Free-born minds

A few years ago I wrote at National Review about the idea of “the free-born mind,” as C.S. Lewis presented it in The Abolition of Man. He writes on the repercussions for a culture that has decoupled the civic and moral aspects of its shared identity into separate and competing arenas. What results? Cultural schizophrenia, where the warden-caretaker becomes the master: As a…

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Scattered SEPTA thoughts

I started writing this last week while riding SEPTA into Philadelphia and thinking over a few things that have been marinating for a few months. 1. The “Silverliner V” commuter trains have been around for a while now and they’re very nice. The next generation (double deckers like NJ Transit has long had) are in the…

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Catholic social teachings

In the latest Legatus magazine Andreas Widmer writes: What makes business leadership Catholic? …knowing and implementing the Church’s social teaching. Many business leaders are surprised to learn that the Church’s rich social teaching didn’t start with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891); it goes back to Sts. Thomas and Augustine, the Church Fathers and…

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No lazy lover

I’m standing outside of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Michael Novak’s funeral took place just hours ago in the Crypt Church, where I’d estimate some 400 or so came together to recognize death and to pray for a man they knew who has left the stage. The funeral…

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Actively crafting a life

I once heard a priest tell this joke during his homily: Three men are talking after a long night of drinking (“philosophizing”) about how they want to be remembered when they die. The first man said, “As a good father and husband.” The second man, a teacher, said, “I hope my students remember me as…

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Where did fake news come from?

I wrote the following in September 2012, and am sharing it in light of the “fake news” controversies of the moment: I believe the news and most of television has become poisonous to our culture. Our parents grew up in the fading days when Cronkite was the embodiment of news, and when “straight reporting” was almost never laced with…

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Fake news

The world gets neither better nor worse… just different. I’ve heard some formulation of this over and over and over applied to all variety of subjects in conversation with people who would rather recite a trite saying than engage even a thought experiment. The Christian is obligated to concede the world was better before the…

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Practical v. practicable

An important distinction from G.K. Chesterton in his book St. Francis of Assisi: If we mean by what is practical what is most immediately practicable, we mean merely what is easiest. In that sense St. Francis was very impractical, and his ultimate aims were very unworldly. But if we mean by practicality a preference for…

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Why are you silent?

Why are people silent? The two clearest reasons: you either are trying to listen rather than speak, or you’ve got nothing to say. I grimace when hearing the most common broadsides leveled against social media and communications. “What could I say in 140 characters?” “Who wants to know what I had for lunch?” Et cetera.…

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THON, Mountain, Arboretum

Visited Penn State this weekend with brother Nick, his first trip there with just me. It was great to spend this time together in Happy Valley with him, introducing him to some of the most special aspects of life there. We visited THON at the Bryce Jordan Center: We visited the Penn State Arboretum, which…

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