Natural and legal rights are not like individuals of the same species, but analogous ways of identifying what justice demands. Natural rights provide a standard by which legal rights are to be understood and corrected; but legal rights are the means by which natural rights are to be secured and realized in a polity.
Author: Christopher O. Tollefsen (Christopher Tollefsen)
Practical reasons are where the action is if one is to engage agents, the culture at large, and even popes, in moral discussion, debate, and deliberation. There is really no alternative in an ethics of virtue, acquired or infused.
Manufacturing children using the genetic material of multiple parents is not a prospect to be celebrated. It is a dystopian technology, making children, as if they were consumer goods, and unmaking the family, as if it were not essential to the common good.
What happens if a possible future vaccine for COVID-19 is developed unethically, by using contemporary tissue from aborted children? Could pro-life citizens morally use such a vaccine?
The use of fetal tissue from aborted human beings in medical research predicates the health of some on the deliberate destruction of the lives and health of others. That predication is incompatible with the fundamental commitments of medicine. In the face of this global crisis, we must hold to our ethical principles more firmly than ever.
It is a mark of responsible governance, not authoritarian overreach, for states to act when the demands of public health call for such measures. It is true that the presumption of freedom, religious liberty, and parental authority are all at risk in an increasingly regulatory, secular, and statist culture, but it is an error to see vaccination policy as an essential battleground for defense of these important rights.
Silence is not enough. The wounds of the Church cannot begin to heal until Pope Francis honestly responds to Archbishop Viganò’s allegations. He has a responsibility to do so.
The confessing state exceeds the limits of its authority, either by acting to no good effect, or by acting contrary to good effect. Thus, the confessing state seems inappropriate as a matter not simply of prudence, but of principle.
We can’t afford to live without physicians who are devoted to always healing and caring, and never harming. Requesting physician-assisted suicide, like legalizing it, erodes that devotion. A refusal to ask, even on the part of those not committed to the inviolability of human life, helps sustain that devotion.
Members of iGen suffer from serious intellectual and moral deficits: they are ill-informed, uninterested in pursuing relevant information, passionate without being active, afraid of debate with those who disagree, and uninterested in learning or exploration.
On some rights—such as the right to life—there is no room for compromise. But assault weapons seem an appropriate point of compromise for proponents of a right to bear arms.
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.
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.
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.
Both human embryos and human five-year-olds are human beings equal in fundamental worth and dignity. But there are differences between the embryos and five-year-olds that are or can be morally relevant to the decision concerning whom to rescue.
Our enslavement to technology leaves us alienated, depressed, and distracted, first of all by disrupting the cultivation of virtue in the home. Andy Crouch has written a thoughtful and practical guide for families looking to redirect their attention from technology to what really matters.
Kevin Vallier’s recent book is a rich and rewarding attempt to reconcile people of faith with public reason liberalism.
Contemporary legalism downplays, ignores, and occasionally denigrates the “rules” of morality in favor of mercy, accompaniment, and integration, because it fails to see that there is an essential and constitutive relationship between morality and human flourishing.
Showing mercy to Dylann Roof by refusing to impose the death penalty would respect the acts of both his victims, who showed him welcome, and their families, who showed him forgiveness. In this way, good could be drawn from evil, and the sinfulness of Dylann Roof’s actions could be overcome by love.
Joseph Boyle was a colleague, mentor, and friend to many associated with Public Discourse and in the broader academic community. He will be sorely missed.
Couples who adopt children out of an abundance of spousal love are creative and life-giving; they help form the identity of their children in a way that mirrors God’s adoption of us through baptism.
A new book defends the view that parents have primary authority over their children. The role of the state is to help parents, not to take over tasks that are properly parental.
Christopher Kaczor’s The Gospel of Happiness brings new insight to Christian practice by applying the lessons of positive psychology to it. His approach shows how both religious and secular seekers of happiness can learn and benefit from the other tradition.
Moral reasons exist for the use of contraceptives to defend against sexual assault, thanks to the principle of double effect—but these reasons do not apply to using contraception because of the Zika virus.
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.