Surprised by Christ

The small surprises and sacrifices of Christmas—the time, resources, and care our loved ones expend in order to place under glowing trees those bright bundles upon which our own names are written—recall the marvel of Christ’s entry into the world in order to sacrifice himself for those he calls by name. This is the unexpected gift that we ought to be surprised by, over and over, every Christmas—indeed, every morning.

The Incarnation and Our Everyday Lives: A Christmas Meditation

Christianity is so much more solid, and real, and human, than the “spiritual, but not religious” imitations of today. Christian faith touches every aspect of our lives—material, social, cultural. It does so because our God was born as a human baby in a stable and nurtured by a teenaged girl named Mary.

Comprehensive Sex Education Undermines Students’ Moral Development

Though its practitioners may be well-intentioned, comprehensive sex education does not offer a solution to sexual exploitation. On the contrary, it is part of the problem, since it fails to develop students’ capacity to differentiate between genuine love and sexual exploitation.

Canon Law Should Be Changed to Make Catholic Bishops Accountable

The Catholic Church in the United States has been rocked by revelations that multiple bishops actively covered up sexual abuse cases. The time has come to take responsibility away from Church tribunals and diocesan bishops, even if that means changing canon law to create mandatory compliance mechanisms like those developed and enforced by for-profit corporations.

Church and State in a Time of Scandal

Church, Religion, Catholic, Sunset

In the midst of a Church sex abuse scandal, many serious questions arise about the Church’s relationship to civil authorities. Any question of the state’s role or the freedom of the Church is obviously secondary to the moral urgency of ensuring that children are kept safe. Now is the time for the Church to contend deeply and thoroughly with its sins and to build structures consistent with the call to holiness.

Intentional Killing Is a Usurpation of God’s Lordship Over Life: A Reply to Edward Feser

Public Discourse is launching two new features: short book notes and long form essays. They’ll run occasionally, on Saturdays and Sundays. Today is our first longform essay. Enjoy.

Permission to own slaves and suppress false religions was taught by the Old Testament, never denounced by the New Testament, and accepted in word and deed for very long periods by popes, bishops, and saints. And yet the Church eventually repudiated such permission. So, too, with intentional killing in capital punishment. The fact that death is deserved and proportionate does not license the state or any human being to intend to impose it.

If the Dalai Lama Ran General Mills

Business leaders are turning to the modern mindfulness movement to make their employees happier and more productive. But what is mindfulness? And do its practices really work if they are motivated by the desire for profit?

Can There Be a Moderate Feminism?

A genuinely moderate feminism must begin with an acknowledgement of the goodness in human love, human community, and responsibility, not with a radical embrace of independence and self-created identities. It must acknowledge and respect some differences between the sexes and see them as part of human being.

Heroes and Villains: A Chanukah Meditation

In the popular imagination, both Jewish and Gentile, the story of Chanukah is the saga of outnumbered but plucky Jews battling the more numerous and nefarious Greeks and their alien culture. In truth, it’s about much more than that.

Scarlet A Lacks a High-Quality Abortion Debate

Public Discourse is launching two new features: short book notes and longform essays. They’ll run occasionally, on Saturdays and Sundays. Today is our first book note. In it, Charles K. Bellinger reviews Katie Watson’s Scarlet A, arguing that books about abortion often fail to address deeper and broader issues.

Facing the World Squarely: Understanding the “History of Now”

In The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, historian Michael Burleigh refuses to play favorites, calling on all conscientious citizens to demand the highest possible standards from their leaders. He does not always tell readers what they want to hear, only what they need to hear—and for that they should be very thankful.

Private Equity: How it Serves the Common Good

To serve the common good, private equity managers need the virtues of humility and magnanimity. If they exhibit these virtues, their companies will grow, increasing human capital and wealth.

Man Does Not Live By Economic Growth Alone

“Economic piety” has led to an overemphasis on consumption, writes Oren Cass in The Once and Future Worker. If we value family and community life, we need a labor policy that is explicitly intended to sustain them.

When Young People Aren’t Having Sex, Something’s Wrong

When something as natural and ordered as erotic love is no longer being pursued, there is something deeply wrong with our society. Kate Julian’s Atlantic article “Why are Young People Having So Little Sex?” presents incontrovertible evidence that the experiment of “free love” without consequences, based solely on pleasure, has failed.