Subscriptions to the magazine can be purchased here for sixty dollars. We are trying to arrive at our final subscription list for issue one, so if you would like to receive it, please do subscribe by Saturday, January 18. If you can think of anyone in religious life who might enjoy a free copy or you have any questions about subscriptions, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also pleased to announce that the cover illustration for the first issue has been drawn by Eric Hanson, whose work will be known to some of our readers from the the New York Times, the Baffler, and (our favorite) the NYRB Classics editions of Kingsley Amis.
Now the polls: About forty percent of our readers live under an hour from their nearest family members. Another twenty percent live one or two hours away, while fifteen percent live within three to five hours; the remaining quarter live a full day away.
Some of the greatest living artists, in the view of our readership, are Kanye West, Cormac McCarthy, Clive Pollard, Arvo Part, Terrence Malick, Dana Gioia, Stephen Sondheim, David Middleton, Rhina Espaillat, William Baer, Mari Kodama, Chilly Gonzales, Leon Bridges, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Deakins, Daniel Mitsui, Ron Hansen, Helena Bonham Carter, Cody Swanson, Duncan Stroik, Zach Condon, Christopher Nolan, Itzhak Perlman, John Moreland, Sufjan Stevens, Chris Thile, Caroline Shaw, Titus Kaphar, Josh Groban, YoYo Ma, Denis Villeneuve, Tomie DePaola, Shinichiro Watanabe, Paul Thomas Anderson, Ennio Morricone, Ron Rash, Brad Mehldau, Mel Brooks, Sir Tom Stoppard, John le Carré, Spencer Hall, Jacob Collins, Alice Munro, Jason Isbell, Eugene Vodolazkin, Peter Handke, Manfred Honeck, Yuja Wang, Mark Kozelek, Werner Herzog, Colson Whitehead, Greta Gerwig, and Adele. (Our editor believes without hesitation that the greatest living artists are the conductress Simone Young, the novelist and biographer A.N. Wilson, Loretta Lynn, and Barry Sanders.)
Our readers’ hobbies include reading, gardening, knitting, baking, the opera, weightlifting, fishing, brewing beer, skiing, shooting, beekeeping, playing the guitar, walking, running, playing the piano, watching pro wrestling, riding a bicycle, crochet, woodworking, playing Warhammer, sewing, embroidery, painting, drinking tea, making rosaries, making furniture, tennis, video games, golf, calligraphy, chess, photography, surfing, cooking, coin-collecting, singing, home improvement, raising livestock, model railroading, jiu-jitsu, making cocktails, playing the trombone, and salsa dancing. (Upon receiving these results we attempted to learn what “Warhammer” is and found a page for a game called Warhammer 40,000. Is there also a Warhammer 39,999?)
This week’s poll can be found here.
• Eighty-five new researchers are being granted full access to the Vatican Apostolic Archive materials from 1939 to 1958.
• An estimated one thousand Nigerian Christians were killed for their faith in 2019 alone.
• Netflix’s budget for original content in 2020 is expected to surpass seventeen billion dollars.
• One million sea birds were killed by a warm blob of water in the Pacific Ocean in 2015 and 2016.
• About fifty-seven thousand people have been evacuated from the area surrounding a dangerous volcano in the Philippines.
• Dan Marino recently argued that if he had been playing in today’s National Football League he could have thrown for six thousand yards and sixty touchdowns. Our editor is inclined to agree.
• Women who are repulsed by the thought of insects are less attracted to bearded men. (Such a line of inquiry might not pass muster on the Law School Admissions Test, but we cannot help asking ourselves what conclusions men with beards ought to draw from this data.)
• Brazil’s Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s attempt to ban a blasphemous film; lawyers representing the film’s producers have compared the previous ruling to “a terrorist attack.”
• An unsuccessful attempt was made by police officers to prevent players on the Louisiana State University football team from smoking cigars following their victory in this week’s national championship game.
• A man recently attempted to desecrate the altar of a church in Brooklyn.
• A group of senescent heretics in the Archdiocese of Portland recently interrupted Mass in order to “protest” their pastor’s insistence upon referring to the first person of the Blessed Trinity as “He” and “Lord” and his refusal to wear a rainbow-colored chasuble. “We have been wanting real dialogue,” one parishioner sayid, adding that in her opinion “we are being abused.” Someone certainly is.
• The decline of women’s religious life continues apace in Italy. We have no words for the unspeakable sadness of this state of affairs. “Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer?”
Lines (prose and verse) on death, martyrdom, the love of peace, snow, and unicorns:
I too must go into the dreadful hollow,
Where all our human laughter stops—and hark!
The tiny stuffless voices of the dark
Have called me
Wherever church was founded, or soil was consecrated for the long resting-place of those who had died in the faith; wherever the sweet bells of convent or of monastery were heard in the evening air, charming the unquiet world to rest and remembrance of God, there rested the memory of some apostle who had laid the first stone, there was the sepulchre of some martyr whose relics reposed beneath the altar, of some confessor who had suffered there for his Master’s sake, of some holy ascetic who in silent self-chosen austerity had woven a ladder there of prayer and penance, on which the angels were believed to have ascended and descended. It is not a phenomenon of an age or of a century; it is characteristic of the history of Christianity.
— J.A. Fʀᴏᴜᴅᴇ
My Soul, there is a country
Afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skillful in the wars;
There, above noise and danger
Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend
And (O my Soul awake!)
Did in pure love descend,
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flow’r of peace,
The rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges,
For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.
Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
For their far off flying
From summer dying.
Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples’ dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat-fields are sodden stubble,
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.
— C. Rᴏssᴇᴛᴛɪ
Great account and much profit is made of Unicorns horn, at least of that which beareth the name thereof; wherein notwithstanding, many I perceive suspect an Imposture, and some conceive there is no such Animal extant. Herein therefore to draw up our determinations; beside the several places of Scripture mentioning this Animal (which some may well contend to be only meant of the Rhinoceros)1 we are so far from denying there is any Unicorn at all, that we affirm there are many kinds thereof.
We ask readers to pray for the people of Iraq, Iran, Australia, and Puerto Rico; for a revival of women’s religious life; for the archbishop of Portland; for the repose of the soul of the grandfather of one of our readers; and for the intentions of the Holy Father.
— W.B., M.W.