Farewell Mr. Smith

The high-water-mark of American civil religion was probably the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Jimmy Stewart plays the titular Mr. Smith, appointed by a feckless governor to fill an empty Senate seat. Once in Washington, Smith is forced to confront a corrupt political machine centered, to his horror,

Classics Revisited

The Anglican Mystic

“An hour’s conversation on literature between two ardent minds with a common devotion to a neglected poet is a miraculous road to intimacy.” War in Heaven, Charles Williams In the town of Oxford, there is a small tavern called the Eagle and Child, known locally as the “Bird and Baby.”

Film Reviews

Martin Scorsese, Advocatus Angeli

Martin Scorsese’s central artistic concern is the city of New York, but the stories he chooses to depict are also linked by a common moral structure. He is powerfully drawn to opportunities to show how people maintain a belief in their own innocence. His protagonists are usually deeply flawed (to


The New Anti-Christ

The anti-Christs of the twentieth century sought to be worshipped instead of God. The anti-Christ of the twenty-first seeks to eradicate the capacity for worship altogether.


The Antithesis of Fatherhood

The mass shooting has become the signature horror of our time and place. Such events have become monstrously common, and yet we seem to understand them no better today than we did twenty years ago.