Stratford Caldecott, R.I.P.
Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:41 AM

I came to Stratford’s work too late, but better late than never. He was one of the few men since Russell Kirk who really knew what a liberal education was all about, and who could show what he saw to others.

There are a few people in the cold Gobi Desert of academe who hold to something like a liberal education because they see its political utility, and they are right to believe that a healthy civilization requires the remembrance of what the wisest among us have had to say about the human condition. They read Thucydides, Petrarch, and Marcus Aurelius for profit.

Stratford Caldecott transcends them all, because, unlike them, he was in love with beauty and goodness, and so he could read and teach others to read Cicero not so much to learn about wise political action, as to learn about being human—or as Kirk puts it, being virtuous, being a man. He would never say that we should read history lest we repeat it, but that we should immerse ourselves in the wonder of creation and of that human creation we call art, so that we might lean towards the divine, as flowers lean towards the sun. In this sense he stands with Plato, Sidney, Johnson, Coleridge, Ruskin, Eliot, Lewis, and Kirk; a worthy battalion, against all the dreary utilitarians who have transformed our schools into ghastly and largely incompetent training centers.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat super eum.

—Anthony Esolen

Touchstone published three of his essays. The first, Speaking the Truths Only the Imagination May Grasp, had been planned as lead essay in a new volume of classic Touchstone articles, Creed & Culture II. Caldecott was the author of many books; his last: Not As the World Gives.

NEW: The July / August Issue of Touchstone
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 2:06 PM

bigcover 27 04 227x300 NEW: The July / August Issue of TouchstoneYou can read the cover article online:

The Things Freely Given

The Bible, Sacred Theology & the Mind of Christ
by Patrick Henry Reardon

Having been asked to present some reflections on the theme, “What is the Bible?” it seems appropriate to begin this essay with a passage from Sacred Scripture.

Indeed, I want to begin these reflections by analyzing and comparing two passages from the New Testament, one from the second chapter of 1 Corinthians and another from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. Each of these chapters contains a contrast between the wisdom of fallen man and the wisdom God gives to those who believe in his Son.

Thus, 1 Corinthians 2 takes issue with those Christians at Corinth who boasted of their superior wisdom, which St. Paul was careful to distinguish from the wisdom of God revealed in the Cross. The apostle writes, “We speak the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery, which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Paul goes on to comment, “But the carnal man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

When we turn to Matthew 11, these carnal men, those who do “not receive the things of the Spirit of God,” are the citizens of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, who refused to believe the gospel. Jesus, immediately after pronouncing his “woes” against them, went on to identify their moral problem. His prayer, Matthew indicates, was an “answer” to the previous curse. Jesus prayed, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babies.”

Continue reading >>>

I would also like to encourage those of you who are fans of Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon’s writing on the bible to: 1. read his column “As It Is Written . . . “–found on the last page of each issue of Touchstone– 2.  subscribe to his Daily Devotional Guide, and 3. check out his Daily Reflections blog.

From the May/June 2014 Issue of Touchstone: The Gospel Truth Of Jesus
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 12:48 PM

ts mayjune 2014 cover1 227x300 From the May/June 2014 Issue of Touchstone: The Gospel Truth Of JesusWhat Happens to Apologetics If We Add “Legend” to the Trilemma “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord”?
by Tom Gilson

“He did not leave us that option: he did not intend to.” Thus C. S. Lewis closes out his famous “Trilemma” argument on the impossibility of Jesus being a great moral teacher and nothing more. The argument is beautiful in its simplicity: it calls for no deep familiarity with New Testament theology or history, only knowledge of the Gospels themselves, and some understanding of human nature. A man claiming to be God, says Lewis, could hardly be good unless he really was God. If Jesus was not the Lord, then (to borrow Josh McDowell’s alliterative version of the argument), he must have been a liar or a lunatic.

The questions have changed since Lewis wrote that, though, and it’s less common these days to hear Jesus honored as a great moral teacher by those who doubt his deity. Today’s skepticism runs deeper than that. The skeptics’ line now is that Jesus probably never claimed to be God at all, that the whole story of Jesus, or at least significant portions of it, is nothing more than legend.

Christian apologists have responded with arguments hinging on the correct dates for the composition of the Gospels, the identities of their authors, external corroborating evidence, and the like. All this has been enormously helpful, but one could wish for a more Lewis-like approach to that new l-word, legend—that is, for a way of recognizing the necessary truthfulness of the Gospels from their internal content alone.

Continue reading…

From the May/June 2014 Issue of Touchstone: Aslan Knows Best
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 2:16 PM

ts mayjune 2014 cover2 227x300 From the May/June 2014 Issue of Touchstone: Aslan Knows BestDan DeWitt on the Chronicles of Cancer in the Life of C. S. Lewis

“Well, at any rate, we now have less chance of dying of cancer,” quipped C. S. Lewis in response to learning of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, knowing that his own country was on the brink of joining the war. As a World War I veteran, he knew the ugliness of combat. And for a man seldom without a pipe or cigarette, he also understood the risks of cancer. His droll response to the Nazi campaign illustrates that his life was indelibly marked by both war and cancer. And it’s difficult to tell which had the greater impact.

read the rest…

Two more new articles from this issue at

Preview: The May/June 2014 Issue of Touchstone
Friday, March 28, 2014, 11:12 AM

The Rights of Aphrodite
Friday, March 21, 2014, 1:42 PM

ts MarApril2014 1 227x300 The Rights of AphroditeFrom the March/April 2014 issue of Touchstone.

The Rights of Aphrodite

W. E. Knickerbocker on C. S. Lewis & the New State Paganism

In the essay “We Have No ‘Right To Happiness,’” C. S. Lewis tells his readers of a conversation he had with a woman who was one of his neighbors. The subject of the discussion was two neighbor couples, Mr. and Mrs. A and Mr. and Mrs. B. Mr. A had divorced Mrs. A to marry Mrs. B, who had divorced Mr. B. Mrs. A’s looks were not what they once were, one cause of which was the number of children she had borne to Mr. A. Mr. B had been disabled in the war and was out of a job. The neighbor with whom Lewis was having the conversation justified these divorces and the remarriage by saying that Mr. A and Mrs. B “had a right to happiness.”

Lewis says the neighbor who justified this behavior was “rather leftist” in her politics and a teetotaler, who would certainly not approve of a ruthless businessman whose happiness consisted in making money or of an alcoholic who was happy when he was drunk. Rather, the happiness to which this neighbor said Mr. A and Mrs. B had a right was solely “sexual happiness.” The right to sexual happiness justified breaking vows solemnly made and legally validated.

Subscribe to Touchstone!
Friday, January 31, 2014, 9:41 AM

Dear Mere Comments readers, here’s an early look at the March/April 2014 issue of Touchstone. Subscribe today! Type in “TNP” in the special offer code box for five dollars off of a new subscription.

ts MarApril2014 1 Subscribe to Touchstone!

Touchstone is a journal which I highly esteem. Touchstone exemplifies, in my mind, true ecumenical conversation and cooperation, in furthering the mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our personal lives and in the world. I look forward to receiving each issue and usually find myself reading each issue in its entirety. Certainly, Touchstone has helped me to think more deeply about many aspects of the Christian faith and of its practice in a pervasively secularized society. It is my hope and prayer that Touchstone will continue its service, as we say in Latin, ‘ad multos annos,’ for many years. May God bless all who continue the noble and important work of Touchstone!

—Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal
of the Apostolic Signatura

I love everything about Touchstone—the writers, the topics they write about, the tone. As an adult convert to Christianity, I have a lot of ground to make up. Touchstone is an enormous help.

—Fred Barnes
Executive Editor, Weekly Standard

Touchstone is a voice that greatly needs to be heard in today’s Christian world. If this is what robust ecumenism means, we need more of it!”

—Kallistos Ware
Bishop of Diokleia

Touchstone serves the most significant form of ecumenical endeavor today: the rallying and coalescing of those in all the churches who stand for doctrinal, moral, and devotional orthodoxy. The fact that Touchstone exists to serve this purpose gives it great importance.”

—J. I. Packer
Author, Knowing God

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Some Christmas Articles from the Touchstone Archives
Friday, December 6, 2013, 11:37 AM

It’s now become a December favorite, from Touchstone‘s December 2003 issue, William Tighe’s Calculating Christmas.

Here are a few other December articles from our Archives for Advent/Christmas:

Grace & Truce
 On the Cutting Edge of God’s “Peace on Earth”
by David C. Brenner

The Recycled Goat
The Adventures of Gift-Giving in a Large Family
by Rebecca Sicree

Food, Noise, Fire!
 On the Bethlehem Baboon & Other Christmas Traditions
by Rebecca Sicree

A Card for Aunt Hilda
Christmas Letters & Vanishing Connections
by Gary A. Fritz

Looking for Wenceslaus
The Real Men Behind the Christmas Carol
by Michael H. Baum

Savior in a Manger
Early Christian Teaching on the Incarnation & Redemption
by Patrick Henry Reardon

Child Everlasting
by Anthony Esolen

Passing Customs
The Family History a Winter Festival Doesn’t Tell
by Joanna Bogle

God Rest Ye Merry
On Celebrating the Darker Meaning of Christmas
by Wilfred M. McClay

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus
by Nathan Schleter

A Mighty Child
by Anthony Esolen

Finally, while you’re thinking about Christmas and gifts, consider today a gift subscription to Touchstone or a subscription for yourself! Get such “Archives” in print! Have Blessed Advent!sub ts Some Christmas Articles from the Touchstone Archives

The 2014 St. James Calendar
Thursday, December 5, 2013, 9:46 AM

calendar christmas blast1 The 2014 St. James Calendar

calendar christmas blast2 The 2014 St. James Calendar

calendar christmas blast3 The 2014 St. James Calendar

FSJ Talk in Warrenville, Illinois. Thursday, November 14th, 2013.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 9:33 AM

If you live in the Chicago area, please join us for a special talk by James M. Kushiner, executive editor of Salvo magazine, to mark the publication of the 80-page Salvo supplement On Science & Faith. The talk, free of charge, will take place on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, 28W770 Warrenville Road, Warrenville, Illinois 60555. Phone: 630-221-0901.

If you would like to download the flyer for the event, it is available here at the (newly designed) FSJ website. Take a look.

Fellowship and refreshments will be provided!

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