Faith and Reason

Sir Thomas More's Farewell to his Daughter by Edward Matthew Ward

Why Thomas More is the Patron Saint of Statesmen

Wolf Hall, the recent novel-turned-television-series, raises the question of who is right about the actions and legacy of Thomas More (1478-1535) and Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540). The stakes are higher than many realize. As Mark Movsesian explains: In its biased portrayal of More, British history’s great example of religious resistance to state orthodoxy, Wolf Hall is [...]

Benedict XVI and the Roots of Injustice

As 2015 rapidly surges ahead, crashing into us like the waves from Ephesians 4:14, it is tempting to simply view the state of things pragmatically—deep thinking and serious debating on the extraordinary circumstances of today’s world seems simply out of the question. While there is no shortage of opinions, the garrulous talking heads avoid any [...]

Religious Liberty Is Not Enough

I want to thank those who took the time to respond to my recent article, “Why Religious Liberty Arguments Aren’t Working.” Our focus at the Ruth Institute is crafting sound arguments and clarifying the proper context for their use. Religious liberty arguments are a case in point. While there is merit in religious liberty arguments, [...]

Reason is Not the Sole Property of Skeptics

A few weeks ago Politico published an article by professional skeptic Michael Shermer—I think when you are the publisher of a magazine called Skeptic, you can be classified as a "professional skeptic," right?—called "Why Politicians Need Science," with the subtitle, "Remember: before the triumph of science, we burned witches at the stake and thought that kings [...]

Are Appeals to Natural Law and Right Reason Still Effective?

Recent months have witnessed an emerging debate among some American conservatives, especially religiously informed conservatives and, even more specifically, Catholic conservatives. This debate concerns how they can (and, in some cases, whether they should even attempt to) engage in a public square that seems ever more rooted in modern liberal presuppositions and preoccupations. At the [...]

Irrational Disbelief: The Hypocrisy of Scientific Atheism

Somewhere along the line of modern history, the idea has taken root, spread, and become commonly held among seculars that religious people hold to a Faith that is separate from, and at odds with, natural reason. Modern science, following the lead of modern philosophy and modern secularized religion, has fallen for the heretical notion that [...]

When Atheists Get Religion Wrong

What, in these benighted modern times, ought faithful Catholics to make of atheism? Robert Tracinski’s recent piece, "What Atheists Have To Offer The Right," gives us occasion for reflecting anew on this question. Tracinski is speaking primarily about politics, and in this realm, making common cause with atheists seems clearly warranted in our time. As [...]

On Hobby Lobby: Where Ginsburg and Alito Go Astray

As a faithful Catholic with moral objections to forced Christian complicity in both abortion and contraception, I had many reasons to rejoice in the Supreme Court’s majority decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby written by Justice Alito. Unfortunately, the Court’s reasoning was not one of them. Two premises in the majority’s argument were especially troubling: [...]

On Being and Staying Catholic in the Modern World

Editor’s note: The following is an address delivered June 7, 2014 to the graduating class of St. Michael the Archangel High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I love being here at this school. I love what you are trying to do. I am moved by the faith of your parents, and the generosity of your families, [...]

The Reasonableness of Religious Belief

I have always been a believer. Among other reasons, that’s because I think rationality demands it. When I talk about “belief” here, I mean it in a very broad sense, which is not synonymous with “Catholic” or even “Christian”; Sikhs, Hindus and Zoroastrians might all qualify, and I myself was raised in the LDS church [...]

Christianity: Foundation of Western Success

In his famous critique of John Stuart Mill, Mill and Liberalism (1963) the Cambridge historian Maurice Cowling underscored just how much the views advanced by self-identified liberals were underpinned by the conviction that their conception of the historical background to any number of events is more-or-less universally accepted. Sometimes they are right in making that [...]

Invest in Catholic Youth: Build Beautiful School Chapels

  Intellege ut credas; crede ut intellegas  (In order to believe you must understand. In order to understand you must believe.)  —St. Augustine A priest once told me that the best place to teach students the faith is in a church. For it is in a church that they can see a physical expression of [...]

Acceptance of Drugs: A Challenge to Culture and Evangelization

I recently gave a talk entitled “Beer and the Renewal of Catholic Culture.” Based on the Roman Ritual’s traditional blessing for beer, my argument was that beer is both a work of God given to gladden our hearts (along with wine) and an important work of human culture, a shaping of the goods of the [...]

Pope Francis and the Missionary Spirit

“The Church—I repeat once again—is not a relief organization, an enterprise nor an NGO (Non-Government Organization), but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share their experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the [...]

How Catholics Can Save Our Dying Civilization

In a recent address, Archbishop Chaput articulated how much we depend on the residual religious capital of earlier times, but once the capital is spent, “we may not like the results, because the more we delete God from our public life and our private behavior, the more we remove the moral vocabulary that gives our [...]

Advice to College Students from Lumen Fidei

I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of August, and the very last thing on a college student’s mind is the upcoming semester. Unless they’re rising freshmen, in which case the upcoming semester is very much on their mind, but mainly about leaving home and meeting their new roommate, not necessarily the purpose and [...]

Catholics Must Not Cede Ground in Public Debate

In the last several months I’ve been discussing the problems Catholics face dealing with public life today. The recent election underlined some of them. The bishops and others made their pitch about threats to the family and the freedom of the Church, the Democrats stood firm, and most Americans—including most self-identified Catholics—voted for the Democrats. [...]

Leo XIII: “Without Faith, Liberty Degenerates into License”

The good and wise Pope Leo XIII never condemned an error without commending a truth.  In this series on Catholic Social Teaching, then, I believe I should follow the Holy Father’s example.  It’s easy to inveigh against what Leo condemns; more rewarding, though, to reveal the beauty of what he commends.  In this essay, then, [...]

What the Reformation has Wrought

The day may come when Catholics can support neither of the main American political parties or their candidates. Some think it’s already arrived. Alasdair MacIntyre, the Notre Dame philosopher, argued along those lines a few years ago, explaining why he couldn’t vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t know what Professor MacIntyre [...]

The Role of Philosophy in the New Evangelization

I recently had a brief conversation with a former colleague of mine who is Catholic, and who wanted to inquire about certain aspects of the faith that she was struggling with. She mentioned to me that, while she goes to Mass on Sundays and “has faith,” she nevertheless expressed a desire that there was more [...]

On Cultivating the Catholic Mind

Blogging is not typically a sphere of life that I prefer to tread into. More often than not, it seems that blogs have become merely an outlet for those who neither want nor seek genuine and fruitful intellectual discussion. This is, of course, not a denial that no good blogs exist, nor that good ones [...]

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