St. Thomas Aquinas

Religious Liberty Wins Again in the Supreme Court

In its decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer this week, the Supreme Court took another significant step in furthering its contemporary jurisprudence emphasizing the free exercise of religion. Trinity Lutheran Church operates a daycare and early-learning center on its church property in Boone County, Missouri. The church explicitly states that its early learning program is one of [...]

Is It Immodest to Wear Deliberately Ripped Clothes?

Perhaps one of the more sensitive personal issues you can raise with people is that of dress. How you dress has become a purely personal affair. Most are left to their own opinion as to what is appropriate. There are, of course, some limits. Most Catholics will admit in theory that there is something that [...]

The Virtue of Piety: The Catholic Response to the Alt-Right

Last week, in the pages of Crisis, Jerry Salyer diagnosed the pagan roots of the growing movement known as the “Alternative” or “Alt-Right” in the writings of French political theorist Alain de Benoist. Salyer’s implication that Catholics should avoid the Alt-Right because of its paganism and innate hostility to Christianity is correct. Moreover, his call [...]

The War on Fat and the Dumb Ox

In years past, the advice given by doctors to “cut down on the calories” or “go out for a walk more often” was just that: a friendly instruction delivered more or less earnestly depending on the situation. Nowadays, “Thou Shalt Exercise More” and “Thou Shalt Eat Healthy” have become such forceful exhortations that one would [...]

Does Amoris Laetitia Retreat from Absolute Moral Norms?

When Amoris Laetitia (AL) was first released on April 8, headlines in the secular media declared that there was no change in doctrine but only a call for greater pastoral sensitivity for those in “irregular” unions. A closer scrutiny of this apostolic exhortation seemed to indicate that it made room for a significant change in [...]

Warping Words: On “Hate” and “Mercy”

When words lose their distinct meanings, they no longer sound clearly in our ears. They dissipate and fade. They buzz—and hence, they become "buzzwords." This occurs most often to words that initially have powerful meanings. But the desire to harness the power of these words leads to their abuse, their twisting and mangling to suit [...]

Happiness and Hell in The Twilight Zone

I am fairly confident that a deep theological reflection could be written about nearly every episode of The Twilight Zone (and I may make it a life project to do so). Rod Serling was known for his strong convictions, and that core was manifested in the morality plays he put on in that series. Here [...]

Were Planned Parenthood Videos Produced Unethically?

Planned Parenthood has had a very bad summer. This is the consequence of videos produced by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in an under-cover sting operation that provide convincing evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics sell body parts of aborted babies for profit. Daleiden and members of CMP passed themselves off as [...]

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 [...]

On Pilgrimage: The Analogy of Departure

"Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it."  ∼ A Muppet Christmas Carol The Christian life has often been described as a pilgrimage. For the purpose of self-description, the Catholic Church has used this word in her sacred liturgy and in her Catechism. There is abundant basis for the concept of [...]

On God’s Responsibility for Atheism

In spite of themselves, atheists can help to remind us of an important truth about God, that is, that he radically transcends the universe. It is God’s very transcendence that makes atheism possible, or at least more likely. If God were an item in the universe open to empirical investigation, presumably, there would be far [...]

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 [...]

Curiosity, Science, and the Pope

How does a pope make it into a slideshow presented by an outspoken atheist? One would hope it was because a serious argument was being fairly addressed. Alas, we find it is instead because a papal quote is being taken out of context, misunderstood, and used to present a false picture of the relationship between [...]

The Harrowing of Hell

The second reading from the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday is taken from an ancient homily on Christ’s descent into hell.  It begins: “Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.”  The King fell asleep when [...]

Thomas Aquinas: Child of Christ

There are a great many saints who will never be known on this side of God’s grace, whose lives merited heavenly bliss but not the history books. This host of secret saints represents the central secret of what it means to be a saint: who a person is is more important than what a person [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life: A Reply to Critics

In my December 31, 2013 Crisis article, Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism, I argued that the decimation of American religious orders is partly self-inflicted.  Vocations directors, counselors, and authors make two mistakes: 1) they treat life in the world and the religious life as if they were equally effective means to growth [...]

Catholicism, Islam, and the Perils of Arguing from Authority

Like many Americans, I didn’t know much about Islam before the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. And, to tell the truth, even after 9/11 I wasn’t inclined to look too deeply into the matter. The events of 9/11, disturbing as they were, were not quite enough to overcome a certain inertia in me. [...]

Creation: A Glimpse of the Divine

I don’t want to brag, but for a writer I have a pretty amazing office. Sitting back in my comfy, adjustable chair, I am surrounded on all sides by windows. Of course I have personalized temperature controls, sound system, and a convenient spot for my beverage. Best of all, the scenery is regularly changing, as [...]

Common Core Education vs. Classical Education: A Thomistic Approach

 WHETHER COMMON CORE EDUCATION IS CONTRARY TO CLASSICAL EDUCATION Objection 1. It would seem that the Common Core State Standards Initiative is not contrary to classical education. For, as the classical education movement is aimed at broad-based learning, Common Core education provides standards that are broadly applied across the country to prepare students with twenty-first [...]

Marijuana Legalization: What Would Aquinas Really Say?

David Freddoso recently asked the question: “What Would Aquinas Say about Legalizing Weed?” In particular he argues against what he considers to be a specious argument from David Brooks that legalizing marijuana is akin to endorsing it. In his piece, “Weed: Been There. Done That” Brooks notes: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of [...]

Let Us Not Forget the Wonder of Creation

In his fantastical account of “The Unthinkable Theory of Professor Green,” G.K. Chesterton invites us to imagine an astronomer regaling his audience in great and gorgeous detail about a strange new planet he’s just discovered.  Only gradually do we realize that this utterly amazing place is in fact our very own world, replete with wonders [...]

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