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February 10, 2016
Lucca, Italy

I’m in Lucca, the walled city.

I arrived yesterday afternoon from Florence. From the train station it was a fifteen-minute walk to my hotel, the San Luca Palace, located within the walled historical center near the westernmost gates, Porta Sant’Anna and Porta San Donato. The hotel is one of the nicest I’ve seen in Italy: an elegant breakfast room, fine parquet flooring along the hallways, and everything new and clean. My room is oversized, with a shower so large I can turn without...

February 9, 2016

According to U.S. News & World Report, “The advertisements for Super Bowl 50 ranged from heartwarming to absurd. NARAL Pro-Choice America live-tweeted about the Super Bowl ads they liked and disliked.”

When you scroll through the tweets, you quickly see that it doesn’t take much for the people at NARAL to dislike an ad. This...

February 8, 2016

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, Pope Pius XII summarized the core reasons Christians ought to honor Mary with the title of Queen of Heaven and Earth in Ad Caeli Reginam, 34:

According to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy, the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her divine motherhood. In holy writ,...

February 5, 2016
The inside dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

The top floor of Giotto’s campanile—just a few feet below the very peak—is 414 ever-narrowing steps above the pavement. That puts you almost at eye level with tourists who stand at the base of the lantern that sits atop Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome, the crowning symbol of Florence and, perhaps, of the entire Renaissance.

A light mist fell today as I looked the length of the duomo and at that magnificent, octagonal, and still-not-quite-finished dome. I imagined the double faith the...

February 2, 2016

Controversy concerning sports mascots has been raging in our culture for the past several decades. Many groups have found certain mascots offensive due to pejorative racial or ethnic epithets, such as the National Football League’s Washington Redskins. The clamor to change these mascots to something more palatable to modern sensibilities has been growing.

This campaign has taken aim not only at professional sports franchises but also colleges and universities. Recently, the University...