17 results
May 30, 2014

Mark Twain considered his biography of Saint Joan of Arc, whose feast we celebrate today, to be his best work. He called the Maid of Orleans “easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” The story of St. Joan is well known by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but we may be surprised to learn just how well it is known: There may be no medieval figure whose life is better documented than that of Saint Joan of Arc.

The story of her...

May 5, 2014

Who among us does not long to go back and witness first-hand certain moments in Catholic history? Certain decisive moments. 

Here are a few of mine: On the eve of the battle of Lepanto, Don John of Austria silenced his quarrelling admirals without raising his voice. “Gentlemen,” he said.  “The time for counsel has passed. Now is the time for war.” Imagine the stunned—yet impressed—look on the face of the Venetian sea veteran Sebastian...

March 18, 2014

Not so long ago—certainly within my parents’ lifetime—Catholics so influenced the culture in America that Archbishop Fulton Sheen ruled the television airwaves, Flannery O’Connor, the short story, and Walker Percy, the novel. The critics at the New York Times Review of Books must have gnashed their teeth each time Percy delivered a book deeply suffused with Catholic sense, but they could deny neither the brilliance of his prose nor the penetration with which treated the...

June 21, 2013

A considerable number of Catholic youths who would never countenance the murder of an unborn child cannot see why two men (or two women) “who love each other,” as they say, should not have the right to marry. If you don’t believe me, then I’m guessing you haven’t spoken recently with a student at one of America’s diocesan high schools about something other than soccer or where he plans to go to college.

It is little wonder that so many teenagers are confused. The whole concept of a...

May 31, 2013

It is perhaps too common in our age to regard vacations as opportunities to shut down the brain and fire up the senses: Pig out, drink up, sleep in.

That may be a bit of a caricature. On the other hand, ranking among America’s top five tourist destinations is a city in the Nevada desert the economy of which profits from these and other excesses best left unmentioned.

Please do not misunderstand me. Like my friend...