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June 22, 2015

“I speak—more or less fluently—eight languages and have a reading knowledge of eleven others, necessary for my research.” He could have spoken to almost anyone in the world in that person’s native tongue. He was very much a catholic Catholic.

Born in 1909 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s childhood languages, as I recall him explaining, were German, Hungarian, and Latin. Maybe there were one or two others languages too. I forget, but he seemed never to...

June 18, 2015

Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical—Laudato Si’—is now out.

Here are 13 things to know and share.

1) What are the basic facts about this encyclical?

An encyclical is a teaching document issued by the pope. Encyclicals are among the more solemn and thus more authoritative papal documents.

This one is called Laudato Si’ (“Be praised” or “Praise be to you”)—a line from...

June 16, 2015

Before he turned 10, his grandmother began to dress him in a purple chiffon dress and fawn over how cute he looked. Over time, as he started wearing it more frequently, the dress became a dark secret. When his father’s much younger adopted brother discovered the secret of the dress, he first teased the boy and then began to sexually molest him.

The boy grew up burdened by these traumas until he decided, at the age of 42, that he really—deep down in his core being—was a woman. So he...

June 15, 2015

I spent the last few days at a men’s retreat in Nebraska. To a Californian, Nebraska is a peculiar state. It’s unrelentingly green and nearly flat. Low hills rise just enough to block distant vistas. You can’t see more than a couple of miles, at least in the part of the state where I was. Your view is truncated, which may be appropriate when trying to focus on the interior life.

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June 8, 2015

People leave the Catholic Church for all sorts of reasons, none of them sufficient but some of them better than others.

I can understand if someone concludes that certain Catholic teachings are wrong and that, in conscience, he must cease to be a Catholic. There are former Catholics who left because they decided that the Real Presence isn’t real or that popes don’t have a special role or that women ought to be ordained. I can understand their decision while thinking them wrong in...