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Russell Shaw

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The War On Chastity

G.K. Chesterton got a lot of things right. Here’s one: “The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.” Evidence for the destructive consequences of tyrannical sex abounds in wrecked relationships, wrecked families, and wrecked lives. But there’s an alternative. The solution to the...

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Media, Trump, Church

Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do. That’s been the story of Donald Trump’s relationship with the media for a long time, and we aren’t seeing the end of it yet. I don’t wish to add to the hysteria by declaring this situation a crisis. But if it’s not that, what is it?  It...

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Being Legalistic And Being Law-Abiding, And The Big Difference

In case you didn’t notice, Pope Francis thinks legalism is a bad thing—and that’s good news. For legalism, correctly understood, is opposed to authentic morality. The Pope returned to this theme, a favorite of his, in several recent homilies preached at his morning Mass in the Casa Santa...

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Responding To A Toxic Culture

In today’s America, as in other countries like it, people of faith are facing a question of critical importance: How should they respond to a dominant secular culture that’s not just hostile to their beliefs but bent on forcing them to conform to its values and, not incidentally, winning the...

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Lent And Giving Things Up

Up here in the northern half of the planet, where Lent coincides with the end of winter and the onset of spring, the imagery of rebirth and rejuvenation accompanying these natural events carries a powerful message: Shake off spiritual lethargy and be renewed in grace. Unlike what happens every...

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Conservatives And Trump

Many religious conservatives are looking to the Trump years with high expectations. R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, says Trump’s ascendancy marks a significant defeat for “anti-Christian” elites while offering religious conservatives an opportunity to speak up and be heard on behalf of their...

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Child Poverty And The Family

In setting out to confront a problem, it’s necessary to understand its causes in order to apply realistic solutions. Child poverty in America provides a painful illustration of what comes of ignoring that truism. Since the mid-1960s, the government has spent more than $22 trillion fighting...

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Letter To President-Elect Trump

Dear President-elect Trump: Unsolicited advice is said to be the best kind because the most easily ignored. But even if this letter accomplishes nothing else, at least it will help me focus my own thinking about what I expect from you as president. Admittedly, I didn’t vote for you, but...

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The Pro-Life Issues Facing President Trump

Many social conservatives, though by no means all, were ecstatic at the election of Donald Trump. Whether they’ll still be ecstatic a few months down the line cannot be predicted—and by no means is this uncertainty entirely of Trump’s making. Start with the Supreme Court. During the...

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Christmas Blues

For many people, the season of good cheer is a deeply trying affair. I don’t mean unhappy souls who have good reason to be sad—the loss of loved ones, poor health, loneliness—but those who feel let down when Christmas doesn’t deliver all the personal gratification they were looking for. The funk...

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What Lies Ahead

The events of the past year have made it overwhelmingly clear that America’s process for choosing a president as it has evolved is now seriously flawed and stands in need of reform. Responsible leaders of both parties have a duty to examine the system and adopt the changes needed. Among the...

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The Significance Of The Next Synod

When the pot is boiling, turn down the heat. You can’t be sure, but that could well have been part of the reasoning behind Pope’s Francis’s decision to choose as topic of the next world Synod of Bishops “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” For months, speculation out of Rome had...

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New Threats To Religious Liberty

Last June five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court thumbed their noses at religious liberty. They accomplished that without spoken comment simply by turning down an appeal by a family pharmacy in Washington state from a lower court order requiring the pharmacists to violate their consciences by...

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Examining The Early Life And Writings Of Dorothy Day

It wasn’t so much the look of poverty as she saw it a century ago in the teeming tenements of New York that outraged Dorothy Day as it was the smell. Many years later in her autobiography “The Long Loneliness,” she described it like this: “The smell from the tenements, coming up from basements...

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A Clash Of Secularism And Fundamentalism

While President Obama is correct in saying the war on terror is not and mustn’t become a war against Islam, it would be foolish to ignore the religious dimension of Islamic terrorism as now reflected in the Holy Week attacks in Brussels. To do that would risk making the secularist worldview...