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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The authors of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theater of the Absurd clearly feel an urgent existential imperative to grapple with the question of how we should live. It is, as they point out, a question even the nihilist must eventually answer.
Far from being an exercise of self-expressive freedom, as some suggest, pornography binds internally, its addictive properties consuming its consumer under a tyranny of license both brutal and total. It denies our humanity as well as our liberty by moving us away from human speech and toward bestial voice.
To live in the world as a pilgrim is to hold things, and places, and even people, lightly—enjoying them all in God, not as gods. For the nature of sin is not that we love bad things, but that we love good things as if they were final things.
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.
The story of Sohrab Ahmari is one of extremes. By turns, he was a rebel, Iranian expat, an atheist, a bohemian dissident, an anti-Mormon provocateur, a communist, a lawyer, a teacher, a libertine, and finally, a Christian.
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.
With a Democratic majority in both the New York Senate and Assembly, along with a Democratic Governor, victory for the surrogacy industry is within reach. A bill that would make commercial surrogacy contracts legal and enforceable in the Empire State has been slipped into the state’s 2019 budget, buried deep on page 392.
Abortion cannot be allowed on economic, social, or racial grounds—to afford a higher standard of living, for the convenience of uncommitted relationships, or because a minority racial group is involved.
Why are progressives so intent on winning control of the public square? In his new book, Steven Smith argues that they are motivated by the same battle that was waged in ancient Rome: Paganism vs. Christianity, immanence vs. transcendence.
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.
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.
Is an infant, marked for abortion but delivered alive, even in tragic circumstances, a person whom the law ought to protect?
On February 4th, 2019, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley delivered the following remarks in support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
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.
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.
Most journalists strive for objectivity, but some bias is inevitable. New research indicates that media personnel are most likely to attribute crimes to hate when the victims are sexual minorities and least likely to do so when the victims are Christians.
We simply cannot ignore theology when looking at social problems. For Christians, the notion of sinful structures is based on the difficult but ultimately liberating admission that the existing social positions we occupy are often not in conformity with the order of God.
Researchers find an absence of regret in 97.5 percent of participants who continue a pregnancy in which the baby is “doomed to die.” With emphatic certainty, women report enhanced relationship with the baby, with themselves, and with family despite giving birth after lethal fetal diagnosis. Abortion does not have similar results.
According to Rémi Brague, the dialectic of modernity results in a paradox. Man is both the conquering lord of nature and a part of nature to be controlled. His well-being is the purpose of the modern project, which simultaneously places his distinct dignity in doubt.
If we are to correct the wayward course of contemporary democratic societies, we must preserve what is true and good and mitigate what is false and harmful in both liberalism and nationalism. We would do well to embrace core principles of the Anglo-American constitutional tradition—principles grounded in and sustained by the virtue of prudence.