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Russell Shaw

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Learning To Read Chesterton

I suppose it will be considered heresy in some quarters, but I’ve never been what you would call a fan of the writing of G.K. Chesterton. Some people can’t get enough of GKC. I can. Not that I haven’t tried to read him. Now and then, failing to acquire this particular taste and suspecting the...

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After Trinity Lutheran

Will a preschool kids’ playground turn out to be the path that leads to ending a historic form of discrimination against church-sponsored schools in America? For the moment, the best answer to that question is: maybe. The question itself suddenly came alive in the wake of an important Supreme...

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European Identity

Looking at things from this side of the Atlantic, it is easy to think of Europe as a single, united entity. Seen up close it’s not so clear. National identity keeps getting in the way. French, German, Italian, Polish, and so on—those ancient identities still matter to many people. As arguably...

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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...