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.
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.
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.
Excessive efforts to control the givenness of our children’s lives reveal our doubt that life is a good gift in itself. They also show a vision of human flourishing that is dependent upon material prosperity, personal achievements, and social status.
The Christmas message is one of joy, even “great joy,” but not superficial joy. Christmas confronts us with the sobering claim that humankind is in a state of sin—a state from which we cannot save ourselves. Hence the need for a savior, and hence the joyful Christian claim that God himself offers the salvation by coming to live among us.
In “The God in the Cave,” G.K, Chesterton explains that when Christians celebrate the Nativity, they are celebrating an event that changed the course of history and permanently transformed the DNA of human society.
Offered daily through the liturgical prayer of the Church, the Magnificat invites every Christian, through Jesus, to see the Holy Spirit in the rare expression of the woman from whose flesh our Savior took his own. The Magnificat is Mary in her own words. It inspires study and imitation of the scriptures by presenting Mary as a gift and invitation, a mother of prayer and listening for all.
According to Carl Trueman, focusing myopically on problems with sexual morality often results in misguided responses to the sexual revolution. Instead, we must grapple with “a much deeper and wider revolution in the understanding of what it means to be a self.”
To combat “toxic masculinity,” the APA suggests teaching boys to express their emotions and insecurities more openly. They say components of traditional masculinity such as stoicism, self-reliance, and competitiveness deter men from forming close relationships with other men. But if men really are born less “nice” than women, then our task is not simply to strip away negative social constructs. It is time we stop talking down to boys as if they were dim-witted girls and offer them opportunities to build character and provide meaning to their lives.
It is not possible to properly love a person and act so as to unnecessarily jeopardize their health. If by the minimal burden of wearing a mask, we can potentially protect others from grave illness, then it seems we have a moral obligation to wear a mask. The same can be said for COVID-19 vaccinations. If by being vaccinated we can protect others from illness, then we have a corresponding obligation, given our Lord’s command to love neighbors, to be vaccinated. Vaccinations not only protect me, but also protect other vulnerable members of society.
The end of the pandemic is now in sight. Let’s hold on to the good things we have learned and the good habits that we have established. That means no phones in the bedroom, a good night’s sleep, and more time together as a family. If we can do those things—if the end result of the pandemic is a strengthening of the family—then there may be a silver lining to this cloud.
For a political order supposedly built on faulty philosophical foundations, liberalism has been surprisingly resilient. Political theorist David Walsh argues it is the political expression of the Christian epiphany of the person that has been differentiated by modern philosophy. Yet Even in Walsh’s defense of liberal modernity, the menace of Luciferian possibilities flickers at the edge of vision.
I was looking forward to my one or two children, and a life of ongoing validation through the achievement-acclaim-advancement sequence to which school had accustomed me. Is large family life an icon of the Lord’s emptying of himself on our behalf? No more, I believe, than any Christian life deliberately modeled upon His example.
Medicine isn’t opposed to what makes us human. At its best, it’s a practical application of the ideals of humanistic education, and its goal is to express and enable those things that distinguish us as human beings. Those practicing medicine need encouragement to cultivate a true understanding of health and healthcare.
Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine poses any significant moral concern. Any moral issues with both are so remote and minor that they should prevent nobody from getting either of them.
What I learned from St. Katharine Drexel was that the first act is simply to see the truth. To really use our eyes and intellect and heart to see another as a fellow human, given dignity by God, is no simple act—but it can be done. And then to step toward those who are not being accorded this dignity and to offer it to them, to reach out the hand of charity, takes a monumental act, a decision often of serious self-sacrifice.