7 results
April 26, 2015

Saturday’s lead editorial in our local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, was titled “Who Should Represent California: Father Serra or Sally Ride?”

There is a movement afoot (and more than afoot: it seems to be running to the finish line with almost no opposition) to replace the statue of Junipero Serra that appears in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Sally Ride. Serra’s statue has been there since 1931. Ride’s statue is yet to be commissioned.

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March 16, 2015

It is said that half of all the art in Europe is in Italy, and half of all the art in Italy is in Florence. That may not be arithmetically precise, but it can’t be far from the truth.

When Florentine art is mentioned, everyone thinks of the giant Uffizi Gallery, but there are many other showplaces, among my favorite being the Bargello, which once served as a jail but today houses chiefly sculpture, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, where the best pieces from the cathedral are kept....

February 17, 2013

After some years away from him, I’m back on a Ronald Knox jag. I’ve got several shelves of his books—nearly everything he wrote—and a few nights ago compared what I have to the listing of his works in Evelyn Waugh’s biography of him. Of the few titles I didn’t have, I found some at online book dealers, so three are on their way to me.

One book I hadn’t taken down from the shelves in a long while was Essays in Satire, published in 1930. Two of the essays particularly caught my...

February 8, 2013

If you visit the Campo de' Fiori (Field of Flowers) in Rome, you won't be able to miss the statue in the middle of the square (which, by the way, was still a meadow when it received its name in the Middle Ages). The statue is of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake there. He was convicted on today's date in 1600 and executed nine days later.

Bruno commonly is called a "martyr for science" because he endorsed the same Copernican theory that, through injudiciousness in discussing...

February 7, 2013

On this day in 1878 Bl. Pius IX died. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferreti was the second-longest reigning pope in history, after St. Peter. He oversaw the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), and became the "prisoner of the Vatican" when the Papal States fell to the army of the new Italian state. He was beatified in 2000. He commonly is said to have been a liberal when he ascended the papal throne in 1846 but became a conservative as he aged....