The Last Word: Shanghaied

When I searched the web for “Catholic, Shanghai,” the first thing that came up was an article, “Shanghai’s Catholic Church in Disarray.”

The Last Word: High Notes

No doubt about it. There was the trout stream. These were the woods. And that was a hymn where no hymn should be.

The Last Word | Past Perfect

In manipulating a mouse’s memory so that it recalls being shocked in a spot where it wasn’t, science has opened the door to the eventual recreation of our pasts.

The Last Word | Desert Hospitality

Salah sets down three rocks, in the center of which he places dried bush branches and lights a fire. This is the hospitality of the desert.

The Last Word | Place Holders

Devotion to one’s parish continues to be a prime marker of Catholic identity.

The Last Word | Out of Sight

For the Romans, 'luxuria' was the near-equivalent of Greek hubris. It has behind it the imagery of material excess leading to a diminished sense of cause and effect.

The Last Word: Take & Eat

How the apple, rather than the grape or the fig, became the fruit in the Garden of Eden is complicated, involving pagan Greek mythology and folklore.

Service Entrance

It’s time to take another look at the idea of national service, which could revitalize the country and relieve the economic pressure on its youth.

Last Word: Bending the Lens

In the art of Diane Arbus, the plays of Shakespeare, or a poem by Mary Karr, my students touch something divine, whose utter familiarity begs to be reverenced.

A Higher Power

While I lived in South Africa, I got to know a remarkable Quaker, John Broom. He taught me the real basis of sainthood: understanding and honoring the difference...

Cross Purposes

Some years ago a Catholic friend shared with me an exchange he’d had with a Protestant acquaintance. The Protestant had pointed to a crucifix and said, “I don’t...

On the Piazza

CNS photo/Paul HaringOutdoor papal Masses are always a strange combination of stargazing and solemnity, and, at least in that regard, Francis’s inaugural was no...
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