Why Is This Man Smiling?

11/02/2008 Comment

Russell Reno knows how bad the news is. The financial system is reeling, and the United States is stumbling overseas.

“The strange thing, however, is that when I turn away from daily news and take the dog for a walk, I end up smiling,” writes First Things’ features editor. “Underneath all my anxious hand wringing, I’m an optimist about the future of America.”

Don’t worry … be happy? Why?

“No doubt my optimism arises, at least in part, from an only semi-rational patriotism,” writes Reno, who is also a Creighton University Theology professor. “ It’s natural to see strength in the country one loves. But what I see is, I think, real. America has a collective identity,...READ MORE

Filed under first things, r.r. reno, weekend commentary

Rosary vs. Pornography

11/01/2008 Comments (1)

“The Rosary is excruciating. There I said it.” Thus begins Brian Pessaro’s “My Struggle With the Rosary” at Godspy.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for Mary’s intercession,” he writes. “Since the age of 11, I was addicted to pornography. It began simple enough with sneaking peaks at my best friend’s father’s Playboys in the basement of his house. But by the time I was 25, I was so hooked on Internet porn that I would itch for my wife to leave the apartment so I could secretly jump online. Several times over the years I tried to quit. Each time, not only did I fail, but the addiction got worse to the point where I gave up resisting.”

Then, while...READ MORE

Filed under pornography, rosary, weekend commentary

Video: Catholics and Life

11/01/2008 Comment

Gus Lloyd told me about this clear and concise video from the Scranton Diocese taking on arguments that downplay the importance of the right to life to Catholics.

Here’s where I found it on YouTube.

— Tom Hoopes

Filed under video, weekend commentary

Bishops, Soundbited

11/01/2008 Comment

Our news editor, John Burger, did an excellent job selecting and excerpting some of what the bishops have been saying about the election in “Vote 2008: The Shepherds Speak,” which you can find in full and for free linked at the home-page slide show.

But if you want an even more abbreviated version (we did it for a design idea that didn’t work out), here you go:

U.S. Bishops on the 2008 Election

Reversing Roe v. Wade “it is not a mere political tactic, but a moral imperative for Catholics.”
— Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Prolife Activities

“We cannot be mute on this premier civil rights issue of our day.”
— Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy...READ MORE

Filed under

McCain: ‘I Won’t Cave’

10/26/2008 Comment

One reason John McCain makes pro-lifers queasy: the Supreme Court. McCain’s Gang of 14 snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for pro-life judges.

Now comes Human Events, nailing McCain down on the question: What will your nominees be like?

It seemed like a vote for McCain was a vote along the lines of the logic of Horatio Hornblower’s duel in the book Midshipman Hornblower . A bad shot, Hornblower arranged it so that only one gun was loaded, and it was random whether he or his opponent got it. He figured a 50/50 chance was better than certain death. Rolling the dice on McCain’s nominees beats the certainty that Obama’s will be Roe v. Waders.

But, quoth the interview:

“Q: On the...READ MORE

Filed under court, human events, mccain, supreme court, weekend commentary

The Bust Is Good

10/26/2008 Comment

Jeffery Tucker asks at Inside Catholic: What’s Wrong With Failure? It’s a subject Catholics are more likely to understand than most. After all, we’re the ones with the big statues of our failed leader front and center in our churches.

Writes Tucker: “As angry as many people were about the bailout of Wall Street, something else makes people just about as angry: falling stock prices. It is probably for this reason that Washington decided to take the risk and push one of the more outrageously extravagant spending programs in the history of the world.”

He continues, “What’s really at issue is a deeper problem that is culture-wide: the intolerance toward failure. We can’t face...READ MORE

Filed under inside catholic, wall street, weekend commentary

Ideal Catholic Candidate?

10/25/2008 Comment

John Allen at the Reporter says he has avoided wading into election issues, but now realizes he must. In doing so he describes what the perfect Catholic candidate would be like, in his view.

He speaks for “Catholics alienated from both parties, who aren’t undecided but rather disenfranchised.”

“Most analyses of the ‘Catholic vote’ presume there are three basic camps: pro-Obama Catholics, pro-McCain Catholics, and the undecided,” he writes. “For purposes of electoral handicapping, that’s a natural way of slicing the pie, but it neglects another important constituency. This block has no candidate, no network of think-tanks and advocacy groups, and it only registers indirectly...READ MORE

Filed under anti-war, pro-life, weekend commentary

A Saint on Broadway

10/25/2008 Comment

“When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”

The New York area has been seeing ads for Broadway’s A Man for All Seasons on Broadway.  Now Amanda Shaw and Nathaniel Peters give the play two thumbs up at First Things blog. And in doing so, they provide an excellent critique of the excesses in Robert Bolt’s play, and the modesty of director Doug Hughes’ production.

“The strength of Bolt’s script and Doug Hughes’ direction is that neither turns the play into a lecture on politics,” they write of this play about the patron of statesman that is playing in an intense election year.


Filed under conscience, first things, man for all seasons, politics, thomas more, weekend commentary

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About Guest Blogger/Tom Hoopes

Tom  Hoopes
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Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.