Toward a Conservative Foreign Policy of Non-Interventionism

During the presidency of George W. Bush, those of us who criticized U.S. foreign policy as overly hawkish tended to be considered “liberal,” a tendency neoconservatives had little reason to resist.  I personally found this very frustrating, for reasons that probably mystify some readers.  Does it really matter whether any given position is suitably “conservative”?  It does to a conservative, because conservatives are supposed to obsess about continuity with the past.  Conservatives are, by definition, strongly committed to the proposition that our received political traditions represent centuries of political wisdom which, at least in the ordinary case, should trump all but the most extraordinarily well-founded private judgments.  Read the rest of this entry »

Net-Mending in the Poetry Corner

We haven’t been to the Poetry Corner in a while, and today the Catholic lectionary gives us a nudge in that direction.  Ever since Jim Walsh told me about this poem, it has been impossible for me to hear today’s gospel reading (Mark 1:14-20) without thinking of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Georgetown Tops the Pomeroy Ratings

Now this counts as news you can use — but only for amusement, of course.  The Georgetown Hoyas may be in the teens of the AP and ESPN college basketball polls, but as of today they are number one on Ken Pomeroy’s highly regarded statistical ranking.  Just don’t ask me to explain why.

Catholic Identity at Catholic Universities

I’ve been keeping only one eye on the blog for the last several days because of a sudden uptick in the demands of my day job. As a result, I have not even made it through all the comments on the subject of Catholic identity at Catholic universities. However, it appears we have moved well beyond the original scope of my little blurb last week about Greg Kalscheur. Read the rest of this entry »

Greg Kalscheur in the Boston College Chronicle

The Boston College Chronicle has a nice profile (on pages 7 and 8) of newly-tenured Associate Professor of Law (and eminently Reasonable Mind) Gregory Kalscheur, S.J. In it, we learn (among other things) that Fr. Kalscheur has been holding out on us, for example by neglecting to inform us that BC’s Law Student Association conferred its Faculty Excellence Award on him in 2006.

Law students are not normally considered a particularly reverent lot, nor is Civil Procedure normally considered a particularly engaging subject, so the teaching award is pretty remarkable. Could it be that it’s the seminar on Catholic Social Thought that is generating the excitement? That would be even more remarkable. Whatever the explanation, it seems clear that both Greg and Boston College are doing a lot right.

[Editor’s note and update: Reasonable minds had some surprising comments on this rather short and seemingly unprovocative blurb. The issues under discussion outgrew this particular thread, so comments below have now been closed and the discussion has moved here.]

Walter J. Burghardt, S.J. (1914-2008)

It is with sadness and gratitude that I note the passing of Fr. Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., the brilliant Jesuit homilist who not only preached beautifully but taught and encouraged others to do so as well. He died last Saturday at the age of 93. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated tonight at Holy Trinity in Georgetown. The Washington Post obituary is here.

Fr. Burghardt was Theologian-in-Residence at Georgetown University while I was a student there. Unfortunately, I was one of the skeptics-in-residence during the same period, so my path did not cross Fr. Burghardt’s and I knew almost nothing about him until he preached the homily at our Baccalaureate Mass on May 26, 1985. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Commencement Speeches (Part III)

The third and final installment in our “Great Commencement Speeches” series is from my own graduation from Georgetown in 1985. The Rev. Royden B. Davis, S.J., longtime and much-loved Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, received an honorary degree and gave the address. I doubt there has been a single month of my life in which I have not thought about what he said that day. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Commencement Speeches (Part II)

The second installment in our Great Commencement Speeches series comes from the same venue as the first. After Mark Ouweleen’s 1986 Cohonguroton address, Fr. James P.M. Walsh, S.J. accepted the Bunn Award for Faculty Excellence. For those who do not know Father Walsh, he has a knack for recognizing bits of everyday life that illustrate common habits of mind so perfectly as to seem archetypal. As far as I know, most of these cannot be found in written form anywhere in captivity. Fortunately, this 1986 speech, “Farewell,” is built around one such vignette. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Commencement Speeches (Part I)

It’s the season for graduation ceremonies, and I have a confession to make: I love good commencement addresses. I like them almost as much as I like funerals, and for a parallel reason: Just as funerals call our attention to the inescapable reality of death, good commencement addresses call our attention to the unbounded possibilities of life. Eulogies and commencement addresses are like the two great bookends of what little public philosophizing we show any patience for. Read the rest of this entry »

A Hoya Hoops Homily

In honor of this year’s Georgetown Hoyas, who face Vanderbilt tonight in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, I republish this excerpt from a homily delivered over twenty years ago. Its author, former Georgetown President Timothy Healy, S.J., is no longer with us, but this is what he had to say at St. James’ Cathedral in Seattle, the day before Georgetown won its 1984 NCAA championship:

“[L]et us look at what brings us here today. Of course it’s a contest and a big one, and of course everybody associated with it wants to win. But let’s look deeper. Just for a moment let’s forget the hoopla and the noise, the excitement and the lust of victory, and see all our being and all our doing here with the eyes of faith. If we do, we will see that for all our wanting to win, we have also come here to celebrate together three great goods.

Read the rest of this entry »

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