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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.

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Approaching conversations about the mental load with gratitude rather than resentment is the first step toward a more joyful home. Even if we want our spouse to take more responsibility, we can begin by thanking him for the things we see him do. We can discuss what’s going on beneath the surface when something feels amiss. And we can apologize for, and seek to change, our own selfishness, no matter how it manifests. 
As always, I’ll give my best account of what seems reasonable in the situation. But it is only advice: everyone who writes needs to make an independent assessment about the soundness of my guidance.
The antidote to despair is not perfect politics, an impossibility, a mere ideology; the cure is hope. Moral panic reveals despair at the state of things: craving the fullness of the kingdom of heaven now, but upon discovering decadence and depravity—and who can deny our time’s troubles—responding with the sadness of despair. Despair cannot be overcome with certainty or perfection, but only by hope and the truth of concrete action undertaken in the light of hope.
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.
The small surprises and sacrifices of Christmas—the time, resources, and care our loved ones expend in order to place under glowing trees those bright bundles upon which our own names are written—recall the marvel of Christ’s entry into the world in order to sacrifice himself for those he calls by name. This is the unexpected gift that we ought to be surprised by, over and over, every Christmas—indeed, every morning.
Christmas teaches us this great mystery: the truth of Trinitarian love is so beautiful and heart-breaking that it could only be communicated in the form of a child.
Christmas hope is grounded both in the reality of Christ’s first advent and also in the reality that he will come again to fully establish the peace his princely rule has promised. This is one of the great paradoxes of the faith: Christ has come, and he is coming. The kingdom has arrived, yet we pray “Thy kingdom come.”
If religious believers want to protect politics from atheistic materialism, their political theory should presume at least that God made human nature good and free, and that evil comes rather from our misuse of nature. Genuine liberalism, Augusto Del Noce argues, is such a theory.
As we close out this year and approach the next, we should remember that gratitude is not an incidental or secondary civilizational value. It is the backbone of a free and decent civilization. Those who embrace barbarism love destruction and revolution because they have been trained to detest everything that came before them. But just as the heroic and imperfect Americans who came before us moved history through reflection and choice, we can write the American future by recommitting our educational institutions to gratitude.
Much work must be done to restore the proper understanding of personhood—what it means to be human—in societies that permit euthanasia. This work will take not just years, but decades and possibly even longer than that.
Like the verses of Bialik’s “In the City of Slaughter,” those stories had warned me of the horrifying vulnerability of the Jewish people, and of the enormous sacrifice and resolve it would take to overcome it. On October 7th, I realized how utterly wrong I had been to regard them, merely, as history.
Crucially, Kaplan sees the fragility of American life not just in the low-income neighborhoods of inner-city Philadelphia, but in the isolation of otherwise well-off suburbs. His goal is to resurrect the idea of the neighborhood as a specific place with a distinctive sense of community. It’s a cultural narrative that runs counter to a mentality that prioritizes mobility over stability.
Laws and moral prohibitions—even seemingly obvious ones like the prohibition of killing innocents—do not function in a vacuum; their meanings and powers stem from a prior metaphysical order, independent of any individual’s perception, in which they originate and can be understood.
Welcoming human imperfection in its manifold expressions is a boon for those of us who lack the privilege of full-time scholarship. It is not in spite of, but thanks to, the inherent inefficiencies of our rich and often chaotic lives that so many of us can enjoy the pursuit of intellectual enrichment.
At a moment when the values Lewis cherished often seem endangered as much by their supposed friends as by their proclaimed enemies, we would do well to remember his prescriptions.
There is no shortage of opinions on how to manage the ubiquity of technology. Every parent will have his or her own opinion on these matters. But there is one key, frankly very uncomfortable, factor without which even the best of such ideas are sure to fail our kids: that at least in part, responsible technology use is caught, not taught. The modeling parents offer matters a great deal. And we do not always model well.
Six panelists share how they structure their lives in a way that allows them to pursue creative, intellectually inspiring work, while remaining open to life and faithful to the good work of the home.
November is a month for looking back in gratitude at where we have been, where we come from, who has trod the boards of our stage before us. Gratitude is the proper spirit to lift us up during these shorter, colder days (at least in these latitudes), while the seasonal life of nature turns with the leaves and falls with them to the ground.
Joseph Ratzinger looked at reality straight on, without blinders, neither a pessimist nor an optimist; with trepidation but always with Christian hope. He persevered, trusting in the promises of Christ as we must. He did so as almost all of us have to, without benefit of any special grace.
The war in Ukraine is tragically costly to the Ukrainian nation. And success has not been, and will not be, within easy reach for Kyiv. But there is no reason to think that this defensive war does not satisfy the principles of just war tradition, and, in particular, the complicated principle of reasonable success.
In one respect, Prior’s effort is to repristinate evangelicalism by disentangling the elements of the evangelical social imaginary “that are truly Christian” so they “can be better distinguished from those that are merely cultural.” Such an effort requires momentarily escaping the blindfold of the metaphors, stories, and images that mold our pre-cognitive intuitions and dispositions in order to see what is real. 
I am not sure a commitment to ideas or “ideologies” as such is at the root of our problem. If anything, public debate today has little patience with ideas, directed instead toward the very motives and character of the people one likes or dislikes.
By using such a broad understanding of disability, and therefore limiting conversation about other social, environmental, or economic factors, the state can both absolve itself of needing to provide real policy solutions and proclaim itself the protector of a victimized class.
Our culture’s sexual lens distorts the raison d’etre of society, leading teenagers to believe that the body and mind have no tie. 

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