If Western culture continues to be defined by the pitiful desire to go on living in as much physical comfort as possible, we will continue to be victimized and oppressed by the much more powerful appeal of radical Islam to die for God and eternal happiness.
In a world with no clear origin, no purposeful end, and no intrinsic meaning, human dignity is founded on nothing more than a self-creating will to power that is, in the last analysis, self-destructive.
The American Dream is in crisis because the American family is in crisis. We must commit to a national—not purely governmental—effort to promote strong families.
Some rights are grounded in the need for agents to fulfill their perceived responsibilities, including their obligation to pursue knowledge. This obligation, along with the communal nature of inquiry, supports a right to free speech that acquires particular stringency in those communities where inquiry is most essential.
Can freedom survive in a society in which most citizens believe that human beings, who are supposed to have inalienable rights, are merely material beings inhabiting a universe of purely material and efficient causality?
The authors of the New Testament never eliminated distinctions between Jews and Gentiles, but they did prophesy a world to come centered in Jerusalem.
Unless Europe is willing to affirm, defend, and promote its roots, it has no future beyond a dystopia of non-judgmentalism, managed decline, and increasing religiously inspired violence.
In debates over marriage and abortion, we should make arguments based on constitutional texts and judicial precedent. But would it be legitimate also for judges to consider overarching questions of justice and natural law?
To rehabilitate our public discourse, we each need to cultivate more self-awareness about the potential weaknesses and limitations of our own proposals.
Political discussions in the public realm have become increasingly shallow: something more akin to a children’s mud fight than the rational discourse America’s founders hoped would characterize the civic life of the American republic.
In her memoirs of teaching at Hunter College for nearly forty years, Alice von Hildebrand shows aspiring academics the importance of perseverance, courage, and love in the face of hostility toward one’s moral and religious views.
To properly understand due process, we must grasp the key distinctions between law and decrees and between law and morality. If judges are authoritative arbiters of the “logic of morals,” we have subjected ourselves to an unelected, life-tenured legal elite whose reach exceeds our grasp.
Church communities should strive to be safe spaces where those with same-sex attraction can take refuge, openly sharing their experiences. We must affirm their dignity as children of God and lovingly refuse to encourage any behavior that is contrary to their good.
Our treasured religious beliefs tell us time and time again to care for the poor and the destitute and to love the strangers among us. We know that domestic workers and underprivileged laborers deserve our care and attention, but in our celebrity-suffused culture, we often forget this truth.
Which Justice Sotomayor will show up in the next landmark family-law case: the Sotomayor who affirms the “precious” rights and duties of biological parents? Or the Sotomayor who insists on full "marriage equality"?
History clearly demonstrates that the legislative branch can legitimately act to counter the rulings of the judicial branch. This is as true for marriage as it was for slavery.
God has not left behind Israel and its land—he has expanded them.
Oregon’s implementation of its new contraceptive metric is an alarming sign that nationwide governmental monitoring of America’s low-income women’s reproduction is on its way—along with flagrant disregard for women’s privacy and religious freedom.
On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis announced an update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making a prohibition on the death penalty official Catholic teaching. Prior to this change, many scholars believed that the historic teaching of the Church did not declare capital punishment intrinsically immoral, even if the practice is, as a matter of prudence, not required in countries with modern prison systems that can safely isolate dangerous criminals. Other scholars argued that the natural law duty to respect all human life does in fact render any intentional taking of human life morally unacceptable, and that this development of doctrine does not contradict any infallible teaching. The articles below lay out this debate, with clear summaries of the arguments on both sides.
Intentional killing is always wrong, and support of capital punishment often stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of human dignity.
If one accepts the legitimacy of punishment and the principle of proportionality, then it is impossible to claim that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong.
Nothing that a man does can change his nature as man, and so, considered in himself, it will always remain wrong to kill him. This should be the final judgment of practical reason when brought to bear on the question of capital punishment.
While not explicitly denying the principle of proportionality, Tollefsen implicitly rejects it, leaving his argument not only counterintuitive but incoherent.
The presumptive starting point in the natural law and, more specifically, Christian tradition is one of absolute opposition to intentional killing of beings created in the image of God, for which exceptions must be earned; but the traditional justifications for such exceptions fail.
Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette’s new book asserts that Catholics cannot legitimately reject the death penalty as wrong always and everywhere. They are wrong. Part one of a two-part essay.
Four conditions must be met for a teaching of the Catholic Church to be considered infallible. Acceptance of the death penalty meets none of them. St. John Paul II laid down theoretical markers that provide a clear basis for a Catholic teaching rejecting the death penalty in principle. Part two of a two-part essay.
Arguments against the death penalty can be made not only on the basis of theology but also on the basis of natural law philosophy. The first in a two-part series.
There is a genuine tension, not just in Aquinas but in Church teaching more generally, between claims about the intrinsic goodness, sanctity, and inviolability of human life, and claims about political authority to kill. The second in a two-part series.
E. Christian Brugger is wrong: neither scripture nor tradition could justify a reversal of the Church’s millennia-old teaching on capital punishment
If E. Christian Brugger is right, then the Church has been teaching grave moral error and badly misunderstanding scripture for two millennia. Nothing less than her very credibility is at stake.
Aquinas taught the principle that a punishment ought to be proportionate to the offense, where death is a proportionate punishment for the gravest crimes.
It’s three times more likely that you’ll die of lightning than that Aquinas will turn out to be wrong about something. The same cannot be said of New Natural Law philosophy.
Reason operating without error judges that no human being should ever intend the death of another human being for any reason whatsoever. No achievable good can justify such a choice. And that is the foundation for the case against the death penalty.