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Twentieth century authoritarian regimes were obsessed with cleansing the “unfit” from the national body. A revival of that toxic urge seeps toward us like gas under a threshold. The leakage is global. Nevertheless, recent news out of Germany provides a unique lesson in the tenacity of a malignant ideology. In mid-November, Germany’s Euthanasia Society declared COVID vaccination a requirement for physician-assisted suicide. Citing public health concerns, the nation that identified “life-unworthy-of-life” (Lebensunwertes Leben) redesigned the concept to include a newly despised caste. Continue Reading
infantryman in the Battle of the Bulge

Knowledge of the early and mid-twentieth century is slipping inexorably away from us. Our capacity to understand and evaluate the present evaporates with it. What Fernand Braudel called “the fragile are of writing history” has been largely replaced by burlesques of our inheritance posing as indictments of the past. Too few remember even the names of the critical events of World War II. How many of today’s high school and college students have ever heard of the Battle of the Bulge? Continue Reading
Christmas bulb

Chief among the uses of enchantment is catechesis. The truth of that is made plain in Priscilla Smith McCaffrey’s Christmas Blossoms, a short story steeped in the mystery of the Incarnation. Suitable for all seasons, the protagonist’s deepening entrancement with the Nativity story resonates most sweetly at Christmastide. Viewed from the vantage point of structure and intention, the narrative moves within the atmosphere of what might be called a Catholic fairy tale. Historically such tales were written for all ages, adults no less than children. Continue Reading
Cordileone: Rosaries, Roses, & Reptiles

“O young Lochinvar is come out of the west”—West Coast, that is. You have likely read the media pas de deux between Nancy Pelosi and her ordinary, Archbishop Cordileone. Forgive me if I am unsympathetic to His Excellency’s current “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” gambit. The sell-by date for talk about killing innocent life in the womb expired in September with passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021. Once the clock ran out on the utility of words, it was time for canonical action. Continue Reading
Lamentation

The Lord has delivered me into the grip of those I cannot resist. (Lamentations 1) Readers have written to ask why Studio Matters had gone quiet. There was the September essay in The Federalist on art work about 9/11 by eighth graders in 2011. After that, only radio silence. There was—still is— much in need of saying. I am simply not the one to say it. The catastrophic cruelty and ignorance—assuming it was ignorance rather than demented malice—of the manner in which the Biden regime fled Afghanistan are beyond my capacities for coherence. Continue Reading