The disordered soul of Frank Underwood

“Frank Underwood, masterfully played by the award-winning Kevin Spacey, embodies the corruption that so often attends to the pursuit of political power,” says Jordan Ballor in this week’s Acton Commentary, “and as the new season nears it’s worth looking back at where it all began for Francis and Claire Underwood.” In their review of the show’s first season, David Corbin and Alissa Wilkinson rightly observe that the example of Frank Underwood provides an important negative lesson about the need for faithful and faith-filled politicians. Continue Reading...

Pope Francis’s attack on ‘libertarian individualism’ not about libertarians

The following essay appeared Friday, May 5, 2017, at Crux. In a recent message by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Social Science he outlines some moral concerns about a phenomenon he sees as invading (his term) “high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools,” namely “libertarian individualism.” On the first day of my philosophy classes, the professor admonished us that if we want to have an intelligent discussion or debate, we must begin by defining our terms. Continue Reading...

The two-fold ministry of Jesus

“Jesus not only sought to bring a spiritual salvation,” says Abraham Kuyper in this week’s Acton Commentary, “but also countered human misery and did so up until the very end.” He fed the thousands and healed the sick; the blind could see, the mute could speak, and the dead were raised. Continue Reading...

More than compassion needed for Europe’s refugees

“Irrespective of the political forces at play,” says Trey Dimsdale in this week’s Acton Commentary, “there is no arguing with the fact that such a large number of displaced immigrants presents a monumental humanitarian crisis in which survival becomes the initial, but not final, concern.” Prior to 2014, fewer than 300,000 refugees and migrants arrived in the European Union each year. Continue Reading...

Commentary: The joy of spring

This week’s Acton Commentary is a meditation by the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), reflecting on the significance of spring for our natural and spiritual lives. “So that bread may come forth from the earth” takes its point of departure from the lines of Psalm 104: “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man: that he may bring forth bread out of the earth.” Pieces like this show another side of Kuyper than those that are often emphasized. Continue Reading...

Why it’s high time to bury Lenin

In an article published today at The American Spectator, Acton Senior Editor Rev. Ben Johnson comments on the solemn centenary of the Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s ascendancy to power. Continue Reading...

Is foreign aid a sacred cow?

Last week a group of 106 faith leaders have collaborated on a letter they have signed and sent to the Democrat and Republican leadership of both houses of Congress. In this week’s Acton Commentary, Victor V. Continue Reading...

5 ways the church can help the poor

“My community includes people who are both materially poor and ‘poor in spirit’,” says Zachary Ritvalsky in this week’s Acton Commentary. “However, what exactly does it mean to say that people are ‘poor in spirit’?” To be “poor in spirit” is not the same as being economically poor, yet both kinds of poverty matter, and the church must address both. Continue Reading...

Defending the bourgeois virtues

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “The middle class in an age of inequality,” I wonder who will defend the bourgeois virtues, if anyone will “speak out in praise of mediocrity, stability, and predictability.” Deirdre McCloskey has spent a great deal of time exploring and extolling the bourgeois virtues. Continue Reading...