The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

A blog on Scripture and preaching from John W. Martens, America's Word columnist, and the Rev. Terrance W. Klein, the author of Vanity Faith.

June 2016

  • You can’t walk out on love. You can walk away, but a love that is real will follow. It will stay with you, because it has become a part of you. Goethe puts it in the plainest possible German, in his little poem “ Heidenröslein .”

    Sah ein Knab’ ein Röslein stehn, Röslein auf der Heiden, War so jung und...
  • My father did not challenge fate. He certainly didn’t scheme about getting ahead in the world. He was an intelligent man, who had boyhood dreams of becoming a physician. The owner of the movie theater, for whom he worked, had pledged to send him to college. But promises are only promises. They don’t necessarily come to pass, especially in years of great depression and world war. As a boy—and that’s, by far, the best word for it—I thought that my father should have been more adventurous,...

  • We tend to think of seeing as an entirely passive operation. One can hear it in the phrases that we use. “What you see is what you get.” “Open your eyes and look.” “It’s as plain as day.” But neither our ancient nor our medieval forebears thought of seeing as such a passive activity. They believed that sight was an active process; that it had as much to do with the person seeing, as the object seen.

    They were mistaken about the physical operation of the eyes, which are passive...

  • Most of us, most of the time, don’t fret about the foundations of empirical science. We’re grateful that it works and rather naively believe that science can answer any question. If not today, then soon enough. That confidence conceals a mistake, made by many. Science is a method, not an acting agent. Science doesn’t work, and science doesn’t answer questions. People do, using science.

    It’s helpful, however, to note how our contemporaries insert the term “science” where once they...