reform

Right to Work as a Religious Liberty Concern

With a new Republican governor and a legislature with a strong Republican majority, Missourians saw some changes this year coming out of their state capital. One of the quickest and most striking turnarounds had to do with right-to-work legislation. This had been a top priority for Show-Me Republicans for years, fought ardently by labor unions [...]

Islam Minus Muhammed?

Ever since 9/11 there has been much talk about reforming Islam so that it can be more in step with the modern world. What would a reformed Islam look like? One doesn’t have to look far for an answer. In a sense the Islamic reformation has already come and gone. It began in the colonial [...]

Pope St. Pius X: The Great Reformer

When most Catholics hear the name of Pope St. Pius X, they think of the great saint who pulverized modernism, that “synthesis of all heresies” in the early twentieth century.  Many are also aware of his Eucharistic reforms, which promoted frequent communion and communion for young children.  Some may also be aware of his conflict [...]

Beware of Sophistical Education “Reformers”

The Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper wrote a short book called Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power and in it he examines the misuse of language and the corruption of the word for the purpose of manipulation and personal gain.  He focuses on “Plato’s lifelong battle with the sophists, those highly paid and popularly applauded experts [...]

Pope Enlists St. Michael in Reform of Curia

I am wondering if a little noticed—certainly little commented upon—event, which took place Friday, July 5, in the gardens of Vatican City, establishes a connection between two apparently quite different subjects about which I have written recently: the first is the frequency with which Pope Francis refers to the devil; the second is the question of what [...]

But Whom May We Evangelize?

People are curious. They like to know “what’s new.” Most people, whatever their background, do not, however, like to be proselytized, to be made unsettled in their normal beliefs and practices by some sharp stranger wanting to convert them to something or other. We tolerate many diverging views provided that their advocates do not seek [...]

Pope Francis: Reform in the Footsteps of St. Pius V

Unknowingly, my family had a sneak preview of the results of the recent Conclave. During the week prior, my one year old son, Austin, kept going up to our bookshelf and pulling off a particular book, no matter where it was shelved. My wife, Anne, beginning to wonder why this was happening, decided to look [...]

Despite Appearances, “Reform” Has Not Come

How blessedly instructive it has been, following the installation of the first pope from the Americas, Pope Francis, to witness the world’s sheer unaffected delight in this man.  His warmth and simplicity have endeared him everywhere.  Indeed, he has disarmed us all by the spontaneity of his style. Of course—it needs straightaway to be said—none [...]

The “New” Tone of U.S. Bishops Sounds Very Familiar

In a frank interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan conceded that the post-Vatican II Church in America has “gotten gun-shy” on hot-button moral issues. The Church’s encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the Church, that I think most of us—and [...]

The Reform We Need

Amidst of all the joys of a new pope and my continuing wonder at the smooth transition effected by cardinals who pray deeply and follow a centuries-old tradition, there was one deep sorrow about the papal transition: being forced to read the repeated slanders in the press about my beloved Pope Benedict XVI.  Media outlets [...]

Out of the Wreckage

The Sixties wanted Paradise Now: a paradise that ignores the distant and difficult in favor of the immediate and effortless. We wouldn’t transcend life’s conflicts and difficulties by striving after a higher unity, we’d abolish them by denying them recognition. Each would do his thing and follow his bliss, and all would be well. As [...]

Vatican II: A Hermeneutic of Continuity or Reform?

Cardinal Kurt Koch who is the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity recently gave an interview in which he remarked that Pope Benedict prefers to call his approach to the Second Vatican Council not a “hermeneutic of continuity” but a “hermeneutic of reform.” The expression using the word “continuity” rather than “reform” [...]

Time to Gauck Washington

Calling for the protection of the Constitution and the vision that guided the Founding Fathers is a common theme in speeches in this year's presidential campaign.  In practice, however, these campaigns have little resemblance to that original vision.  The Framers sought to fashion a presidential selection process above politics in which the office would seek [...]

Another way to occupy Wall Street

How about a movement of moral reform? Or as my friend Lydia Fisher puts it, how about a financial dissident movement? Challenging the establishment is as old as history. Sometimes going out directly to the public is the avenue needed to have one’s voice truly heard. The collapse of the former Soviet Union was sparked [...]

The Spirit of Metroplex II

There are many good arguments against quickly convening a Third Vatican Council—a notion beloved of Catholics who occupy the portside cabins on the Barque of Peter. The most obvious is that Catholicism has barely begun to digest the teaching of Vatican II on the nature of the Church, the universal call to holiness, and the [...]

2012: The Year of the Entrepreneur?

This is the time of year when 2012 prediction lists abound. I am struck by how many lists have included some reference to a surge in American entrepreneurship during the next year. Entrepreneurs are clearly being counted upon to act as one of the centerpieces of America’s economic recovery. The educational and networking opportunities for [...]

Entitlements, Not Tax Cuts, Widen the Wealth Gap

  What should be done about income inequality? That basic question underlies the arguments hashed out in the supercommittee and promises to be a central issue in the presidential campaign. Supercommittee Democrats argue that income inequality has been increasing and can be at least partially reversed by higher tax rates on high earners. They refused [...]

Put Tax Breaks for Mortgages, Local Taxes on Table

  Supercommittee members Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Jeb Hensarling are taking flak from some conservatives for proposing a deal including increases in "revenues," and a Washington Post reporter had some fun insinuating that they were backing a tax-rate increase. As this is written, no one knows what the supercommittee will do (or not do), [...]

From a Clear Blue Sky

It was a brilliant summer day in a world at peace. The world’s superpowers, once locked into conflict by irreconcilable ideologies, were now alike committed to stable, prosperous co-existence. Their vast military establishments, they said, existed solely for self-defense. Except in a few backward lands, horsetrading had replaced brinksmanship. New industrial and information technologies were [...]

The Lay Reform of Church and World

Two volumes recently published by Encounter Books address key issues in the New Evangelization. The first, Marcello Pera’s Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians, is another effort by a distinguished public intellectual to call our civilization back to its foundational senses. Pera, a philosopher of science, is also an Italian legislator who served for several [...]

Actually, We Have Too Much Health Insurance

  One of the arguments for healthcare reform is that millions of Americans with employer-provided healthcare are underinsured. Proponents of this view are saying that people are underinsured if they are paying too many of their healthcare costs out-of-pocket. Quite the contrary, a little reflection on what insurance is and is supposed to do suggests [...]

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