Matthew Boudway is an associate editor of Commonweal.
By this author
On Easter Sunday, a headline on the New York Times's homepage read: "On Being Catholic." This was followed by a teaser: "Can reflective and honest intellectuals actually believe in the churchs teachings?" A Catholic might find the question mildly irritating, especially that incredulous "actually." But a Catholic might also find it enticing. After all, the headline itself suggests that the answer to the teaser's question will be some kind of yes.
From the Commonweal archives: Les Murrays great Easter poem, published in the issue dated March 26, 1993.
The Say-but-the-Word Centurion Attempts a Summary
That numinous healer who preached Saturnalia and paradox
has died a slaves death. We were maneuvered into it by priests
and by the man himself. To complete his poem.
He was certainly dead. The pilum guaranteed it. His message,
unwritten except on his body, like anyones, was wrapped
Ross Douthat on the GOP's autopsy of the 2012 election, which recommends what Douthat calls "the 'donorist view' of how the Republican Party needs to change": embrace gay marriage and immigration reform while sticking to its economic agenda. Douthat has his doubts:
Last week the New York Times posted a short piece by Phillip Lopate about the relationship between doubt and the writing of essays. Lopate argues that the essay is a literary form especially hospitable to uncertainty. The essay is, or can be, exploratory, provisional, even self-contradictory. The word itself suggests an experiment (the French word essayer means "to try").
From the New York Times (where else?): "Popes Successor Is Likely to Share His Doctrine."
The term "dhimmitude" originally referred to the second-class status of non-Muslims living in any Muslim-majority country whose laws officially favor Islamic norms and practices. Religious minorities, such as Christian and Jews, may be tolerated in such a country, but they are also discriminated against. In exchange for security they must accept special cultural and legal constraints from which their Muslim neighbors are free. The term is of recent vintagethough its Arab root, dhimmi,is notand it remains controversial among historians.