Saturday, December 30, 2006


This has a few good lines, especially the "Great Big Professor Dawkins in the sky" one.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Open field

A piece on Christianity in Holland from the Weekly Standard.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Failing a test set by others

This piece in the Spectator makes a good point: that suddenly Western secular liberals are no longer sure that they are the yardstick for the rest of the world. And this has raised questions on who they are.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The NYTimes story on hispanic catholics in LA is interesting. The conclusion, though, is questionable: whether this is a false dawn or a true rebirth will be not be determined by how much the Church will focus on social justice per se. It will be determined by how much it will focus on Christ, and by the kind of education this people will receive. Unfortunately, the priests interviewed in the article seem to have other concerns.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


On the tragic situation of Palestinian Christians.

Fatherless III

What's about people that they are obsessed about who generated them?
I'm certain he has no idea how big a role he has played in my life despite his absence -- or because of his absence. If I can't be too attached to him as my father, I'll still always be attached to the feeling I now have of having a father.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Lurches and swerves

Peggy Noonan makes a good point: The Barak Obama phenomenon may be another symptom of the deep confusion of our age. (He does not represent any particular social trend; he does not espouse any particularly original ideas; he does not advance any particular new political agenda. But we are desperate for somebody new and nice and different, and he is able to give the impression that he may be "it.")

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mill's ideas ARE the problem

Speaking of college curricula, the first part of this essay by Peter Berkowitz is worth reading because it describes extremely well the current situation. The second part is unconvincing, because the ideas of John Stuart Mill are precisely what originated today's content-less education: teachers should not take sides but only present multiple points of view, promoting "skeptical eclepticism" etc. But SKEPTICAL ECLEPTICISM is precisely the shared philosophy of modern college education, and the reason for its collapse! How can an intelligent man like Berkowitz miss such an obvious connection?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No faith

What will Harvard teach about "what it means to be a human being?"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rule of thumb

It is a fact that authoritarian right-wing dictators will kill people in the thousands, whereas left-wing regimes will kill them in the millions and utterly destroy their countries. The reason is not some difference in morality between the two: it is that left-wingers are by definition ideological, while right-wingers are usually just reactionary (with exceptions: see Hitler or Khomeini, who were non-Marxist revolutionaries.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Unhealth centers

A well-known (at least to people working in academia) example of how adults betray young people: by not educating them in order to affirm an ideology.

An experiment

This is pretty obvious.

Fatherless and motherless

The climax of the bourgeois mentality, without any sense of what a person is: purchasing children.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A presence

Reading about the Pope's trip to Turkey, one gets the impression of a man whose only strategy is to make himself available so that Christ can manifest himself.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rousseau returns

Un-schooling is just the latest incarnation of an old (bad) idea: that having a teacher is against freedom. Of course, the opposite is true: that a true authority is what can make one free.


A piece on Hezbollah activities in Venezuela. If you follow the links you will find some interesting materials on the "theologia islamo-christiana de la liberacion."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

People not rules

Interesting paradox: democracy in Turkey is being endangered by the EU's insistence on civilian control over the military. This confirms a basic truth: that the foundation of democracy is the education of a people, not formal mechanisms. E.g. it is not the brilliant checks and balances of the US constitution; it is the kind of people who wrote it. Not understanding this is the tragedy of contemporary liberalism.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Michael Young on the situation in Lebanon.

A clear trend

More progress towards the demise of marriage in France and the USA
(see also the latest masterpiece by the NYTimes Magazine). Positive side: this will bring some clarity after a couple of centuries in which it was thought that it is possible to preserve Christian values without Christ, and the Christian ideal of marriage will shine in the darkness (as long as Christians witness to it). Negative side: great suffering, because nothing can damage a human being like messing with his/her affectivity.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On the brink

Pray for Lebanon.

On to Turkey

Time has a front-page story on the Pope's important trip to Turkey.

No past

The good thing about mathematics is that it is easy to see when it is not being taught. The truth is that the situation may be just as bad with much more important subjects and nobody will ever complain (english, anyone? literature? history? naaaah, nobody needs history to compete in a globalized world).

Saturday, November 18, 2006


No human being could live through so much un-reality without being (or getting) crazy. In fact, it does say something about our culture: the exaltation of the individual will to the point that a fantasy replaces reality (for those who are rich and powerful). Except that, in the process, the individual person itself (who is by nature relationship with reality) loses itself. What will a man give in exchange for his own self?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A debate

Time has a Collins vs. Dawkins interview.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bad news

There is a pattern of interconnected regional wars which may soon coalesce in a general war.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The "balance" of yesterday's elections was already calculated two months ago by conservative pundit Ramesh Ponnuru. In the end, this may well turn out to be a step towards a McCain presidency, and just a temporary anesthesia for the democratic party as it drowns in a cultural vacuum. If there is a long-term trend in US politics, it is probably that the common people in the heartland feel that their way of life is threatened by the nihilism of the liberal elites. Another is that people fear a developing world war. Obviously both of these play in the hands of the Republicans, since the Democrats are not even prepared to accept that there is a war and that their intellectual guides are essentially nihilistic. The irony is that they have to end up recruiting people like Jim Webb.

I want to be the Queen of England

Speaking of nihilism, here is a potentially hilarious version. Where are Jonathan Swift or Evelyn Waugh when we need them?

Friday, November 03, 2006

No hope for theocracy

This article points out the simple truth about US evangelicals and politics: since they are no cultural heavyweights, they always get assimilated into the Washington establishment. Then, a generation later another "wave" comes out of the woods...

Real love

An interesting prison ministry.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No wonder

In case you didn't know, the two academic disciplines most closely associated with atheism are biology and psicology.

Culture wars

Amy Sullivan is onto something in pointing out that many non-Republican people in mainstream America are "culturally" unconfortable with the Democratic party. The comments are also quite representative of what she is talking about: lots of aggressive secular liberals who think one can rely on "science" to live free from the bonds of religious superstition. What kind of schools produced people that are at the same time so ignorant and so presumptuous?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Reason and Faith at Harvard

A Harvard curriculum committee recommended that every student be required, as part of his or her general education, to take one course in an area that the committee styled "Reason and Faith." The Harvard Crimson, the university's paper, doesn't like the idea.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dead on

The Onion brilliantly summarizes the situation in Iraq and North Korea.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Searching for unity

Alasdair MacIntyre wants to "de-fragment" American Catholic universities. The least convincing part of his argument is when he says that what is lacking is the will to change. What is really lacking is the awareness that faith is the "integrative and unifying" factor that can give unity to our understanding of reality (see "Why the Church," Ch. 10). But this must first of all happens as an experience.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The question is: who is inspiring whom? Because certainly somebody feels inspired...

Baby boomlet

At least France is reproducing.


Somebody discovered that in order to learn you have to look at the subject matter and not at yourself.

Monday, October 16, 2006


More sufferings for Iraqi Christians. On the sadly familiar theme of violence in the name of Islam, a story from Bangladesh. In the end, it is all about power.

Equality and justice

On dalits embracing Christianity in India.


On Christian converts from Islam in Italy.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Apriori denial

Speaking of R. Dawkins, The New Republic has a good piece against reductionism.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Theoretical denial of the question

"The Religious Sense," Chapter 6, p. 59, in the words of Richard Dawkins:

But it seems to me the big "why" questions are, why are we here? And what is our purpose in life?

It's not a question that deserves an answer.

Well, I think most people would say those questions are central to the way we think about our lives. Those are the big existential questions, but they are also questions that go beyond science.

If you mean, what is the purpose of the existence of the universe, then I'm saying that is quite simply begging the question. If you happen to be religious, you think that's a meaningful question. But the mere fact that you can phrase it as an English sentence doesn't mean it deserves an answer. Those of us who don't believe in a god will say that is as illegitimate as the question, why are unicorns hollow? It just shouldn't be put. It's not a proper question to put. It doesn't deserve an answer.

Friday, October 13, 2006


This book review makes a good point: if Europe is in danger, it is primarily because of a threat from inside.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Professional Catholic

Rod Dreher has left the Catholic Church. His testimony is fairly tragic. It shows how Christianity can be reduced to an ideology on the conservative as much as on the liberal side, with devastating effects.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lingering infection

The tragic fate of Russia.

Civilizational crisis

At least, when human societies face a breakdown, our youngsters do not go around raping and killing innocent rhinoceroses.

Traditional religion

Someone taking a stand against power.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Great couple

This ten-year old interview with the Genovese's is still worth reading.

Secular megachurches

How to get rich by exploiting people's loneliness in order to create a cyber-mob.

From scratch

This piece by Joseph Bottum is too long but does capture some important aspects of recent US church history.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Two worlds

Spiegel has a report from Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Keep the flame burning

A story in the NYTimes on the predicament of young evangelicals facing the onslaught of a nihilistic culture. It is hard when so much is predicated on individual will-power and enthusiasm. But, where is the Church?

Good luck

An update on the desperate attempts to rebuild college curricula in a context where there is no "university" because there is no unifying hypothesis.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No salvation from the UN

Few things magnify moral failures more than bureaucracies. More generally,certain idealistic people should learn from St. Augustine that usually states are just "larger scale robberies".

Dry humor

Some Brahms anecdotes.

Still there

The Zoroastrians are hanging in there. But how does The Guardian dare say that there were "forced mass conversions" after the Islamic invasions of Persia? Didn't they read their own editorials about the Pope's speech?


Not much going on with the masons.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Original sin to the rescue

It turns out the Iranians hired the Russians to build a nuclear reactor based on the Chernobyl design "on one of the most active earthquake zones on earth." Ah, and they also got scammed in the process.

That finally explains why Putin always seemed so unconcerned about the Iranian nuclear program.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A recipe for slavery

This reflects a problem across the board, not just with history. Quite simply, proposing the past is just not part of the way most US educational institutions understand themselves. Quite often the curriculum in the humanities is dominated by "pseudo-science" (psicology, anthropology, sociology, social studies, multiculturalism, diversity theory, feminism, all kinds of moralistic fluffiness etc.) Not much education results.

Cultural divide

USA Today reports on the fertility gap between Democrats and Republicans. There is also a link to an article on the "marriage gap."

Dire straits

The saga of string theory is a good example of the predicament of reason in our culture: lots of reasoning, very little observation. Even science cannot survive forever when everybody cares more about their own mental processes than the truth.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Reduced reason

Lee Harris points out (correctly) that the Pope's central concern has been to come to the rescue of reason.

Virtual life, real violence

All that is required to make people crazy is detachment from reality. But what can attract them back to it?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Peculiar survival

The Economist is clearly disappointed that Christianity has not yet completely disappeared in England. It is certainly getting close, for reasons explained by Christian Order (take it with a pinch of salt: in spite of the collapse of the Church in England, it is likely that not ALL British bishops are terminally incompetent and/or corrupt).

New rich

Going for the bourgeois life in China.

Craven is the word

Charles Krauthammer tells it as it is, especially regarding the shameful behavior of the Western media (NYTimes, BBC etc.) Along the same lines see Gerard Baker.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More debate not less

R.M. Gerecht puts together a reasonable overview of the whole Pope/Islam discussion.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

More on the Pope

An editorial from the New York Sun. On the same topic, a column for National Review.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We refuse to link it

One among the many pieces on the Pope/Islam controversy.
This one at least quotes some good people (Fr. Samir and Mario Mauro). Unfortunately they also quote today's grotesque editorial from the New York Times...

Why not?

An update on embryo eugenics.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

An awakening

As you will recall Melanie Phillips used to be the stereotypical liberal British commentator (and she is also Jewish).

Time to reflect

It is becoming ever more clear that foreign policy today asks for a deep reflection about who we are and what we want.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Full breadth of reason

Today the Pope gave a memorable speech that summarizes the challenge of the Church to our time.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time.

NB: "Persian" is an euphemism for "Muslim." The directness of his critique of Islam is also unprecedented.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Take it easy

We hope certain US and Israeli politicians read this.

A moment of truth

Among the many 9/11 editorials, the one by James Carrol does capture a bit of how 9/11 briefly forced people to look at life more truthfully.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


This article raises a true question but very much fails to provide an answer.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A thing called philosophy

A report on the Pope's discussion with his former students on evolution.


The Pope's visit to Germany seems very significant.


The great Islamic breakdown in the modern world seem to involve at least two factors: 1) traditional Islam seems to have been inextricably tied to a specific culture, which is now at odds with the modern world, and 2) inability to educate.

Final calls

It is a fact that death gives life a beautiful seriousness.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No direction

It is hard to run a university in "the absence of any pronouncement that anything is more important than anything else."

"As dangerous as Osama bin Laden"

Iran and North Korea have one thing in common, they both have had extensive dealings with Dr. A.Q. Khan. Meet the "Father of the Islamic Bomb", a national hero in Pakistan, a nightmare for the rest of the world.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Presidential Blog

The Iranian president last week launched a blog ( Not surprisingly, it’s generated the kind of buzz that most bloggers can only dream about.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Terrorism? What's That?

While terrorism may be the defining security threat of our time, the U.N. has failed - literally - to define it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The fierce battle for Lebanon's soul

Before the war, half the Lebanese supported Hizbullah. Now more than 85 percent do.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The worst genocide ever

We must remember what the Khmer Rouge did 30 years ago.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Full circle

And finally, here comes the Chinese Capitalist-Communist Party. One just hopes that Karl Marx, somewhere, is watching.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hope springs eternal

This columnist is convinced that "American elites are fed up with the dismal status quo in education" and they are about to turn against the teachers' unions.

"what else is there to see?"

This review of the last novel by John Updike captures well the symbiotic relationship between Islamist ideology and our own nihilism.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


One can respectfully argue with Bishop Tessier that the proper task of the Church is to witness to Christ (i.e. make him visible), not to the "West." Properly understood, this witness is something much deeper and more important than "converting" people.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Keep the people in a mood of suffering"

If you are interested to know more about the roots of the war in Lebanon, the New Yorker has re-posted a very informative report on Hezbollah from a few years ago. You can also learn about their activities in South America.

Not a problem

People will go to great lengths to justify their prejudices. For istance, this lady has decided that social isolation is simply nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happiness classes

The culmination of a long trend of using psycology as a substitute for religion. Like covering an infected wound with a bandaid.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Lost in particulars

An interesting book review by Peter Steinfels. The answer to his questions is certainly not that Universities need more theology courses. What is it then?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bad news

An article in Die Welt claims that the IAEA has essentially given up on nuclear inspections in Iran. This may be a serious step torwards a war.

Moral revolution?

Here come the Kazcynski twins.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Race against time

This story from Iraq in the New Republic is informative.

There is freedom too

Even if he does not have much else to say, it is nice to see an evolutionary psycologist acknowledge the existence of free will.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Liberation through Christ

One cannot but feel simpathy for the witness of Apostle Alton R. Williams. This is what makes America great. But, what does it mean to "decree the spirit of conviction on this intersection?"

A beam in your own eye

The Tablet has a snippy piece on Ave Maria University. Some of their criticism makes perfect sense, but perhaps The Tablet should be more concerned about what their own "liberal" ideology has (NOT) done for the Church in England (i.e. it has failed to educate in the faith two whole generations.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Wise man

An "important" speech by Sen. Barak Obama. While he is probably trying to position himself for a coming presidential election, he certainly knows how to do it.

But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's the Vatican's fault

Coming from the Boston Globe, this is an example of almost unsurpassed hypocrisy.


Some insigths from Peggy Noonan.

Friday, June 23, 2006


People are getting more lonely. It is interesting that things started changing in the fateful mid-sixties.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Be a diva

An example for "Why the Church" Chapter 3.3c:
the tasks of housekeeping and child rearing are not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings.

Crisis of faith

David Warren is often quite perceptive.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Melanie Phillips is another example of a member of the elites who is getting worried about the health of our society, yet is unable to put her finger on the real issue, i.e. nihilism.

Real fun

A lady who got herself in trouble.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


In case you want to know nore about the life of Zarqawi, this piece in The Atlantic is excellent. What is striking is that it is possible for a human life to take place in a context where the "I" never emerges.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Running for the cliff

A collision? This has civil war potential. Barring a rebirth of collective common sense, the only other possible outcome is the de facto abolition of marriage as a civil institution, which of course makes no sense but at least would not tear our society apart as deeply as state enforced acceptance/endorsement of homosexuality.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Slave religion

The encounter between slaves and Christianity in the old South is very interesting.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A penthouse and a tutor.

Reality always takes revenge on ideology. The end-result of "democratizing" education by massively lowering its standards is that now education is becoming a luxury.

All or nothing

A new book on Islam and imperialism.

The specific (and baleful) contribution of Islam is that, by attributing sovereignty solely to God, and by pretending in a philosophically primitive way that God’s will is knowable independently of human interpretation, and therefore of human interest and desire—in short by allowing nothing to human as against divine nature—it tries to abolish politics.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The taproot

If you missed it, you should read the Pope's speech at Auschwitz.


One should be aware of tragedies like the situation in Congo. It shows the basic human helpless in front of evil. It also shows that the elites in the West have no clue about what builds a human civilization. It certainly requires something more fundamental that writing UN resolutions and holding elections.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hatred at school

A first-grade student in Saudi Arabia is taught that "Every religion other than Islam is false" and the teacher is instructed to "Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity etc.". In fifth grade, the Saudi students learn that "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God or his prophet". Just two examples from the official history and religion textbooks in the Saudi schools.
A new report from the nonprofit group Freedom House offer a sad look at how Saudi Arabia is poisoning the minds of a new generation of kids. (The complete report is here).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A gnostic Christian?

There is some truth to the observation that the Da Vinci Code's grotesque success reflects a gnostic wave which has been growing for a long time. Anyway, this is an occasion to understand better what it means that Christianity is an event.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Deficit of faith

A review of demographic trends.


A brilliant essay by Roger Scruton on John Stuart Mill, the father of English-speaking liberalism (as in "everything is OK between consenting adults").

He never understood that the intellect, which flies so easily to its conclusions, relies on something else for its premises. Those conservatives who upheld what Mill called "the despotism of custom" against the "experiments in living" advocated in "On Liberty" were not stupid simply because they recognized the limits of the human intellect. They were, on the contrary, aware that freedom and custom are mutually dependent, and that to free oneself from moral norms is to surrender to the state. For only the state can manage the ensuing disaster.

Nihilism galore

Ultra-nihilist French writer Michel Houellebecq is an involuntary witness to the truth of Dostoevski's remark: "if you take away from man the possibility of bowing in front of the Infinite, he dies." In Houellebecq's case, he rots.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

World change

The real globalization is moving on: widespread economic growth driven by trade. How long will it last?


The world seen from Teheran. Western culture is declining, but everybody still seems busy reacting against it (unless you regard waiting for the Mahdi as a constructive way forward).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Affective nihilist

An excellent Spengler column on Freud and the "sexual revolution."

The therapeutic community has perfectly valid explanations for anorexia and self-harm at the individual level. But it reminds me of a doctor who explains with great precision how a metal object has passed through your body wreaking damage on various organs without also mentioning that the city in which you live is subject to aerial bombardment. Without addressing the cultural catastrophe, the therapeutic profession will be hard put to save many of the individuals.
Human beings are not beasts content with daily fodder and rutting in season. To be sentient is to be sentient of one's mortality. The status of wife and mother in a family within a community offers women an honored position and a link to the eternal. Sexual objectification leaves women with a foretaste of death, and it should be no surprise that Freud's program drives women into deadly behavior.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


This report from the Sinai gives a good idea of the factors at play in the Middle East.

Making lemonade

As the Da Vinci Code movie is about to be released Opus Dei is having a field day.

Doves and Hawks

George Weigel and Marcello Pera were the keynote speakers in a gathering of American and European intellectuals hosted in Vienna, Austria, by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn. They were invited to discuss the Christian identity and roots of Europe and the challenge of Islam. John Allen is reporting on the event and on "the differences between the doves and the hawks" in the Catholic approach to Islam. It seems that the debate proposed in February by Crossroads in New York is alive and kicking...

Bad situation

Here you can see the potential for the some kind of civil war coming to the US.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Culture, not religion

A very nice essay by Fr. Khalil Samir on how the Pope is dealing with Islam (very intelligently).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where are you Reinhold?

Peter Beinart has written a book comparing how American liberal faced the cold war to how they (and their opponents) are facing the war on terror. His historical analysis is very interesting, but his hope to provide a model for the present sounds like wishful thinking. The sixties happened. What does today's "liberal" culture have in common with the likes of Reinhold Niebuhr?

Clash of civilizations, clash of ideas

Liberal democracy is a great answer to the present global situation. The problem is there are not enough people, in the Muslim countries, willing to press for liberalism and democracy. An interesting letter from Robert Kagan to Amartya Sen, about Sen's last book.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


This report on the grotesque economic boom in Dubai shows that the globalizing, capitalistic answer to the problem of modernization in the Arab world is more or less as inhuman as the fundamentalist solution. In a way, the two are complementary and represent two sides of the same cultural breakdown.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Filling a vacuum

This article on Sen. John Allen of Virginia is more interesting from an anthropological than from a political point of view. Many of us have met that unique American phenomenon: the fake hillbilly. That means someone who grew up in the suburbs around Los Angeles and, in order to find some kind of meaningful identity, in his teenage years embraced the romantic mith of rural America, and especially of the Old South, to the point of sincerely thinking of himself as a Good Old Boy from Virginia. That includes dreaming about the glories of the Confederacy, chewing tobacco, wearing cowboy boots, developing a Southern drawl, embracing a certain brand of red-state republicanism etc. It is obviously a genuine expression of the Religious Sense.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Redesigning the Intelligent Design

What's going on with the Intelligent Design movement? After a federal judge in December stopped Intelligent Design from being taught in a Pennsylvania school district, the Seattle think tank that promotes the challenge to Darwinism is struggling.

The Judas Code?

A lot of people out there have a dream: To become the next Dan Brown. Maybe all the buzz around the Gospel of Judas can help them...

Saturday, April 22, 2006


An obituary for Muriel Sparks.


This summary of the European situation is unfortunately accurate.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ideological folly

According to these analyses in the Daily Telegraph and the New Republic, the odds of Iran starting a world war are extremely serious.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


This article on the contemporary dance scene in New York is somewhat interesting because it points to a simple fact: contrary to all romantic notions, art is not a spontaneous, self-supporting enterprise that springs eternal from the genius of the artist. Instead, art reflects the depth of a civilization and the education of a people. If people are not educated, art will wither away, regardless of all the hype in the New York Times.

Getting worse

More attacks on Christians in Egypt.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


If this ends up in the New Republic it may be a sign of something.

Elections in Italy

The Times gives a fairly correct assessment of the Italian political situation.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Promising young man

Ross Douthat is one of the more intelligent young observers of the US political scene.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Big yawn

Philip Jenkins discusses why the Gospel of Judas does not tell us anything new about early Cristianity. It does say something about the agenda of its promoters...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Old heresies...

A new gnostic apocriphal gospel that was condemned by St. Ireneus has been found. The NYTimes is all excited for the usual silly reasons...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Good sign

This lead article in American Educator is excellent. It talks about teaching to read, but what it is really about is the Deweyan ideology that has devastated American education since the 1920's. It forcefully makes the astonishing point that education is about transmitting knowledge. And that you cannot learn any method ("skills") separate for facing some object ("content"). The whole issue of the magazine is about teachers who discovered that kids like to be introduced to reality ("gain knowledge") as opposed to be taught tricks like circus dogs ("developing strategies"). If this points to a larger shift in the educational establishment, it would be one of the best things that happened to this country in a long time.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hard to tell

The big question about politics in the Middle East is: has 9/11 so changed the American public that isolationism is no longer an option?

For love

Fr.Samir has a forceful editorial on freedom of conscience in Islamic countries.

Security vs. freedom

T. Dalrymple confirms our previous impression of the events in France.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A country in denial

This piece on the situation in France rings true. European decadence is also visible in its educational system.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I have full awareness of what I have chosen

This guy does not sound particularly crazy.

No fathers

This piece about marriage among African-Americans makes you think that the notions of freedom and civil rights can become very hollow if they are separated from the deeper question of the education of a people.

Friday, March 24, 2006


The Boston Globe has some nice pictures of Cardinal O'Malley

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Good statistics

The Weekly Standard correctly notices the cultural significance of monasticism.


The New Republic has a good piece on the terrible situation of Christians in Iraq. One wonders though whether the greatest danger is not external, but the temptation for the Church to assume a purely defensive posture that neutralizes what is really its only asset: that it carries something radically different to a world dominated by violence.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How forceful

The US intervenes in favor of Abdul Rahman asking that his trial be handled in a "transparent way" (followed by a "transparent execution"?)

Always bigger

John D. Barrow won the Templeton Prize.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Progress I

It appears that Gary Wills has finally written something we can agree with:

"Wills rejects the familiar distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. If the first Christians had not been radically tranformed by the resurrection - if Jesus had simply been a passing mystical figure - then you and I would not be thinking about or reading about Jesus at all....`The only Jesus we have is the Jesus of faith. If you reject the faith, there is no reason to trust anything the Gospels say.'"

Progress II

An update on Bush's initiative to support faith-based social works.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Enforced mediocrity

ABC's John Stossel has got himself into trouble with the Teachers's union by stating some completely obvious truths.


A NYTimes article on the issues involved in pre-natal detection of birth defects

Friday, March 10, 2006


A new book on John Dewey, the man who probably shaped more than anybody else education in the US. The reviewer seems to miss the fact that what Dewey eliminated is not "moral" education. Our schools are full of mindless moralism. What is missing is the possibility for young people to develop critical thinking by being inserted in (and verifying for themselves) a living tradition. The tragedy of liberal education is that when you stop proposing a way to judge, you stop educating.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Misunderstanding freedom

"The point is that parenthood is against the grain of all the aspirations of our culture...pregnancy heralds at least one relationship of dependence...but you've spent much of the previous 10 years attempting to eradicate any hint of dependence, either of your own or of others on you."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wrestling with demons

A true specimen of American Protestant Christianity. The cave story will sound familiar to all Walker Percy's readers.

Thought for the day

As a general rule people are happier when they are able to give their life for a greater meaning. They are miserable when the measure of their lives is determined by their own ideology (which is usually not really their own).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Discovering humanity

The historical events described in Joyeux Noël could only have happened in a civilization marked by Christianity. One wonders it anything like that could happen in today's Europe.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


The African-American children in Minneapolis are migrating to the charter schools.

The benefits of patriarchy

You are changing the history of the world by having children.

A historical turning point?

A column on the explosive growth of Christianity in Asia.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The utopian dream of the Catholic town

Would you live in Ave Maria, the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles? Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino's Pizza chain, is creating the town 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Crisis of faith

Spengler remarks:

It is a striking difference between Islam on one hand, and Judaism and Christianity on the other, that Islam offers the promise of success as the reward for submission to God, while the older religions offer no greater consolation than God's own presence. It is God's presence itself before Job that provides the answer to Job's question... By the same token, Muslim unhappiness is not "about" the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or even the intrusion of Western secular values. It is about the Muslim perception that Islam's promise of success against its enemies has eluded them. It is a crisis of faith.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The fullness of Islam

New attacks against Egyptian Copts. The Vatican is losing its patience. On the relationship between Christianity and Islam, a 2005 column by Fr. Samir Khalil Samir.

It is as if priests and bishops did not understand that Christianity is the fullness of every religion's path. But it is only respect for a person and love for his struggle to live his faith in the modern world that urges me to announce the Gospel to him.

Totalitarian legalism

Intelligent atheist Theodore Dalrymple observes:

the correspondent’s premise that the legality of an act was the sole criterion by which one could or should judge it chilled me. It is a sinister premise. It makes the legislature the complete arbiter of manners and morals, and thus accords to the state quasi-totalitarian powers without the state’s ever having claimed them. The state alone decides what we have or lack permission to do: we have to make no moral decisions for ourselves, for what we have legal permission to do is also, by definition, morally acceptable.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Swedish bin Ladens

It is always impressive to what crazy extremes bad ideas can develop by the sheer force of logic separated from elementary experience.

Baby market

The striking thing about this interview is how the "expert" consciously avoids any attempt at assessing "good and bad," which would detract from her "scientific" expertise. Thus dies rationality, in the name of "science."

A test for new justices

The stage is ready at the Supreme Court for "its most significant ruling on abortion rights in almost 15 years."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Minus habens

Leon Wieseltier skewers scientism, "one of the dominant superstitions of our day." As a symbol, he chooses our friend, Daniel Dennett.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Not so simple

Famous economist Amartya Sen defends secular universalism against the encroaching waves of religious/ethnic tribalism. It may worth remembering, however, that historically the ideal of a universal human community goes back to the religious experience of one particular middle eastern tribe. And when that universal ideal became detached from that religious experience, it also degenerated in violence.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The final days

The NYTimes reviews the new movie on Sophie Scholl

The worst of the worst

Another great scourge of our time are the fanatic 1968-produced ideologues that run the bureaucracy of the European Union.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The islanders' revolt

The Aland archipelago is an autonomous region of Finland.
Aland's 26,000 people are essentially sovereign co-rulers of their home nation of Finland. As such, they can veto any international treaty that Finland wants to enter, including EU treaties. Now the Alanders could stop attempts to revive the moribund EU constitution. The reason? They want to chew their Swedish tobacco...
Don't miss this intrigue on the Baltic Sea

Monday, February 13, 2006

The unknown, healthy U.S. economy

You think the U.S. economy is in trouble, right? Well, think again. Businesses are investing about $1 trillion a year more than the official numbers show. Savings rate is actually positive. The deficit with the rest of the world is much smaller than advertised, and GDP is probably growing faster than what they are telling you.

Pampered to death

Fareed Zakaria explains that the economic decline of Europe is due primarily to a culture that entrusts everything to the state and does not prize personal initiative.


This column makes the case that the most important resource in Africa's development are its people.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A real dialogue

Fr. Cervellera's editorial on the murder in Trebizon. What prevents dialogue is nihilism, because when we dot care about our happiness, all we care for is power.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


A convincing analysis of the Danish cartoons story.On the situation in the middle east you can also read the latest column by Fouad Ajami.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The idealist

It is easy to underestimate the power of being a speech writer.

The only one

Nat Hentoff is an interesting character.

What am I doing here?

This testimony about the priest killed in Turkey is quite moving.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Semen Christianorum

Asia News is covering the murder of an Italian priest in Turkey.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

PhD's in Jacobinism

As usual, Departments of Education is where you find the most intolerant ideologues in contemporary culture.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The shadow campaign

There is a major international election campaign underway. There are guys running to become one of the most important figures in the world. And you didn't know a thing about it. Till now.

Nothing to fear

An op-ed by Monsignor Albacete in the NYTimes on the latest encyclical.

In this connection, do not miss the presentation of Benedict XVI's and Marcello Pera's new book, this coming monday at Columbia University in New York.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

An evolutionary deadend

You should be aware that Daniel Dennet is a product of natural selection. In particular his ideas can be explained as a natural phenomenon in terms of Darwinian evolution, although their evolutionary purpose has not yet been fully elucidated. At any rate, his thoughts are certainly a genetic byproduct of socio-biological factors that made his brain especially amenable to feelings of smug intellectual superiority. Hence, you should feel free not to take him too seriously.

Reason has many methods

Godspy has a good interview with Michael Behe about Intelligent Design. It shows very well what the core issues under discussion are. Affirming that Mt. Rushmore was designed is a perfectly reasonable statement but not a scientific statement because it derives from a different method. The real danger here is that rationality is identified with science. This is explained very well in a new essay by Card. Schonborn.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Interesting times

Lots of conflicting angles on the Palestinian situation: the Washington Post emphasizes the decline of the old (often Christian-backed) Arab nationalist movement; the WSJ emphasizes that this was mainly a rebellion against a corrupt regime; the New Republic warns that Hamas is going to align the PA's foreign policy with Iran.


The NYTimes is still trying to figure out the Pope, with limited success.

The truth

This NYTimes Magazine story on Evangelical missionaries in Africa is worth reading.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Social intelligence

What could be responsible for this?

Evangelical attack

This article from Morocco reveals a slightly different perception of the notion of religious freedom.

A new frame

An Israeli view of the Hamas electoral victory.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To experience love

A summary of the new encyclical.

Afraid of what?

This British commentator makes a good point: that the virulent anti-Christian attitude of some people on the political left is really a symptom of deep insecurity about their own values.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Unavoidable alienation?

Also from S. Magister, more details on the Pope's view of Islam.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Symbolic figure

This biography of Maritain sounds interesting. He was a remarkable figure that embodied both the strengths and weaknesses of the Christian experience in Europe in the 20th century. He loved the US as a model of harmony between freedom and Christianity. It would be important to try and understand why, ultimately, he was defeated in his own time.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pulling weeds

Fr. Neuhaus thinks that the papacy of Benedict XVI is being undermined by the American Jesuits. Sandro Magister thinks it is being undermined by the neo-cathecumenals. At any rate, the best starting point is gratitude for who this Pope is and what he says. A pontificate is also undermined when we try and use it to push our well-meaning political plans for the Church.

Searching for rigor

The debate on this new education bill is interesting.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Corrupt midgets

Amir Taheri is one of the most lucid commentators on Iran.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nomura's jellyfish

There is always some weird interesting creature you did not know about.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Will that be enough?

Joseph Bottum argues that the mediocrity of the hierarchy has not prevented the emergence of a class of influential Catholic public figures who are holding the line against the nihilism of the liberal elites. There may be some truth to that, except it is not clear that their cultural arsenal is really that much stronger than (or different from) mainstream (protestant) american conservatism. Unfortunately, opposition to abortion is not, per se, enough to build a new culture.

Uniform ignorance

A defeat for school vouchers in Florida.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hope from Radiohead

This is absolutely fascinating. And it is not just a weird Japanese phenomenon; it expresses a situation shared by most modern societies: that parents give their children literally everything except hope that their lives may have any meaning whatsoever. Japan is extreme only inasmuch the situation is not mitigated by any residual Christian cultural influences.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Facing reality

Leon Wieseltier's assessment of Sharon's legacy rings true: the supreme exponent of Zionist ideology may have been the one who buried it. As for the Palestinian side, this report gives a good idea of what is going on.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A new one

Apparently, the next major war may be the result of a weird messianic ideology known as mahdaviat.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


More on the Korean therapeutic cloning scandal. Remember to attend the upcoming Crossroads conference.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Internet used as tool to squash dissent in China

We in the U.S. are familiar with controls that allow parents to block their children from viewing pornographic web sites on the Internet. If you live in China you can find all the porn you want, but you won't see terms like "demonstration", "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence" on your screen, thanks to the government, with the help of U.S. software companies. It seems that some big names like Microsoft, Yahoo, and yes, even Google, are helping Chinese authorities crack down on dissenters and even put some in jail, according to Asianews. Yahoo has already been the target of protests by human rights groups for its policy of collaborating with Big Brother.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


An interview with Leon Kass.

Secure friendship

The Pope gave a moving homily on baptism.
"In Baptism, the child is inserted in the company of friends who will never abandon him, in life and in death. This company is the family of God which bears the promise of eternity within. A company which will accompany him always, even in days of suffering, in the dark valley of life, giving him consolation, comfort and light. This family gives him eternal life. It indicates the right direction, offers the consolation, comfort and love of God even in the dark valley and on the threshold of death, it gives friendship, life. This company, absolutely trustworthy, never abandons. No one knows what will happen on our planet, in our Europe, in the coming 50,60,70 years, but of one thing we are certain: whoever belongs to the family of God is never alone, he always has the secure friendship of he who is life. This family of God, this company of friends, is eternal because it is communion with He who has won over death, who has the keys of life in hand. Being in the company of the family of God means being in communion with Christ, who is life and who gives eternal love beyond death."

World war

This interview with Fr. Fessio has an interesting quote from the Pope where he explains why he thinks that Islam is constitutionally incapable of adapting to modernity. Which generates a very dramatic situation in which, once the two come in contact, one has to kill the other.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Big questions

You can listen to some interesting (but long) interviews with Msgr. Albacete and others on

Joy and conviction

The weekly column by John Allen is worth reading. "The emerging heart of Benedict's papacy is about truth -- his belief that modern men and women must find their way back to objective truths about human life, imprinted in nature by the Creator. Even if the fallen human mind needs the "purification" of faith to perceive this truth, Benedict believes that it nonetheless responds to something deep in the human heart."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Without Roots

A new book by Benedict XVI is about to come out in the US.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Speaking of education

Along the same lines of previous posts, here is the new Spengler column: "Something more than democracy is required for peace and prosperity, and that is a people committed to good rather than evil. Democracy in the Middle East means something quite different: Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. The sooner President Bush changes the subject, the better."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bottom line

Liberal pro-israeli hawk Marty Peretz has a scathing column on the growing anarchy in Gaza. Whereas one should well be irritated by how clearly he despises the Palestinians, one cannot refute his basic claim just by producing a list of Israeli moral abuses and trying to weigh them against Palestinian ones. This moralistic approach would ignore a more fundamental issue: that, by and large, Judaism educates its people, who are of course capable of terrible moral failures. Conversely, Islam in many of its current historical incarnations does not seem able to educate. This is why the fate of the middle east depends so much on the fate of its Christians. Is anybody helping them?


This column is a good summary of the pessimistic "demographic doomsday" scenario that Mark Steyn has been writing about for a while. He is probably right in most respects, but does he think that a better future can be built just based on the belief that "Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives?" As he correctly mentions, Islamism is just a parasite of Western nihilism. So, how do you beat nihilism?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A father, a son, a death in Iraq

The father of a Marine killed in Iraq writes about his experience. "Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires." A painful reading from today Washington Post.