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Letter from the Editors - September 2017

posted Sep 27, 2017, 6:08 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review
Dear Reader,
 
Thank you for picking up a copy of the Fenwick Review.
 
The Fenwick Review was founded in 1989 as the brainchild of Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court justice, and now a Roman Catholic priest.  Intellectual conservatism and orthodox Catholicism are the two intellectual strands which have guided this magazine from its beginnings.  Of course, we have not always united those elements in equal balance; individual writers and editors have their own commitments.  Our task is to provide them a forum.
 
But it is more than that.  There is a powerful link between these two strands of thought; they did not unite out of mere convenience. Indeed, the Christian and conservative coalition has been a defining feature of the American political landscape for the past five decades. The synthesis of Catholic and conservative, personified in William F. Buckley, decisively shaped to Republican party in the modern era. Whatever one thinks of the current state of the Republican party the intellectual affinity of conservatism and religious orthodoxy is striking.
 
At this point, the crisis of the Christian-Republican alliance is widely recognized.  Reactions to the recent executive action regarding DACA are indicative: the U.S. Catholic Bishops conference, led by some of its most conservative members, decried the decision, as did the Pope; the outlets of the intellectual right, including Buckley’s National Review, have by and large cheered the president on.
 
So why on earth does the intellectual heritage of a small campus publication mean anything?  The answer is simple: the intellectual sources we draw from are often at odds with one another.  Throughout this year, as a result, even our contributors will sharply disagree with each other.  In the end, however, this magazine is held together by a single insight: that, regardless of the politics of the moment, these two strands of thought remain a coherent pair, with much to say to one another.
 
We have our intellectual commitments, ones which shape both this publication and the thinking of its writers; we are drawn together by ideas that are more similar than they are different.  But these are not exclusionary principles: we won’t be banishing libertarian politics because they aren’t orthodox Catholicism, nor we will expunge Catholic theology because it is insufficiently political.  There are limits, of course, but the principle is clear: the belief systems we draw on will not be turned against each other.
 
With all that said, we set this issue before you.  We hope you find it thought-provoking, interesting, perhaps even insightful.  Enjoy the reading.
 
Claude Hanley ‘18
Bill Christ ‘18
Editors in Chief
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