The Holy Cross: A real life “Mockingjay” for Catholics

To me, the idea that ties the religious significance of this story together best is the “mockingjay.”  I find in the image of the mockingjay a clear and resounding symbol of the Cross of Jesus Christ.    The popular trilogy of novels turne … [Read more...]

Liberal education and the priesthood

The winner of the second annual Pastores Dabo Vobis Award in Honor of Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.

“Like all great churches, that are not mere store-houses of theology, Chartres expressed, besides whatever else it means, an emotion, the deepest man ever felt—the struggle of his own littleness to grasp the infinite. You may, if you like, f … [Read more...]

The practice of excellence

Human flourishing means seeing what is and acting accordingly.

“A man properly nurtured in poetry will quickly spot shoddy, poorly made works and ill-grown things, and his joy and aversion will be properly placed; he’ll approve beautiful things, joyfully take them into his soul, and from their nurture g … [Read more...]

How American Catholicism Was

THE EDGE OF SADNESS. By Edwin O’Connor (Loyola Press [Loyola Classics Series], 3441 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60657, 1962/2005 reprint), 640 pp. PB $13.95.

Once upon a time, before the priest scandals, Catholicism in Boston was rampant with good ol’ Irish “Cat’lics” who looked at religion as an extension of their everyday lives. Families were proud of the priests in their ranks, all went to Mas … [Read more...]

Insight into Wilde’s soul

THE UNMASKING OF OSCAR WILDE. By Joseph Pearce (Ignatius Press, P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522, 2004); 1-800-651-1531; 412 pp. HB. $19.95.

Distinguished classical scholar in his college days at Trinity College in Ireland; gifted poet, dramatist, and author of fairy tales like “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince”; famed wit, dandy, bon vivant, and sophisticated convers … [Read more...]

No Academic Grounds Are Safe

THE CASE OF THE MUSE OF MADNESS. A Novel by Charles M. Kovich and Curtis L. Hancock, A Father Schrader Mystery, Book 2 (Liber Media and Publishing, 10401 Holmes Rd., #120, Kansas City, Mo. 64131, 2004), 166 pp. HB $21.88.

Rockhurst University’s two murder-mystery, academic novelists, Charles Kovich and Curtis Hancock, have teamed up to produce the second volume in their Father Dietrich Shrader series. We are not wrong to suspect that something both p … [Read more...]

A big house for a small house

THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN. By Peter J. Kreeft (Ignatius Press, 2515 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94118, 2005), 237 pp. PB. $15.95.

This masterpiece of philosophy and literary criticism epitomizes liberal education at its best and illuminates C.S. Lewis’s statement that Alexander Pope’s famous line, “The proper study of mankind is man,” needs correction: “The proper stud … [Read more...]

Four Priests of the Word

A Catholic literary revival has been quietly under way in this country for more than two decades.

As long as human nature continues to be a bundle of tensions and contradictions, pining for truth and yet succumbing to pride, there will always be dissent in the Church. We therefore should expect some dissent and not despair when we see … [Read more...]