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Universities and the Dangers of Docility

We need docile teachers and students, those unafraid of the fundamental questions and the highest things: those who want truth.
In science and philosophy, politics and society, the Enlightenment and the Faith could and did bring mutual intelligibility to each other, showing no intrinsic incompatibility—“faith cannot collide with enlightened reason,” a new book reminds us, for truth cannot contradict truth.
Far too many of us, even the most tender and gentle, have absorbed the hypothesis that a refusal of life is the condition of love.
Robert Royal makes the case that, despite a twentieth-century period of confusion and fragmentation, Christian humanism has been renewed and revitalized, so that today it is “as alive as it has ever been.”
Refusing to make exceptions to absolute moral norms is not unrealistic, imprudent, or inhumane. The purpose of norms is to promote human flourishing and protect what is good
The struggle against Catholicism in today’s culture is not particularly about religion. It is a revolt against reason and reality. Many have internalized such resentment that they are unable to see truth.
We can only define ourselves authentically in terms of, in Charles Taylor’s words, a “backdrop of things that matter”—a set of values that transcend our arbitrary choices. The second of a two-part series.
Our current jargon of “authenticity” is an affront to political friendship—it demands that others always capitulate to our claims, and makes not doing so tantamount to harm. The first of a two-part series.
A recent claim to reject the natural law for its uselessness and false claims to neutrality misunderstands the first-personal perspective of contemporary natural law. The second in a two-part series.
A recent claim to reject the natural law risks misunderstanding the role of reason and overlooks the difference between practical reasoning and morality. The first in a two-part series.
In their book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George draw our attention to the question that matters most in the marriage debate—what marriage is—and make a reasonable and compassionate argument for marriage as a one-man one-woman union.
Naïve proponents and skeptics of the natural law often point to the world “out there” as the source of objective truth (or lack thereof), but the truths of the natural law are to be found through the actions of our intellect.
It’s far too easy when bickering about this or that policy, and particularly when the policy is morally charged, to miss the values modeled by good men and women when we disagree on the means.
One can neither deny nor question the natural law’s persuasiveness except by asking questions, conducting inquiries, achieving understandings, reaching judgments, and making choices—all of which are the natural law at work.
Unless we ask the “what” and “why” in ethical debate, we aren’t doing ethics. Debating ethics requires intellectual conversion and thus a commitment to intelligible reality.
In order to stop our present decline, we must transcend our natural tendency to retreat into factions and instead begin to sacrifice for the common good.
To take offense does not free us from further argument or criticism. Instead, offense demands ongoing criticism between partners in ethical discourse as a recognition of their fundamental human equality.
We live in days of distraction.
On the dualism of degrading desire.
Newly defined and vigorously enforced rights have proliferated even as they are uprooted from any philosophic grounding.
Custom and tradition, far from being necessarily irrational, are often the vehicles of guiding and binding reason.
Civility is at the foundation of democratic society, but our educational institutions have lost their manners and the grace of gentility.
The fiftieth anniversary of oral contraceptives is a reminder of all the things the Pill lets us forget.
A recent First Things article on natural law misses the mark.