19 results
September 11, 2014

As Christian Europe tore at her own throat during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) the Ottoman Turks missed a golden opportunity to strike their centuries-old enemy.  Why?  They were themselves absorbed with war in Persia.  Moreover, they were beset by a turbulent period of harem intrigue and governed—or not—by a string of ineffectual and self-indulgent sultans, one of whom was deposed and two of whom were murdered.  The last of these was Ibrahim I. He was deposed and murdered....

August 26, 2014

In 2003, then Cardinal Ratzinger told to the editors of 30 Days that neither he nor the man to whom he reported believed that the American invasion of Iraq passed the just-war test. He emphasized the condition of proportionality, that is, the hoped-for good must outweigh the anticipated evils:

The Pope has very clearly expressed his thoughts, not only as the thoughts of an individual, but as the thoughts of a man of conscience occupying the highest functions in...

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...