“I want to give people hope, people living with mental illness as well as family members of people living with mental illness, that not only can they survive their illness, but they can also reach their greatest potential. Sometimes, in fact, they reach their greatest potential not despite the illness, but because of the illness.”
Pillar: The Human Person
The first pillar of a decent society is respect for the human person, which recognizes that all individual human beings have dignity simply because of the kind of being they are: animals whose rational faculties allow them to know, love, reason, and communicate. It also recognizes that human beings are persons, members of the human family who flourish in a community that respects their fundamental rights and who long to discover transcendent truths about the nature of reality.
For a conscience coddled by a culture of self-definition and consent, choice cloaked as grace will always look preferable. But hard, engraved truths such as fatherhood offer rescue from the hell of interminable deliberation—which, as Alasdair MacIntyre has argued, is the hallmark of modern moral theory.
“Post-revolutionary men and women are living in ways that are profoundly unnatural for the ineradicably social creatures that we are; and many are suffering as a result, at times without even knowing the name of what ails them. This preoccupation, and the desire to do something about it, continues to shape my work.”
I think PD is doing important work in addressing modern spiritual challenges: even just acknowledging such problems from an explicitly religious perspective can hopefully get us closer to mitigating them. Both Judaism and Christianity also engender a kind of humility, as we look to the past for wisdom and acknowledge our indebtedness to those who came before us.
There are likely vanishingly few individuals who apply the rigorous ethical criteria they use against the COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of their medical and personal decisions. Such inconsistent application of religious freedom principles in the COVID-19 vaccine debate threatens to significantly weaken desperately needed protections for Catholic medical practices.
Most Catholic priests in the United States perceive a conservative shift among younger priests. But progressive and conservative priests agree that the Catholic Church is not doing well, even if their reasons for saying so might be different.
People from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) cultures differ vastly in psychology from people from non-WEIRD cultures. Thanks to the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family, WEIRD psychology eventually gave rise to free markets, inalienable rights, and democracy.
If the New Atheists were able to convince people to leave, then we too might be able to convince some to come back. Ideas and writing can change lives. If the New Atheists did it, then we Christian writers can be a saving remnant and help write people back into the faith.
Texas’s refusal to choose between the mother and her prenatal child, despite some important questions about the method used to achieve their goals, constitutes a blueprint for the pro-life movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, many more vulnerable women across the country will be without the access to abortion our throwaway culture has diabolically forced them to rely on. Pro-lifers must follow Texas’s lead and be at the ready to assist these women. We must make good on our claims that their legal and social equality does not require redistributing oppression to another vulnerable population.
Jordan Peterson’s project is not, at root, about biblical interpretation, metaphysics, theology, or even free speech. It is therapy for people bereft of meaning and purpose. Peterson may not be a prophet, but he is something just as rare: a bloody good clinical psychologist grounded in Christian archetypes and values and focused on treating the existential despair in our society.
The most foundational evidence for the value of the human person is the child in the womb, whose life creates beauty and obligations, possessing all the hope of humanity. When life in the womb has an ambiguous civil, social, and legal status, how can the fabric of our civilization hold together? The unborn child is the most singular affirmation we possess that our existence is not pointless.
Church is not just a place to sing, listen, think, or emote. It is where God delivers Christ and his forgiveness through Word and Sacrament into the whole human person. Privatized, digital worship services subtly spurn physicality and community, unintentionally endorsing a mind–body dualism that runs counter to Christianity’s holistic view of the human person.
The great paradox of late-stage feminism is that it attempts to establish women on equal footing with men by robbing them of their life-giving nature. It’s time to reject this damaging and dangerous lie. Fertility is not a limitation. It is a gift.
The economics of the kingdom of God is gift. This is the difficulty with applying contemporary economics to the Church. None of us are consumers. We have received that which we did not deserve. We are not purchasing a darned thing. Salvation is bestowed in the Church as grace, as a gift, that is offered to all men and women.
After almost fifty years of abortion jurisprudence, the US Supreme Court has an opportunity to overrule the arbitrary viability standard, to expand states’ ability to regulate pre-viability abortions, and to narrow down Doe’s unconscionable definition of health. International and foreign law on abortion can provide legal support for such a ruling.
There may indeed be a case for distinguishing the “female voice” and the “male voice” in literature. But don’t let anyone sell you on the false essentialism of a necessary “identity” of a writer with his or her principal subject, whether it be an identity of sex, or race, or culture.
Religious freedom is not a get-out-of-jail-free card that lets us evade whatever laws we dislike. Nowhere does the Bible hint that we have the individual authority to examine all laws, determine which are good and which are not, and select, à la carte, which are binding and which are not.
Every human lives out the drama of existence in his or her way, and with great risk: they gain or lose heaven, embrace or reject love, bring a child into being or not, form friendships and romances or sink into loneliness, become sages or fools. If we forget or forgo the primacy of the person, choosing instead the story of power and chaos, it seems likely we’ll lose the cosmos of our own souls.
In some states, it’s almost impossible for pro-life governors to appoint originalist judges. That’s why we must pursue state-level judicial reforms before Dobbs is decided. To make the most of this opportunity, most of us need to turn our attention away from DC and toward our state capitols.
We are witnessing a kind of last battle, a feminist Armageddon that will determine whether feminism, as a movement centered upon the wellbeing of women and girls, will endure into the future or self-immolate. Only a return to realism can provide a stable definition of woman, the requisite ground for effective feminism.
In her new book, Erika Bachiochi presents a compelling vision of female equality and happiness that embraces a woman’s capacity for childbearing and encourages sexual virtue and strong marriages as an antidote to difficulties that abortion can never hope to solve.
The resolution on abortion that was passed at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville was well-intended but woefully flawed. It offers no exception for the life of the mother, and it opposes incrementalism. Those two items are serious shortcomings that would lead to the loss of more innocent lives, not fewer.
Even if abortion had nothing whatsoever to do with the development of COVID-19 vaccines, many pro-lifers would be just as vaccine-hesitant. Often, convincing our neighbor to take a vaccine requires rebutting objections that have nothing to do with abortion.
It is wrong to force religious individuals who are highly skilled medical and mental health professionals to violate their core religious convictions by compelling them to support and participate in terminating life, or in elective therapies that seek fundamentally to alter the human person, whether to achieve transgender ends or transhumanist ones.
“Medicine is a humanistic discipline that uses science to accomplish what all human beings would like to see for themselves, in their capacity to sustain themselves. Ultimately it is to aim for a person who could be what God intended him to be.”