Civil order and the pandemic

A sobering report from William M. Arkin at Newsweek today on U.S. government contingency plans in the event that the pandemic were to get much worse: Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme…

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Saint Patrick’s Day in quarantine

Kathryn Jean Lopez writes on celebrating “a different kind of Saint Patrick’s Day”: It’s certainly a weird St. Patrick’s Day by our typical standards. But, on the other hand, it’s been stripped of the unessentials. … A friend was talking to me about all that is going on, in the kind of astonishment that many…

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‘Meaning is given to us’

Tim DeChristopher and Wendell Berry sat down for a conversation last summer that’s available from Orion Magazine. I’m excerpting portions of that conversation below to give a shorter sense of it, but it’s worth reading in its fullness: WB: In 1965, my friend Gurney Norman gave me my first look at a strip-mining operation. That’s…

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Leaving Longlea

The silent retreat has ended and I’m heading back to Washington after a few great days in what had been a new part of Virginia to me. It’s overcast, chilly, and damp as we head back to the city and to the prospect that the virus will shut down most or all of daily life…

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More Longlea scenes

A lot of time for prayer, spiritual reflection, and silent fraternity. I don’t have many words to share here in these days, but I can share some scenes from this time. Fr. Jesus Urteaga’s “Bright and Cheerful Homes” is worth picking up. Here’s the description: The undertaking I want to speak to you about is…

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At Longlea

I’m at Longlea Conference Center near Culpeper, Virginia for a retreat. We started last night and will continue through Sunday. It’s my first silent retreat. I’m glad to be here. It’s beautiful out, for March especially. I’m spending stretches of the afternoon in the garden reading Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary.

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COVID-19 and ‘sensible and human things’

President Trump delivered an Oval Office address last night on the COVID-19 virus and its impact on the nation. I’m sure there will be more in the days and weeks to come. Since last writing on this last week, it seems as if most major corporations have shifted their workforce to a posture of either…

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Proactive school closures and pandemics

As the COVID-19 virus dominates the news this week, many American colleges and universities are sending students home for either a few weeks or for the remainder of the semester. Science offers perspective on why this works: Proactive school closures—closing schools before there’s a case there—have been shown to be one of the most powerful…

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Saint John Paul the Great’s centenary

George Weigel, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, spoke tonight at the Mayflower. He delivered the annual William E. Simon Lecture, and this year’s theme was “Saint John Paul II: A Centenary Reflection on a Life of Consequence”. EPPC streamed the lecture and I’m embedding it here. The post-lecture reception was a…

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Natural beauty in the full vitality of youth

“How does the experience of unforgettable natural beauty in the full vitality of youth affect the moral and spiritual life that follows?” Glenn Arbery asks Wordworth’s question from Tintern Abbey: Wordsworth looks to nature itself as a teacher; at Wyoming Catholic, we speak of nature as “God’s first book.” The powers implicit in natural forms…

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