We are all faced with a choice. Is meaning a futile attempt to mask the banal absurdity pervading everything? Or could there be divine purpose embedded within human existence?
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.
Physician-assisted suicide pithily and precisely names the act of a doctor prescribing a lethal drug at his terminally ill patient’s request. However, its advocates reject this name and propose euphemisms in its place, such as “death with dignity” and “end of life option.” These amount to advertisements for the disputed practice and ought to be rejected as imprecise, inaccurate, and jargonistic.
American pro-abortion supporters, Western embassies and international human-rights bodies have taken part in the war against El Salvador’s full ban on elective abortion by supporting a fraudulent campaign that promotes impunity for infanticide in that country.
The story of Cerian Williams affirms the intrinsic value of the unborn, handicapped, dying, and all who do not fit the standards of a culture that insists on strength, not weakness, for admission to its elitist country club.
All ideological fads eventually fade and collapse into disrepute, because they have no foundation in truth. “Pro-choice” ideology had its rise, which was based on the crude, reductionist falsehood that a human being in the womb is an anonymous, generic “bunch of cells.” Now, its central lie has been unmasked, and Roe is ripe for reversal.
The unstated mythology of therapeutic “abortion care” is that pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted. But that’s not true. At least one in seven abortions in the U.S. are of children that the mother reports were wanted. I recently found that the risk of depression, suicidality or anxiety disorders from such abortions was almost four times higher than for women who had aborted a child in an unwanted pregnancy. Mine is the first empirical study ever to examine these more distressing, invisible abortions.
Active Christians exhibit greater current life satisfaction and are more likely to report that they are thriving. In addition, active Christians have higher levels of subjective well-being throughout the entire business cycle—not just in booms, but in the busts as well. Our results suggest that religion and religious communities will continue to play a driving role in helping people cope with change by keeping their eyes pointed towards the eternal even as storms surge around them.
Donor conception is an unethical practice that separates family members under the guise of charity. It’s okay to believe that the method of your conception was wrong and still give thanks for your life.
Contrary to activists’ claims, other animals lack the rational faculties characteristic of human beings. Rationality is not some particular power humans have, but rather their distinctive manner of having powers. To describe a human being as rational does not describe properties requisite to qualify for a certain species or species’ right; rather it characterizes human nature itself.
The Pediatric Endocrine Society recently issued a statement claiming that the effects of puberty-blocking medications on normal puberty are reversible. Has the FDA determined that there is scientific evidence to validate this claim? Have there been any rigorous long-term studies addressing this question? Is social transition truly harmless? Is it ethical to continue this experiment on children? The answer to all of those questions is no.
The measurement, analytic, and interpretive decision-making displayed in much (though certainly not all) of the LGBT discrimination and well-being literature is troubling, indicative of a lack of standards, poorly defined concepts, impressionistic conclusions derived from small numbers of interviews, the politicization of results, and the overall novelty of the field.
Although they often have the flavor of thought experiments, the arguments of integralists are nonetheless worth taking very seriously. Their reflections include spot-on diagnoses of many pathologies affecting our political community.
Every time we fail to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do, there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.
Despair is the unforgivable sin, for the despairing conclude that God will not or cannot act, that the universe is fundamentally unfriendly and inhospitable to the true, good, and beautiful, and that humanity has lost the imago Dei. To judge in this way is to deny the goodness of the world and its Creator and sustainer, and that is the sin of all sins.
Faith and family: for many of us, these are not only the most important parts of the Christmas season. They’re also the things that make life most worth living.
The team at Public Discourse doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but we do think we’re asking the right questions, and getting the right thinkers to propose some of the answers. That’s one thing that we hope will always be our hallmark: thoughtful, reasoned discourse, which is rigorous yet still accessible to the educated layman.
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.
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.
Once we recognize the insufficiency of liberal political theory, we should turn back to classical political philosophy, which offers us a deeper understanding of the American tradition and invaluable guidance in reforming our contemporary politics.
Conservative critics of “liberalism” are right to identify major flaws in liberal theory. But a deeper appreciation of those flaws should prevent us from blaming the American political tradition for them. Liberal theory is so erroneous that neither the Founders nor any other Americans could ever really put it into practice.
Pope Francis’s theology of the people gives us a new ecclesial lens and paradigm through which to understand earthly politics. And the clerical abuse scandal, like the Church’s loss of temporal power, may well do Catholics a service in the long run, freeing us up to a better, more “ground-up” conception of how societies and their economies work.
The life of the murdered Sicilian judge Rosario Livatino serves as a testimony of honesty, moral righteousness, and charity. He serves as an example to many people around the world, especially to those involved in law and politics.
How does one film the work of the conscience, hidden as it is? How does one capture the internal struggle to speak when confronted by the demand for conformity? Terrence Malick successfully recreates this struggle for us in his latest film, A Hidden Life; and while his story focuses primarily on the struggle of one historical individual, the experiences Malick captures on film deepen our understanding of and sympathy for the precarious condition we all share.
Without a proper understanding of human beings that is grounded in natural law, human rights will always fall short of the lofty goals set by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights is to help the U.S. protect human rights, it needs first to try to understand their nature.
Patient freedom would not survive a single-payer federally controlled health care system. The right to life would not survive a single-payer health care system. The right of religious freedom and faithfully Catholic health care would not survive such a federally controlled single-payer system.