Growing up in the culture of sociology taught me—and others of my generation—to engage in a set of behaviors to ensure that we would “always be wanted.” Although the term “wantedness” was a quality originally assigned to births, the concept began to touch all aspects of children’s lives, teaching us to engage in a dangerous—sometimes deadly—dance of perfectionism.
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.
The Hippocratic Oath rightly prohibits doctors from giving deadly drugs, even if autonomous patients ask for them. By assisting in the suicide of a terminally ill patient who wants to determine the manner of his death, the physician inappropriately medicalizes mortality itself. He also jeopardizes the welfare of other vulnerable patients.
As a transgender woman, the most loving and compassionate help offered to me came from people who pointed me toward Jesus. Affirming false cross-gender identities is not love; helping someone reclaiming their true identity in Christ is.
Given the risks of assisted reproductive technologies and gene-editing technologies for both individuals and society as a whole, a hands-off, libertarian approach to these issues is ethically irresponsible. Because these technologies imply a radical transformation in our understanding of the meaning of parenthood and our approach to the next generation, we must ask ourselves what sort of world these technologies are creating, and whether it is the sort of world that we want for our children and grandchildren.
In the 130 years since John Henry Newman’s death, few concepts have been more misunderstood and distorted than “conscience.” The danger is greater today than when the great saint wrote. The distorted view of conscience that Newman described as oriented to self and not to God has penetrated Western culture and religion. For many, the obligation to follow one’s conscience has been embraced, but fidelity to truth has been set aside. This untethered and counterfeit “freedom of conscience” has led to a widespread subjectivism that Newman saw emerging within modern European society, even in his own day.
No one has the right to a child, and the bodies of women and children should never be treated as commodities.
In the Halloween death match between Bigfoot and zombie, the mask we choose may reveal our national mood.
We have more material comforts than kings and merchant princes of old, and technological progress has wrought what would once be considered miracles. Yet our culture makes every effort to promote dissatisfaction, for there is money to be made when people are unhappy or bored with what they have. In an age of miracles, our phones are becoming misery machines.
A consistent life ethic (CLE) should consider the totality of an act: not simply the consequences, but also the intention, the object chosen, and the circumstances of the act. Charles Camosy deserves our respect for boldly declaring the case for CLE, but the devil remains in the details. Without agreement on those details, the consistent life ethic remains as unpredictable and random as Calvinball.
I initially tried to explain forgiveness in terms of the psychological benefits to oneself, or even in terms of social harmony. But narratives of forgiveness as an outpouring of love correspond more to a different explanation of forgiveness: the desires of a heart that wants to expand. This is not a sentimental love; it is a love that seeks charity in truth, in justice, and in regarding our neighbor who has harmed us as a person deserving of the same merciful love that we ourselves have already been shown.
For all its insight into the link between identity politics and the sexual revolution, Mary Eberstadt’s recent book should be supplemented with the insights from her earlier work on secularism. As the history of philosophy indicates, identity loss is bound up with secularization, which gives the self the impossible task of constructing meaning from scratch. The only sure basis for personal identity is the will of God for me as his creature.
Critics of Joker have missed the central message of the story: the descent into madness begins with the breakdown of the family and fatherhood.
It’s a good thing, a vital thing, to consider what we’re willing to die for. What do we love more than life? To even ask that question is an act of rebellion against a loveless age. And to answer it with conviction is to become a revolutionary; the kind of loving revolutionary who will survive and resist—and someday redeem a late modern West that can no longer imagine anything worth dying for, and thus, in the long run, anything worth living for. This essay is adapted from a lecture delivered on October 11, 2019, for the Constitutional Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame.
Newman is a model of stability amid hostilities that arise from without. But he is also a model for spiritual resistance to the suspicion and distrust that arise within one’s own ranks.
The supporters of physician-assisted suicide are indefatigable in their quest to legalize the practice in the United States, and they are co-opting the conception of freedom, as understood by the prevailing political thought during the American founding, to support their cause.
Rather than a marketplace of influencers, perhaps what we truly desire—what we need—is to live in the company of men and women who have actually tasted and seen and can testify. These men and women, witnesses all, direct us neither to themselves, nor to their products, but to something that exists independently of both. That’s the mission of the Thomistic Institute.
In Human Embryos, Human Beings, A Scientific and Philosophical Approach philosopher Samuel Condic and Neurobiologist Maureen Condic advance a careful and detailed case for the proposition that a human being comes to be at fertilization, and refute the main arguments to the contrary. Along the way they clarify the concepts of substance, substantial form, soul, organism, and final and formal causality.
“Old natural law theory” begins with the natural end of our sexual faculties and derives ethical principles from there. But this approach has to rely implicitly on prior value judgments in order to distinguish between biological facts that are axiologically or morally relevant and those that are not. The second in a two-part series.
“New” natural law theorists and “old” natural law theorists both see human flourishing as the proper end of all ethics, including sexual ethics. Yet they disagree about how human nature informs practical reasoning. This first in a two-part series.
One of the unfortunate poisons that feminism leached into the culture is hostility between the sexes. We need to rescue feminism from that. We need to stress the importance of raising boys and girls who are open-hearted, respectful, and comfortable with themselves and each other. Adapted from an interview with Mona Charen conducted by Ana Samuel during The CanaVox state leaders meeting.
A new study purports to prove the harms of “conversion therapy” for those who identify as transgender. But there are at least four good reasons for being leery of the results appearing therein.
To capitulate on pronouns is not an act of charity. It is rather the total surrender of the world, in a word.
“This Land Is Our Land” challenges the immigration status quo and presents conservatives and liberals alike with the opportunity to examine an immigrant’s take on the number one issue dividing our nation.
The rise in numbers of people with no religious affiliation reflects the emergence of a new faith rather than a loss of faith altogether. As America’s religious norm changes from Christianity to therapeutic deism and spiritualized progressivism, we will find more people challenging longstanding protections of human dignity and religious liberty.
Johnny Tremain is a liminal secular-religious book. It challenges its secular readers to have a deep enough conception of the secular to encompass dying for the sake of freedom. It challenges its religious readers to deepen their pieties sufficiently to encompass the aspiration for freedom which is written in the human frame. It shows that the constitution of liberty is engraved in the human form itself.