Natural Law

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Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality

Homosexuality is an issue that has been shaped by Western values, and is now front-and-center in almost every country and culture around the world, especially those societies influenced by secular humanism. But even more traditional societies, such as those in Africa, have not gone unaffected by it, given how social media shrinks our globe. In [...]

How Choice Replaced Human Nature

The age of Jenner, Obergefell, and #BlackLivesMatter puts issues of identity at the center of public life. As Catholics and citizens we need to understand what that means. Personal identity orients us in the world. As such, it has both individual and social functions. It enables us to order our lives by telling us what we [...]

Laudato Si’ and the Selling of Body Parts

The recent revelations surrounding the selling of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood highlight a crisis in contemporary society depicted in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. With uncanny insight, Pope Francis had written, “the culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects…. Is [...]

What’s New in the New Evangelization … And Why?

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI established the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, with his exhortation, Ubicumque et Semper (“Everywhere and Always”). He was explicitly responding to his predecessor Pope St. John Paul II’s call (Christifideles Laici) to re-evangelize the once-Christian countries of the tired old West, now lapsed from the faith. There has [...]

Kennedy Replaces the “Laws of Nature” with His Own

Same-sex "marriage" advocates will heartily celebrate July 4 this year, thrilled with the possibilities in the New America they’re creating in their own image. They will be especially grateful to Anthony Kennedy and the four liberal justices who gave them gay "marriage" by assuming unto themselves what Thomas Jefferson two-and-a-half centuries ago called “the Laws [...]

Unnatural is the New Normal

In 1968, Pope Paul VI predicted that the widespread adoption of contraception would effectively sever the procreative and unitive purposes of sex in the popular mind and consequently lead to profound moral and sociological changes (see Humanae Vitae 17). British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe likewise argued that accepting the liceity of contraception would leave no principled [...]

Is Homosexual Marriage Even Possible?

The homilist, a priest of impeccable orthodoxy, was enumerating the challenges facing the Church today. But I quickly found myself being greatly annoyed at his mention of the attacks being made on “traditional marriage” which were threatening our cherished tradition of “religious liberty.” Now, to be sure, what annoyed was not that he chose to [...]

Why Atheists Don’t Really Exist

Confirmation bias is the tendency to ascribe greater significance to information that supports our pre-existing theories and lesser significance to information that contradicts those theories. We often do this subconsciously. For example you get a new car, and now you notice that same type of car on the road with a much greater frequency than [...]

The Unsubtle Mind of Hugh Hewitt

The week after the Islamic murder of twelve Charlie Hebdo employees and several French police officers, the popular American discourse as to what qualifies as "relevant" to the event is becoming increasingly narrow. Notwithstanding the popular insistence upon a singular moral in the sad event, indeed it should be seen as a manifold, or at least [...]

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 [...]

How to Accentuate the Positive

In recent decades the Church has tried more than ever to accentuate the positive. As a result, she talks less about rules and prohibitions than in the past. Those things are important, the thought seems to be, but they exist for a purpose, and the positive teachings tell us what the purpose is. After all, [...]

Escape Egalitarian Tyranny with Socratic Questioning

Last month I discussed how the assumptions and language of public life today, which are based on commercial and bureaucratic concerns, are biased against Catholics. To make matters worse, the all-pervasive electronic media, increasing reliance on commerce and bureaucracy in everyday affairs, and changes in the purposes of formal education, along with its radical expansion, [...]

Is Pluralism a Threat to Catholic Survival?

With few exceptions, American Catholics have given up on the dream of a Catholic society. Instead, they have come to aspire to a seat at the table: a respected position in public life that lets them bring their insights and values into public discussion within a pluralistic system. At first glance the aspiration seems sensible. [...]

Catholicism and Republicanism: More Than Compatible

Each electoral cycle, nearly six out of every ten American Catholics cast the ghastly vote of the libertine.  As such, one can only assume that the ideas and "lifestyles" emblazoned by these six out of ten votes follow faithfully (tongue firmly lodged in cheek!) upon such libertinism.  Regarding the shameful demographic ordeal, the orthodox American [...]

Don’t Let Social Engineers Define Normality

The great political, social, and moral issue of the present day is the authority of the natural and normal. Accepting that authority means accepting a vernacular form of natural law, and thus a belief that the world has an innate way of functioning that is presumptively good. We can understand a great deal about that [...]

Be Hopeful: The Lunacy Can’t Last Forever

In a recent piece published in Crisis I commented on the features of our public life that led the Supreme Court to assert that support for the natural definition of marriage is simply an attempt to harm people. One reader wrote to say he found the piece both convincing and horrific. He noted that it [...]

One Lawyer’s Quest to Vindicate Jesus in Court

Here’s a rather silly story brought to my attention recently.  It should tell us something about how very silly lawyers’ views of morals and the law have become in recent years.  According to Religion News Service, among others, one Dola Indidis, a lawyer in Kenya, has petitioned the International Court of Justice to nullify the [...]

Catholicism Must Be a Sign of Contradiction

Last month I noted that Catholics need settings in which they can lead a Catholic life among Catholics. For most of us, loving God and living as Christians take schooling and support, which we aren’t going to get from the world at large. That may be one reason the Apostle Paul’s letters focus more on [...]

So-Called Gay Marriage: A Dialogue

I'd been tied up with students all morning. No sooner did student number ten leave than student number eleven appeared. It was Theresa. "Hi, Professor Theophilus. This isn't about your course. Have you got a few minutes anyway?" "Fewer and fewer, it seems. Are there still a lot of students out there waiting?" "The hallway's [...]

Cultural Assimilation: A Threat to Catholic Identity

For the most part, American Catholics have wanted to be like other people. They arrived in America as immigrants from places where they had a definite (if sometimes lowly) position. They left that for a country where social positions were fluid, they would be held in contempt if they stayed as they were, and they [...]

“The Goodness and Humanity of God”

The sub-title of J. Budziszewski’s 2009 book, The Line Through the Heart, reads as follows: “Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction.” The initial dedicatory citation in the book, from which the book derives its title, is a memorable one from Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It reads: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through [...]