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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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November is a month for looking back in gratitude at where we have been, where we come from, who has trod the boards of our stage before us. Gratitude is the proper spirit to lift us up during these shorter, colder days (at least in these latitudes), while the seasonal life of nature turns with the leaves and falls with them to the ground.
Joseph Ratzinger looked at reality straight on, without blinders, neither a pessimist nor an optimist; with trepidation but always with Christian hope. He persevered, trusting in the promises of Christ as we must. He did so as almost all of us have to, without benefit of any special grace.
In his book All One in Christ, Edward Feser provides a succinct but comprehensive treatment of Critical Race Theory, its logical flaws and lack of basis in social science, and the Catholic Church’s alternative solution to racism: love for each person as made in God’s image and purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The phenomenon now arising around Fosse’s work, crowned by his widely honored and beloved Septology, supports the thought that the novelistic tradition’s centuries of exploring this tension have not yet come to an end. Fictionists of faith in the twenty-first century—far from being marginalized, suppressed, or silenced—face a wider horizon for hope and for endeavor than many may have ever dreamed of seeing. What remains to be seen is what writers will choose to do with such a vista of freedom.
What young readers need and deserve are models of virtue they can aspire to emulate.
If we love someone, we must be willing to correct his errors. We should fiercely debate, that debate may refine our intellects and help us fiercely seek truth.
It is a natural thing for southerners to be drawn to Lee’s memory and to look up in admiration at a statue in his likeness. But the fact remains: such statues say to black Americans, in the voice of the unreconstructed white majority, “We’re back in charge, and don’t you forget it.”
How would you answer the basic question of philosophical anthropology: What does it mean to be human? How does that answer affect your life?
Recent revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse underscore certain blunt realities about men, women, and sex. How can we confront those realities in a way that leads to less sexual violence?
In the past fifteen years, we’ve published articles on the moral, cultural, religious, and political issues of our time, including the most controversial and sensitive; but we have done so in a manner of which we can be proud, respecting the intellect and personhood of our readers, interlocutors, and intellectual contestants.
In this new book—intended to bring Edwards “into the twenty-first century”—Marsden has returned to the Edwards he first discovered in his twenties. The New England thinker’s “invigorating emphasis on the dynamic beauty of God at the heart of reality” grabbed him then and has not let him go. As Marsden says, “You don’t get tired of beauty.”  
Francis of Assisi teaches us that those who want to embrace the joys of this life must also embrace suffering. Our forgetfulness of this truth could explain the current crisis of our civilization.
Various trends in American religion and right-wing politics further indicate that as the political influence of Christian nationalism is waxing, that of religious conservatism is waning. This need not be a fixed situation, but it does mean religious conservatives will have ample need of God’s grace as they consider how to avoid moral and spiritual compromise while navigating a particularly treacherous political landscape.
The first word of Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Iliad signals that this is not quite the Homer we’re used to. You may well ask whether anyone today can be used to an epic, conventionally attributed to a blind bard named Homer, that was composed some 2,750 years ago in a stylized form of Greek that no one spoke natively. But surprisingly, there have been more than a dozen translations into English in the past thirty-five years alone.
Our schools are failing not because of what happens in the classroom, but because of what happens—or more to the point, what doesn’t happen—at the dinner table. If we wish to be a serious people, then we must bolster our institutions with the power to humanize and domesticate the bedlam within us all.
Hörcher adeptly elucidates how Scruton’s belief in the intertwining of aesthetics, morality, and politics stands as a bulwark against the often fragmented worldview of today’s modern thinkers.
The scope of the crisis of masculinity is unchartered territory for America and the broader West. Yet many of the most exaggerated masculine traits have an ancient ancestry and can be traced back to one of the greatest works of the Western canon.
A parallel challenge exists in preparing active participants for life as citizens and as members of church communities. Similar strategies can help both.
By co-creating with God, we imitate his goodness, participate in his governance, and bring more of creation into the divine unity.
A book review is not an opening-night party for a book’s author, and it is not a quarrel carried on with brass knuckles. It is an exercise in considered, contextualized judgment for the benefit of readers.
Many students may not appreciate the importance of applying themselves rather than using AI, but we must encourage those who do. We should fortify promising students with the assurance that excellence in education is worth pursuing but requires taking a hard road.
Nicholas Spencer’s new book is an important resource for anyone who wishes to understand the scientific and religious entanglements that have shaped, and continue to frame, our views of God, humanity, and the cosmos.
A liberal education pursued in good faith, that is, with civility, generosity, humility, and an earnest desire (among teachers and students) to think for oneself and to learn from and with others, tends to render us all more thoughtful, reflective, and humane.
Classical schools embrace an older understanding of education, one that prepares students for festivity and friendship, rather than socially handicapping them. Like their ancient and medieval predecessors, classical educators maintain that a crucial purpose of education is to liberate students from a calculative, utilitarian mindset by teaching them how to enjoy intrinsically worthwhile activities for their own sake.

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