Thomas J. McCarthy

Columns
January 05, 2004
I am acquainted with the night. I read until drowsy, then lie in darkness hoping sleep will take me; the hope becomes anxiety, which puts me in mind of something I need to figure out, which sets me on a course of pondering unresolved problems, composing letters, making mental to-do lists and general
Columns
December 01, 2003
With the 2004 presidential election looming, I find myself recalling George W. Bush’s mantra four years ago, when he was a candidate, about bringing honor and dignity back to the oval office. Whenever he lost his way in public speech, he would lurch back to his narrowly circumscribed comfort zone,
Columns
November 03, 2003
Comes another autumn and nature’s reminder that life is most authentically itself because of its impermanence. The cycle is indisputably natural, and yet much of it is tinged with irony, especially here in northern climes. Trees lose their covering just when they seem to need it most, the loons
Columns
October 06, 2003
I am very sensible what a weakness and presumption it is, to reason against the general humor and disposition of the world. Jonathan Swift, 1708Two fall rituals go together in the United States: the new school year and the new football season. From countless boyhood games in the crisp air of leaf-st
Columns
September 08, 2003
There is fear that paralyzes and fear that compels. The distinction can melt into nothing in a split second, but the difference means everything in life.
Columns
July 21, 2003
Afriend recently passed on to me an article in which the author, a priest, argues that we need to reromanticize priesthood and religious life and give people something beautiful to fall in love with. I find it to be an inspired idea, given recent revelations and events, and a troubling idea. Rarely
Columns
May 26, 2003
The earliest and most enduring lesson the Jesuits taught me can be summarized in one word: slop. This may take a bit of explaining, but not as much as you might think. For it has to do with learning to find the sacred in the mundane. Other than paper routes, my first real job came in high school, wh
Columns
April 21, 2003
The day the bombing began in Baghdad, my daughter came home from kindergarten and said, “We’re at war with Iraq, right Daddy?” Later that evening, she stopped in the midst of her piano practice to ask, “Daddy, how can music change the world?” Her thinking was, I knew, p
Columns
March 24, 2003
My mind, like the minds of many Americans, could easily be consumed with thoughts of attacking Iraq. There is no end of opinions, information and disinformation about why it should or should not happen. What’s interesting is that the more we learn about incremental Iraqi compliance and opposit
Columns
February 24, 2003
Brace yourself, good reader. My subject is once again mortality. If you’re frowning right now, all the better. I have before me a brochure for Botox cosmetic treatment, which claims to “smooth the deep, persistent lines between your brows that developed over time.” I love metaphor,