Apr 19, 2005
Papal witness: A philosopher pope in a media age
Pope John Paul II, the “pilgrim pope,” understood intuitively that his ancient office was perfectly suited to reach a global audience in a media age. He gave peace, justice and human dignity a personal face that was somehow perfectly suited to the times, while reminding people that those values are older and more permanent than the institutions of modern politics.
Necessary decisions: Taking Sides for Schiavo
Like March Madness in the basketball world, participants in the debate over Terri Schiavo seemed driven to pick a team and root it on to victory, vanquishing the opponents. With her death, it’s time to put the madness behind us and attend not just to the passion but to the compassion on both sides of the debate. Both sides, after all, claimed to be on Terri’s side. Consider, then, two arguments, both Christian and both “pro-Terri.”
What wasn't discussed: Schiavo and the health care system
The Terri Schiavo case stirred much moral controversy over what constitutes ordinary care for the dying and what respect we should show for the wishes of the dying. These are serious matters, not discussed often enough. But there are other important moral and medical issues that were widely ignored in the debate.
Notions of purity: An interview with Mary Gordon
One of America’s most admired writers, Mary Gordon writes about women’s choices and about moral and spiritual struggles in the context of strong family connections. She has a deeply Catholic perspective, though not exactly an orthodox one. Her novels include Final Payments (1978), The Company of Women (1981) Men and Angels (1985) and Spending (1998). She has also written a memoir of her father, The Shadow Man (1996), and a biography, Joan of Arc (2000).
Guilt and remorse over Nazi atrocities and the horrors of World War II have consumed Germany for decades, influencing politics, culture and the arts, including cinema. The rise of the German New Wave of filmmakers in the 1970s (led by Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and Rainer Fassbinder) was fueled in part by a desire to exorcise Germany’s dark past. Therefore it speaks volumes about the state of discussion in Germany that the country has produced a film that is not only explicitly about Hitler but one that the makers wanted to submit for an Academy Award.
Tom Wolfe may deny that his novel is about Duke, but having spent 20 years there I know a few things about the school. Wolfe’s “Dupont University” has the same number of undergrads as Duke, the same fraternity-sorority dominance of the social scene, the same veneration of basketball, and a dozen other similarities. For almost 700 rollicking, mocking pages, Wolfe nails university life—or at least a segment of it.