individualism or strict divisions of labour, but on their embeddedness in strong communities and the willingness of each member to contribute in his or her own way – and then applying those lessons in creative ways to our modern economy.”
A twist in the tail on theological liberalism
At Mutual Enrichment, Fr John Hunwicke found “tremendous material for thought” in a speech by Blessed John Henry Newman. Newman assailed “liberalism” – which he defined as the belief that “one creed is as good as another”.
Newman remarks that theological liberals often appeal to a lot of things which are “good and true … justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence …”
But then he adds: “There never was a device of the Enemy, so cleverly framed, and with such promise of success.” Just when it seemed Newman would praise liberalism, he turned out to be making a very different point.