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Pillar

Education & Culture

The fourth pillar, education and culture, is built upon the recognition of two essential realities. First, the Western intellectual tradition requires a dedication to and desire for truth. Second, education takes place not only within colleges and universities but within our broader culture, whose institutions and practices form us as whole persons.

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Here's what our editors are reading this summer.
Education should rehumanize us. In higher education, with the guidance of professors and mentors and elders, we should move through Homer, Newton, Wordsworth, Du Bois, O’Connor, and be transformed by our love for the good, true, and beautiful, into the person we are meant to be.
Israelis celebrate their writers, artists, scientists, jurists, industrialists, and statesmen who fought wars of life and death. And of course there are other ways to serve—caring for the mentally ill, for abandoned children, for the elderly and sick. I am grateful for all of these exemplars. But for me, it will always be specifically the young men and women who go to the army intending to return (many, alas, do not return) to their studies when their missions are done. These people go on to have families, large ones, and jobs of all kinds, and different hobbies and interests and vocations. Their commitments are ordered by a conscious dedication to the Lord of all flesh.
If young people are taught to look at history only through the lenses of power and oppression, they will conclude that power and oppression are everything. Conversely, let them be introduced first to the genuinely great historical deeds, philosophical ideas, literary creations, and works of art of which humans have been capable. Then they will discover the ideals that moved our predecessors.
The attraction of subjecting oneself to ideological thought, then, is a new form of something very old: the desire to escape the limitations and uncertainties of the human condition of knowledge and action by availing ourselves of a greater-than-human power.
David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed appropriately decries the antebellum American South’s practice of slavery, while acknowledging the South’s production of Americans who have also served the cause of freedom and truth.
If short stories are the wardrobe through which young people can pass into a world where they learn to appreciate novels as well, then the demise of magazine fiction is truly unfortunate. Let those teachers assign lots of classic short fiction. The taste of the young is developed in small helpings.
Constant supervision thwarts a child’s ability to develop important qualities such as resourcefulness, self-awareness, and perseverance. But independence with a strong inner compass, a compass that is oriented toward the safety and trustworthiness of healthy family relationships, helps children eventually carry that attached compass away from home and eventually calibrate it for themselves.
A review of The Bible and Poetry by Michael Edwards (translated by Stephen E. Lewis, Jr.)
So, why should a Christian study the humanities? Because it’s what God made us to do. Because by doing so we do participate in God’s knowing of the world and can thereby come to understand him. Because by study we can better understand scripture and our experience of God. Because it lets us enjoy non-Christian beauty and truth in the light of Christ. Because it can be a means of spiritual growth and shape our experience of the world. And because it can move us to praise God who is the Truth itself.
If we are to feel at one with the structures in which we labor and dwell, if they are to endorse our existence here on earth, beauty must take precedence over all other factors. Without it, the battle for the soul of civilization cannot be won.   
Understanding homemaking as a craft that produces beautiful (if intangible) results should hopefully encourage young men and women who are thinking about caring for a home and/or children. For the young mother or father overwhelmed by all there is to do and feeling incompetent in the face of the multiple—often conflicting—demands of house and children, it may help to know that homemaking is a skill to be developed over time.
Recovering art as a participation in God’s governance, and as co-creating with God, is crucial to the healthy formation of young people, our places of worship, and our everyday lives. 
By disclosing the folly of our modern worship of the inarticulable Golden Calf, AI could put us on the path to becoming again a rational, serious people, a people of the word. Stranger felix culpas have happened.
The protests are not simply about Gaza, but concern incompatible ways of life and value. They are another moment in the long rejection of Western metaphysics, anthropology, ethics, and epistemology by Westerners coming of age in a culture that teaches them to despise their own civilization.
As Americans prepare to mark the 250th anniversary of the nation’s birth, in 2026, some argue there’s more to criticize than celebrate. Guelzo's latest book provides ample evidence of what Lincoln found worth celebrating about the American experiment, and what Guelzo finds worth celebrating about Lincoln.
I’m hopeful, therefore, that not just ordinary readers, but also readers at the higher levels of ecclesial leadership, will learn some new things about women and Church history from my book. I also hope that some might reconsider and refine what they say in connection to the past and present role of women in Christian ecclesial and social life.
In her popular new book, Abigail Shrier challenges parents to help kids through the hard parts of life rather than relying on the therapy industry.
Maier’s love for the Church comes through in this book and is why others who love the Church will want to read it. Perhaps we can hope for a sequel in which we will get to hear more of Maier in his own words. 
It seems the utopian impulse and the dystopian nightmare are never very distant from one another. If we are to love Big Brother, as Winston Smith does at the end of Orwell’s novel, all our other loves must be intruded upon, damaged, even sacrificed entirely. The case for freedom begins with the case for love.
This moment, among other things, may call for something as banal as looking around, embracing and underscoring the figures and images that capture what is enduringly good about normal American life.
Faithfully living what we claim to believe as Catholic Christians shapes the future. And the fact is, we can no longer afford a sclerotic Church, a comfortable Church, a get-along Church. We need to be a confessing Church, not just in our diocesan structures, but in the pews and family homes of every parish.
As we enter the third year of the war, Western nations—with the U.S. in the lead—seem unwilling to get to the heart of the matter. Yes, Ukraine has miraculously survived, but this cannot be for long. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that a compromise with Russia is possible, but it is not. Vladimir Putin will not rest until Ukraine is either subjugated or eliminated. 

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