Of Many Things
February 22, 2016
What do you do for a living?
Sometimes I have been tempted to respond, as the late New York Times columnist David Carr once quipped, “I write emails.”
Like many office workers of one stripe or another, much of my day is spent sending messages on various digital platforms. For a long time it was email, and my to-do list was largely dictated by how many messages in my inbox I had...
February 15, 2016
Among the common misconceptions about Jesuits are the following: First, we all have multiple Ph.D.’s. (I have zero.) Second, we all speak Latin. (I do not.) Third, we have all spent many years teaching. (Not me, which I count as a loss.) Finally, we all travel to Rome frequently.
Before last week, however, I had been only three times to Catholic headquarters. All in all, then, I can’t say I knew Rome very well....
February 8, 2016
Most readers would agree that reading a magazine is worthwhile if we learn just one new thing from every issue. In the present instance, I will spare you the anticipation by providing it right up front; it is not one new thing, in fact, but two. And these two things, which I’m guessing you don’t know, concern some of your favorite people: Jesuits.
The first thing you should know is that Jesuits are not as smart as we...
February 1, 2016
From 1951 to 1969 the State of Florida was represented in the U.S. Senate by George A. Smathers, a Miami attorney and future used car salesman who is best remembered for his close friendships with two U.S. presidents: John F. Kennedy, with whom he would occasionally raise hell; and Richard Nixon, to whom he sold his Key Biscayne home—what would become Nixon’s Southern White House.
My favorite story about the otherwise...
January 18-25, 2016
The March for Life, the annual gathering of pro-life activists, clergy and civic leaders will take place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22. In our pro-life commitment, America is allied with the sentiments expressed in the statement by the Society of Jesus of the United States, “Standing for the Unborn,” which was published in America on May 26, 2003. As is our...
January 4-11, 2016
Another dour, colorless twilight is wending its way through midtown Manhattan, making me only more susceptible to the mid-winter nihilism for which my Celtic forebears are so famous. “Why should I be happy,” wrote Eugene O’Neill, “or e’en be merry/in weather only fitted for Cook or Peary.” Yet I know that there is a lot to be merry about. I’m grateful for the hundreds, indeed thousands of people whose talents and generosity have made this a banner year...
December 21-28, 2015
December 7-14, 2015
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” Donald Trump told a crowd in Birmingham, Ala., on Nov. 21 . While “the phenomenon of internalizing rank falsity on behalf of presumably greater goals is bipartisan,”...
November 30, 2015
I first came to America in the spring of 2003, when Thomas J. Reese, S.J., the 12th editor in chief, offered me a position as an editorial intern. One of the most talented Jesuits of his generation, Father Reese is a lifelong student of history and politics. So the first thing he did when I arrived was to school me in what this journal is, as well as what it is not, and how our own history informs how we seek to interpret the signs of the times in the...
November 23, 2015
The conference room in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office suite on Capitol Hill can comfortably seat a dozen people. But on a Monday morning earlier this month, triple that number had crammed themselves into it. A few minutes past 11 o’clock, three Warren staffers squeezed their way into the crowd and, after brief introductions, a young man in jacket and tie rose to address them. “As people of faith,” he began, “we are motivated to work for...