Pillar: The Human Person

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.

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When Reason Does Not Suffice: Why Our Culture Still Accepts Abortion

The pro-life movement is really asking for a moral revolution. If the child lives, the mother’s life will not be the same, because if we accept the principles that allow the child to live, none of our lives can be the same. There is no way to guarantee a world safe for the unborn child that is also a world of total sexual and economic autonomy. In any world in which autonomy is the highest ideal, the child—that incarnate sign of our dependence and existential poverty—must go.

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Striving for Digital Minimalism: Why We Need a Human-Centric Approach to Technology

Technology promises to solve our problems, but it also creates new ones. That’s because we have failed to apply human-centric approaches to technology. We think in terms of productivity instead of human flourishing; connectivity instead of community. As a result, our tech use leaves us worse off than we were before—less free, less rested, less peaceful.

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We Were Parents

When my wife and I mourned the miscarriage of our child, we were not mourning the loss of “potential life.” Hope for a potential life is what we had when we dreamed and prayed for pregnancy; hope for the potential of an existing life is what we had during the pregnancy. When our pregnancy ended, we mourned the loss of a life, of an irreplaceable human person whose particular genetic composition will never be repeated.

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Catholic Thought and the Challenges of Our Time

The early Church saw challenges to truths about God, the Reformation-era Church saw challenges to truths about the Church herself, and today’s Church is confronted by challenges to truths about man—the being made in the image and likeness of God whom the Church is tasked with protecting. This essay is based on Ryan T. Anderson’s inaugural lecture as the St. John Paul II Teaching Fellow at The University of Dallas.

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Outrage Mobs Might Be More Forgiving If They Believed in Hell

Without a Christian framework, but with a strong sense of sin, seemingly minor wrongs and slights are seen as representative expressions of the injustices of society as a whole. But there is no one to grant absolution to the repentant, or to redeem the world from its fallen state. Each wrong is indelible, and so there is only sin and punishment. Forgiveness becomes impossible when every discrete wrong is bundled into a secularized version of original sin.

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Elizabeth Anscombe’s Philosophy of the Human Person

Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical investigation of man’s spiritual nature offers a much-needed antidote to the materialism of our times. For Anscombe, to search for the spiritual is not to look somewhere obscure, but to look at the everyday facts of human life, institutions, and history.

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Lay Review With Teeth: What (Didn’t) Happen at the Vatican’s Sexual Abuse Summit

The Vatican’s recent Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church failed to produce any new reforms. Cardinal Cupich’s proposal would leave decision-making power in the hands of those authorities that Church members trust least: the bishops and the Vatican hierarchy. Instead, the Church needs to take investigatory and disciplinary processes out of the hands of local bishops and assign them to a national panel with lay members.

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Courteous but Cowardly: Today’s Tolerant Atheism

For many college students today, to say that man is made for the knowledge (and perhaps even love) of God suggests that those who do not acknowledge God are somehow inadequate, incompetent, or ignorant. For them, such a claim amounts to condescension. This generation distances itself both from the vitriol and virulence of “the new atheists” and the naivete and fundamentalism of religionists in the pursuit of otherwise serene and humane existence.

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It Is Never Necessary to Intentionally Kill a Fetal Human Being to Save a Woman’s Life: In Support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act provides a scientifically sound, medically accurate, and respectful approach to ensure that the innocent human being who survives an attempted abortion will be treated with the same human dignity and respect that similarly aged human beings receive in the course of good neonatal medical care. It also ensures that human beings with disabilities are not targeted for intentional killing at the moment of birth.

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The Conservative Disadvantage

If the status quo is the end game for conservatives, then there can never be hope for a long-term political victory, only momentary setbacks to the progressive agenda. The victories of social progressivism have less to do with the ideology of the founding than the moral failure of men and women in every generation to stop evil from progressing.

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Hilaire Belloc and the Heresy of Our Times

To defeat the Modern Heresy, we must promote truth in the face of relativism, structures of justice and mercy in the face of those of power, traditional familial love in the face of “the modern family,” and the redemption of sinful lives in the face of a tolerant culture that seeks to do away with sin altogether.

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On Integralism, Religious Liberty, and the Authority of the Church: 19th Century Popes and 20th Century Popes Disagreed

How should Catholics understand the contradiction between the nineteenth-century papal teachings on integralism and the twentieth-century teaching of the Second Vatican Council? We follow the solution of John Paul II and Benedict XVI: we take both sets of teachings at face value, admit that they contradict each other, and explain that the earlier teachings were merely doctrina catholica, which are not absolutely binding and are thus subject to future change.

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Guiding Christians Through Islam

David Pinault’s new book provides a readable and scholarly comparison of Islam and Christianity. It is the fundamental question raised by Jesus himself (“But who do you say that I am?”) that divides Muslims and Christians. This candid book shows how we might improve interfaith dialogue by not shying away from difficult issues.