Popular Culture

Rachel Levine

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.” St. Anthony the Great
A civilization in a death spiral can no longer maintain the moral demands that kept it alive. Neither can it tolerate an ability to see things as they are. Coherent authority shrinks. In The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff put it well: The dying order “demands less, permits more.” Continue Reading
Courting Pop Culture: The Cardinal & The Rocker

Vatican surrender to compartmentalized culture—divided by age and social brackets—did not begin with Pope Francis. John Paul II initiated that trajectory.  (Try to imagine Pope Pius XII being made an honorary Harlem Globetrotter as was John Paul. Or the Vatican releasing a cartoon version of Pius’ life on DVD.) Under Jorge Bergoglio’s pontificate, the Vatican goes an extra mile in blurring the distinction between evangelizing popular culture and flattering it. Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, has a knack for promoting the Church’s secular replacement. Continue Reading
John Leo: A Journalist's Call to Accountability

When I learned that John Leo had retired as editor-in-chief of Minding the Campus, my thoughts leaped to T.S. Eliot’s final prayer at the end of Ash Wednesday: “Suffer me not to be separated.” The news came as a wrench, a decisive twist to the bolt on a repository of shaping memories, His writing was at the center of much that had stamped my wits and my interests over decades. The man entered my life through a Xeroxed copy of his December 1, 1965 column in the National Catholic Reporter. Continue Reading
From Frank Sheed To A Queer Femme

Tanked up on rage, the mob is on the move. It wears a tame face here in my town: lawn signs, righteous statements in store windows, and silent vigils for BLM. But under the mask—both the disposable kind and the indelible one stamped on polite conformist psyches—lies the same disdain for our country. And the same assent to blood libel against white Americans. It is not necessary to replay here all that you have already read on the maelstrom of anti-Americanism whirling across the nation. Continue Reading
Viruses: Evil Suffered vs. Evil Done

The virus is cruel, but not evil. Because it sickens and can kill, it is natural for us to experience it as malevolent. Yet how could it be? A virus is as much a tribute to God’s handiwork as the dogwood blossoming by my neighbor’s mailbox, or the blue heron standing below the waterfall on our local pond. Viruses have endured longer than the sandstone cliffs on the Jurassic coast of Devon. They are older than the ferns, conifers, and butterflies of the Cretaceous Period. Continue Reading