Category Archives: Culture

‘The Red Tent’ on Lifetime — Bible or Bunk?

Bunk, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to biblical adaptations, the best policy always is, buyer beware. Tonight (Dec. 7), at 9 p.m. ET, Lifetime premieres a two-part adaptation, concluding Monday, of Boston-based Jewish writer Anita Diamant’s 1997 novel, “The Red Tent,” very loosely based on the story [...]

The Destruction of The New Republic

The New Republic is (or was) probably the most respected left of center journal of opinion in the United States.  It has a venerable history, having been founded a century ago by impressive intellectual figures like Herbert Croly and Walter Lippman.  Now, it seems, it has been destroyed. Not literally destroyed.  It will continue to [...]

He Who Must Not Be Named: 10 Christmas Jesus Disses

Like it or not, Jesus is coming this Christmas. Many people don’t like it at all. Some call it Christophobia, though that designation recently took a hit. Some call it “the war on Christmas” but Stephen Colbert and others have mocked that into near oblivion. Whatever you want to call it, modern American culture loves [...]

The Catholic St. Paul’s Choir School Celebrates Christmas on CD and PBS

Boston has long been a focal point of the Catholic Church in America, for good and ill. But the Faith endures, and now one of its local institutions has delivered a thing of pure beauty for Christmas. Available now for download and on CD from Universal Music Classics/Decca Records, “Christmas in Harvard Square” is a [...]

In Defense of ‘Mary Did You Know?’

When Bono said “There’s been a lot of talk about this next song, maybe way too much talk,” he could have been talking about “Mary Did You Know?” The “holiday song” which has attracted the attention of pop acts from Cee Lo Green to Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd, has gotten a lot of attention [...]

‘The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns’ — Francesca Says, ‘God Has Used Me to Do Good’

“The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns,” airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime (click here to see the Nov. 25th premiere) is “reality TV,” which is to say it’s hardly an accurate representation of reality, especially the long and largely internal process that Catholics go through discerning whether to enter religious life. The show follows five [...]

The Ferguson Riots: Tribalism vs. Civilization

Our country will be a long time counting the cost of the breakdown of public order and communal trust in Ferguson, Missouri. The Brown family lost their son. Struggling urban store owners lost their livelihoods and life savings. The people of the town lost their trust in the justice system, or in their fellow citizens. [...]

Abraham Lincoln,Thanksgiving, and the First Amendment

Over at the Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Daily Signal, I have a piece arguing that the longstanding tradition of presidential proclamations of thanksgiving challenges the contemporary theory that holds that there must be “strict separation of church and state.”  Here is a key passage: In his 1864 announcement Lincoln credited “Almighty God” with the preservation [...]

I’ll Never Do “Black Friday” Again

I’ve never understood the appeal of shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It’s not the crass commercialization of Christmas that bothers me. After a long period of the convert’s pecksniffery about decorating for Christmas during Advent, I’ve made my peace with the (Protestant) American way. We don’t do it that way in our house, but I’ve [...]

Benedict XVI on Politics and the Holy Mass

The other day at the used book store, an older title by Joseph Ratzinger–not yet Benedict XVI–caught my eye: The Feast of Faith, a collection of reflections on the liturgy.  I am primarily interested in political issues,  but I like to read anything by Benedict.  From experience, I usually expect to encounter in his writings [...]


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