“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.”
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.
If we have a calling in life, it is because someone has called us. God calls each of us by name to a specific path of holiness and service to others. Important as professional success may be, the only success of ultimate importance is holiness. The only real tragedy in life is not to have been a saint.
If stopping gestation no longer inevitably entails the death of a fetus, then the entire landscape of abortion rights and jurisprudence has fundamentally changed.
The greatest enemy of our freedom, which we all must confront, whether we live under a totalitarian regime or in a free society, is our deep-seated tendency to create and cling to a simplistic, false notion of our identity.
Neither Michael Pakaluk’s criticisms of a statement by pro-life scholars on COVID-19 vaccines nor his positive arguments against those vaccines hit their mark. The purchase and use of HEK293 and similar cell-lines are not intrinsically impermissible. Well-formed people of good faith may be moved by the very strong reasons that exist to take the vaccine to do so.
Scholars who advocate receiving the vaccinations for COVID-19 should not minimize or brush aside concerns that those vaccines were produced with the help of abortion. Facing the problem more fully should not rule out vaccination, but it will help us better understand the depths of our entanglement in this late-modern culture of death.
No magic pill or incantation solves the mystery of death, but a new handbook shows mortals how to use medical resources and cultural practices to die better. It emphasizes our interdependence, cautioning readers to avoid therapeutic obstinacy, to recognize the moral dimensions of dying, to grieve, and—in so doing—to grow.
Easter reflections are supposed to be lighthearted and joyful. But I’m gravely concerned by the unkindness in the name of kindness so evident in our cultural moment. Our society appears determined to return to the mastery and enslavement of Egypt. We have become forgetful of human limits, do not stand in awe of God’s acts, and so we have become cruel. Jewish and Christian holy days remind us of the need for mercy if society is to overcome its hatreds.
Christianity and Judaism have survived, and now thrive, not by erasing the problematic aspects of their past, but by openly acknowledging them—by building them into their rituals and incorporating them into the very fabric of their faith.
The following began as an email exchange, initiated by Richard Stith’s message to the authors of recent Public Discourse articles—particularly this statement by Catholic scholars—arguing for the moral permissibility of receiving the COVID vaccines. Melissa Moschella responded to the message, and an insightful dialogue ensued, which we believe would be of interest to many readers. Here is a revised version of the exchange.
To live a good life, our intellect, will, and passions must be aligned with one another and with the nature of God. We must know what good we pursue, how we pursue that good, and what—or Whom—we love.
The Equality Act goes far beyond the noble desire to protect vulnerable people. It burdens consciences, severely curtails the rights of people to practice their faith, smuggles in an abortion mandate, and explicitly exempts itself from respecting religious freedom.
The Ethics and Public Policy Center has organized the following statement from leading pro-life Catholic scholars, including EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson, EPPC board member and Princeton professor Robert P. George, and EPPC Fellow and Notre Dame professor O. Carter Snead, along with two professors at pontifical universities in Rome and other U.S.-based scholars, to explain why it is morally acceptable for pro-life citizens to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available.
Natural and legal rights are not like individuals of the same species, but analogous ways of identifying what justice demands. Natural rights provide a standard by which legal rights are to be understood and corrected; but legal rights are the means by which natural rights are to be secured and realized in a polity.
Wokeness meets a religious need by mimicking a Protestantism that our society has largely left behind. Although it highlights important truths, Wokeness needs to retrieve the orthodox teaching on the universality of original sin, the Christian understanding of salvation through the divine Scapegoat, and the centrality of the Church in its social imagination.
A new book by Christopher Kaczor is an accessible resource for those who want to understand current debates in the field of medical ethics.
The lastingness of each person’s reality as male or female is so integral to the faith’s architecture, that to deny it—even to equivocate about it—is to undermine Catholic faith itself. No Catholic institution should risk that effect.
Practical reasons are where the action is if one is to engage agents, the culture at large, and even popes, in moral discussion, debate, and deliberation. There is really no alternative in an ethics of virtue, acquired or infused.
Some people don’t consider adoptive parents to be the “real” parents. While it is undeniable that biological parents give their children their genetic composition, the parents who raise them leave an enormous mark on children’s character and spiritual makeup. Over many years, adoptive parents influence their children’s education, the habits they develop, the affections they form, and their beliefs and values. In this way, adoptive parents become indispensable to the identity of the child.
The hidden life of Franz Jägerstätter offers us an example of how to love our fellow citizens in a time of partisan antagonism and division.
As a recent British court decision correctly affirmed, the puberty blocking treatments being given to gender-dysphoric young people constitute experimental medicine. There is neither demonstrated efficacy nor evidence on long-term outcomes, and the risk of serious harm and irreversible damage is real. The same standards of medicine should be applied to gender dysphoria as other medical issues.
Against the failed hopes of the Enlightenment, scientism, and modernism, Josef Pieper calls us to embrace a hope that transcends the physical and political world.
I may not live in a monastic community like St. Benedict, but I live among others in my own sort of domestic monastery, and I am fully invested in these members’ flourishing. My Rule of Life helps me flesh out what it means to thrive both personally and as a family.
The use of HEK 293 or similar cell lines in no way perpetuates the grave injustice of abortion or implies approval of abortion. To call a cell line, a vaccine, a railroad, a medication, or any other physical thing morally compromised is simply a category mistake, because good and evil are characteristics of the human will, not of physical things.
The Netflix adaptation of The Queen’s Gambit and the original version are based on two radically different visions of the human person. They bring the reader or viewer to one of two endpoints: either we recognize the importance of making the best choices and inherit a position of moral responsibility, or we face the despair of living in a world without moral agency.