Lessons from the Carnage | Video and Audio

Lectures on what we might learn from the carnage of the 20th Century. These lectures took place on Monday, November 12, 2018. Three lectures were presented. The first two lectures on in the first video, while the third is in the second. In the first video, due to technical difficulties,

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Word of the Day: MARK

Word of the Day: MARK Today is the feast day of Saint Mark, the evangelist whose sentences, in rough to-the-point Greek, are not polished as Luke’s, or studded with animadversions to the prophets, as Matthew’s, or both intimate and soaring, as John’s. It is easy to warm up to the

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Word of the Day: DISCIPLE

Word of the Day: DISCIPLE More on the terrain of translation — the corrugated landscape of what we can say, and what we wish we could say and almost succeed at suggesting, and what we cannot say, but must beg the reader or hearer to try to find on his

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The central problem of the century– and of our lives

This weekend I saw Witness, the powerful work by Whittaker Chambers, sitting on the shelf, and decided that it was high time to re-read it. I hadn’t finished the foreword when this passage triggered a series of thoughts: Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a

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Word of the Day: ALLELUIA

Word of the Day: ALLELUIA The perils of Biblical transliteration…. The man whose earth-moving machines across the street are waking us up early in the morning is a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t like to say it, but “JEHOVAH” is just what you get when you mistake the vowel points in

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Word of the Day: SOLITARY

Word of the Day: SOLITARY We finished in class today the greatest poem ever written in English: Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. They hand in hand with wandering steps

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What liturgists might learn from the Masters golf tournament

Although I am neither a golfer nor a golf fan, I enjoy watching the Masters on television each year, for several reasons. The Augusta National course is an unusually beautiful one. The azaleas and rhododendrons, in full bloom in Georgia, provide pleasant reassurance that spring will eventually arrive here in

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Word of the Day: EASTER

Word of the Day: EASTER The ironies of faithlessness — that it should lead to such heights of credulity, a willingness to believe anything and everything. The medieval peasant tucked in a valley north of Trondheim, who still looked over his shoulder warily when he had to cross an unknown

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Word of the Day: WATCH

Word of the Day: WATCH One of these days I will get around to reading a novel I’ve started and put down, by the literary scholar Helen White, called “A Watch in the Night.” It’s about the youth and the conversion of the post-Dantean poet Jacopone da Todi, best known

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Word of the Day: PILGRIM

Word of the Day: PILGRIM “Pilgrim,” says Tom Doniphon to Ranse Stoddard, “YOU didn’t kill Liberty Valance. I did.” Everybody who’s ever done an impersonation of John Wayne, from Rich Little to John Byner (the best, to my ear) to me when I was twelve years old, has hooked one

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Word of the Day: CLEAN

Word of the Day: CLEAN I’ve done this one before, but I am thinking these days about the Beatitudes, whose first seven blessings appear to me to have the form of verses of Hebrew poetry, as the following: “Blessed are the CLEAN of heart, for they shall see God.” It

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Equality, You Say?

When I was a senior at Princeton, somebody knocked on my door, peddling a petition. He wanted me to sign my name in support of establishing at Princeton a “Public Interest Research Group,” or PIRG, as they are known. Of course the politics of it made my signing impossible; the

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Word of the Day: LEARN

Word of the Day: LEARN I am reading an excellent new book, The Decay of Truth in Education, by Kevin Krahenbuhl. People who do not work in the hard sciences may find it difficult to fathom how far truth, as the prime end of education, has been abandoned or traduced.

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Different World Alert

I’ve been placing books on new shelves we’ve just put up, and came across a handsomely bound monograph, a doctoral dissertation by one Rev. George J. Lucas, D. D., on the religious philosophy of Herbert Spencer, entitled “Agnosticism and Religion,” including a history of agnosticism going back to Xenophanes. I

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That unforgettable Ash Wednesday photo

A week later, the image is still clearly etched in my mind. In the aftermath of the Florida school shootings, dozens of media outlets carried a powerful AP photo that portrayed a blonde woman hugging another woman. The woman’s face is contorted with grief; her arm, around her friend’s shoulders,

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Will we sacrifice Marines to advance feminist standards?

Americans today—in sharp contrast with their behavior during the years of the Vietnam war—show great respect, bordering on reverence, for members of the armed forces. President Trump has good reason for proposing a grand military parade; he knows that we love to applaud our soldiers. But is this surge of

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Word of the Day: PIOUS

Word of the Day: PIOUS As I said the other day, we’re now beginning to read Virgil’s Aeneid, in the Humanities 2 course at Thomas More College. The kids are freshmen who have taken a previous course in the Greek world, and are now taking a course on the Scriptures,

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Word of the Day: DUST

Word of the Day: DUST An hour late, I know, but a good word for the whole season. “Remember, man, that thou art DUST,” said the priest to me today as I knelt at the prie-Dieu, “and unto DUST thou shalt return.” The good old gentleman said it in a

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The blessing and the curse

Today at Mass we heard the famous challenge that God set before the people of Israel, from the Book of Deuteronomy (30: 19-20) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that

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What does it mean to ‘restore culture’?

[What follows is an address delivered on February 2 by Professor Anthony Esolen, at a gathering for supporters of the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture.] I am here tonight to talk about the restoration of culture, and as soon as I say the words, I am afraid that

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Word of the Day: BLIND

Word of the Day: BLIND A facebook friend asked me the other day why we don’t say BLOUND for the past tense of the verb to BLIND, just as we say GROUND, FOUND, BOUND, and WOUND. He thought it would be pretty snazzy to say, “She BLOUND me with her

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Word of the Day: JOY

Word of the Day: JOY When I come home from work, my dog Jasper greets me with a dog-version of JOY that is so intense, he sometimes has to run around in big circles to get it out of him, and if I get down on the floor he will

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Word of the Day: CIVIL

Word of the Day: CIVIL When the Gauls under their chieftain Brennus — lop off the nominative ending and we have Brenn or something near, possibly just the man’s title, which the Romans heard as a name (early modern Welsh BRENHIN = KING) — broke into Rome for the first

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Word of the Day: LAW

Word of the Day: LAW Many years ago I took an opportunity to be part of an eight-person faculty seminar, to last a whole semester, on the topic of freedom. I did it, to be honest, because it came with a course reduction and a decent stipend. The experience taught

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Word of the Day: LIFE

Word of the Day: LIFE Two thirds of our students at Thomas More College are not at the school today, but are in Washington, in the annual March for LIFE. They will probably outnumber the good people from my last school, that shall remain Nameless, even though Nameless has forty

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Word of the Day: ECONOMY

Word of the Day: ECONOMY Here’s a word that needs redeeming, like POLITICAL. (By the way, I love the English locution “needs —ing,” active in form and passive in meaning: “That house needs fixing,” “That boy needs talking to.”) We now use it to refer to things titanic and megalopolitan

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Word of the Day: CHARACTER

Word of the Day: CHARACTER The first imparting of a CHARACTER in Scripture, as I see it, comes in Genesis, after the first murderer and third excuse-maker pleads with God to do something to keep other people from doing to him what he did to his brother. God then most

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A prayer for Europe

In the Memoriale of St. Pierre Favre, I recently came across the passage below. The great Jesuit saint (considered by St. Ignatius himself to be the best director for the Spiritual Exercises) was apparently writing about the people of Speyer, having just left that city for a new assignment. But he might

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Word of the Day: TRUTH

TRUTH used to be a complete defense against the accusation that you had libeled somebody. Nowadays TRUTH is not your own defense against somebody’s libeling you. That is, if someone says, “John is a vicious man, because he says X,” John is not allowed to defend himself by showing that

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Word of the Day: WEEK

Word of the Day: WEEK Let’s suppose that you are the sacred author of Genesis, and you are inspired by God to describe, in liturgical form, the creation of the world. All narratives require time. There is no way that a human culture without the heights of philosophy can conceive

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