Note: There’s an old saying that genius proceeds by the simplest ideas. The rest of us get distracted by everything else, so that we don’t touch the fundamental realities that make up – and change – the world. As Casey Chalk observes today, the truths we need to live well have been in circulation for a long time, both in parts foreign and here. Which reminds me of something I often like to remind readers: we appear in multiple foreign languages via partnerships with overseas publications. You can click on the languages in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage to see them. That global reach is part of our mission. Our writers are Americans – and one Canadian – but the material we produce is something we want to share as widely as possible. We need support for that part of the mission, as well as for matters closer to home. We’ve had two good first days for this mid-year fundraising. (I noticed in particular how many of you did the math I suggested yesterday for helping to supply what other readers cannot at this moment.) But we still need many more of you to act. If you read this site regularly, I’m sure you know why you should support it. It’s easy. There’s the button. Simple instructions. Multiple ways to give. What are you waiting for? – Robert Royal
The indictments of our modern age are many. We are intellectually exhausted, the willing victims of our own success, as Ross Douthat argues in his recent book, The Decadent Society. Our world is hyper-individualized and disdains traditional sources of morality, as Patrick Deneen observes in Why Liberalism Failed. And, much to social planners’ consternation, recent developments have aggravated, rather than ameliorated economic inequality, as Christopher Caldwell explains in The Age of Entitlement.
French novelist and essayist Georges Bernanos anticipated much of this in The Diary of a Country Priest, written a few years before the Nazis invaded France. Thankfully, Bernanos also offered solutions.
Diary is the story of a recently ordained priest assigned to a rural parish in France. He is pious and passionate, but also clumsy, naive, and socially awkward. He is also fortunate in having as a counselor the experienced and wise Curé de Torcy. …