Category Archives: Subject areas

Is Morality Determined by Culture?

Many consider “cultural relativism” a new phenomenon. But people have long recognized that cultures differ in their moral beliefs and practices. It was not a modern anthropologist, but the Greek historian Herodotus who observed, “if one were to offer men to … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Relativism, Theology | 1 Comment

Moral Judgments – Facts or Opinions?

Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” (25) College … Continue reading

Posted in For Teachers, Secondary Education, Theology | Leave a comment

Macbeth’s Porter

I love directing Shakespeare’s plays. Since the words mean everything in a successful performance, I am always faced with the challenge of interpreting every speech, every difficult passage, every seemingly insignificant scene. I delight in discovering the dramatic impact of … Continue reading

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Are there answers for human life apart from science?

There are always students at the beginning of my Moral Theology course who wonder why the class matters. To them, “moral theology” is perhaps a pretentious way of getting immersed in a set of rules dictated by the Church. For … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Theology | 1 Comment

Figurative Language and the Poetic Art

Many years ago, I was doing research in the Catholic University of America library, and by chance discovered Shakespeare’s Use of the Arts of Language by Sister Miriam Joseph. At first, I was overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Education, Languages, Literature, Secondary Education, Subject areas, Trivium, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Classical education — “learning to read.”

In his Confessions, Augustine expresses gratitude for his classical education. Although he is highly critical of the pagan mythology that saturated his curriculum, he observes, “those primary lessons were better, assuredly, because more certain; seeing that by their agency I … Continue reading

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Feeding the Imagination of the Underprivileged

My work with Catholic schools has forced me to travel to an extent that I never imagined in my happily sedate teacher’s life.   I often compare today’s anonymous mode of travel, whether on land or through the air, with something … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Education, Elementary Education, For Teachers, Literature, Living It | 1 Comment

Chastity seen through the Greeks

I have meditated often over the past years on what chastity is really like.  In our sex-obsessed times, our image of chastity can hardly help but be distorted.  Yet forming a proper image of the person we want to become … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Reflections on the Books | 3 Comments

Catholic gratitude for CS Lewis

The 50th anniversary of the death of CS Lewis is a fitting opportunity to recollect what Lewis has meant to many, many Catholics.  Aleteia invited a number of its board of experts to comment on this. I think that Lewis … Continue reading

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The courage of Oedipus

Having just led a powerful seminar on Oedipus Rex, in which I was moved to the verge of tears by Oedipus himself, the following words about the pervasiveness of lying in our political and social lives spoke even more loudly … Continue reading

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