• I was an Atheist until I Read Lord of the Rings

    I grew up in a loving, comfortable atheist household of professional scientists. My dad was a lapsed Catholic, and my mom was a lapsed Lutheran. From the time that I could think rationally on the subject, I did not believe in God. God was an imaginary being for which there was no proof. At best,... Read more
  • Aretha Franklin started with gospel, ended with soul at age 76

    Aretha Franklin, a singer who began her career with gospel music and was later crowned the “Queen of Soul,” died Thursday (Aug. 16) after battling a range of health issues. She was 76. Often simply called “Aretha,” Franklin got her start in the Detroit church of her pastor father,... Read more
  • Iraqi iconographer honors his Syriac roots

    [caption id="attachment_101982" align="alignnone" width="640"] Mothana Butres of Zahle, Lebanon, works on an icon in this undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy of Mothana Butres) See SHRINE-ICON-BUTRES June 19, 2018.[/caption] BEIRUT — When Islamic State fighters overran Qaraqosh, Iraq, in the... Read more
  • Why The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece

    The Wall Street Journal publishes a weekly article entitled “Masterpiece”, featuring iconic visual art, music, film, architecture, literature, and poetry, but I’ve yet to see J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in that space. Maybe because it’s a too-familiar storyline: a world... Read more
  • The Atheist Who Made the Doors of St. Peter’s Basilica

    It sounds like an urban legend—or more simply a tall tale back from the days of the ancient Saint Peter’s Basilica—but in fact, it’s true. And much more recent: The renowned Italian artist Manzù (who happened to be a Communist and an avowed atheist) was commissioned to do a set of... Read more
  • Going “further up and further in” to Narnia

    C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the most influential Christian authors of the 20th century, and his popularity has only grown in the decades since his death. A professor of literature at both Cambridge and Oxford, he was a prolific author of works of literary criticism, apologetics,... Read more
  • Light of Faith: Meet the Workshop of Artists Behind the Vatican’s Stained-Glass Windows

    Entering St. Peter’s Basilica is a journey in and of itself. The final destination, Bernini’s Altar, is illuminated by the Dove of the Holy Spirit stained-glass window. That famous window was made by a small, family-run workshop in Rome’s charming neighborhood of Trastevere. The... Read more
  • How the Vatican Became Enmeshed in the Met Gala

    The Pontifical Council for Culture chose to collaborate with an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York because of the Met’s significance to culture and potential global outreach, but officials were unaware of the widely criticized gala that took place on Monday... Read more
  • Belloc versus Tolkien: Two Views of Anglo-Saxon England

    [caption id="attachment_98456" align="aligncenter" width="682"] The Last Chapter[/caption] Picture the scene. An expectant audience, which includes the great Catholic writer, J. R. R. Tolkien, awaits the arrival of another great Catholic writer, Hilaire Belloc, the latter of whom has been invited... Read more
  • BREAKING: Sistine Chapel Choir to return to U.S. in July, including Detroit encore

    DETROIT — When the Sistine Chapel Choir’s angelic voices graced Detroit in September 2017, their performance was billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for the Motor City. Not so fast. The Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina, as Pope Francis’ personal chorus is... Read more