Veritatis Splendor

Anti-Mosque Protest

Should Different Religions Be Treated Differently?

When the planning board of Bernards Township, New Jersey, turned down a plan to build a mosque, the local Islamic society turned around and sued the town for discrimination. Now, a federal judge has ruled that a parking requirement imposed by the township on the mosque was discriminatory. Adeel Mangi, the Islamic society’s lawyer, praised [...]

Martyrs Know Apostasy Can Not Be Justified

A recent article in First Things by J.D. Flynn reflects upon Shusaku Endo’s 1966 Japanese novel Silence, now being released as a film directed by Martin Scorcese (which should tell you something). The tale follows an idealistic Jesuit missionary who, towards the end of the story, well, in Flynn's words: At its pivotal moment, Silence’s protagonist, the Jesuit missionary [...]

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 [...]

The Totalitarian Imposition of Assisted Suicide in Canada

The story of euthanasia in Canada officially began a year ago this February 6th, when the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that the laws forbidding murder-suicide for compassionate reasons were “unconstitutional,” and commanded the Parliament of Canada to frame a law legalizing such physician-assisted suicide. Now, for all of you constitutionally-minded readers out there, this [...]

Veritatis Splendor: The Encyclical that Mattered

There are papal encyclicals, and then there are papal encyclicals. Some escape public attention almost from the moment they’re promulgated. Others continue reverberating inside the Church decades after they appear. But there’s also a third type of encyclical: those which assume truly civilizational significance. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one document that falls [...]

Jesus at First Sight

Some years ago, at an excellent high school in Minneapolis, I taught a seminar to junior boys on ancient and early Christian authors. The course began with a full-length reading of Homer's Iliad, and at Christmas, with the seminar half over, my informal poll always revealed that this was the boys' favorite work up to [...]

Servant of the Servants of God

The statement was pompously worded, expressing regret about what was to follow. Alas, it said, weeping crocodile tears, it gave no pleasure to present this statement to the public, but it had to be done. Pope John Paul II, it declared, was a terrible pope and should not be called blessed. With such an opening, [...]

The Chutzpa of the German Theologians

  In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defined chutzpa as "presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word, and no other language, can do justice to" and then offered classic examples of chutzpa in action: "Chutzpa is that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of [...]

Obedience, Orthodoxy, and Torture

People are worried about me. One reader writes: You don't give enough credit to the system we have in America. It is the closest thing to idealistic conditions as humanly possible (City of God, Augustine). That's bad enough, of course. But in addition to my failure to identify America with the City of God, I [...]

The False “Cure” of Embryonic Stem Cells

On August 23, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued an injunction prohibiting the use of federal funds to support human embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), because it violated federal law prohibiting the destruction of human embryos. Even if his ruling is overturned by the Supreme Court (it's unclear which way Justice Anthony Kennedy, who [...]

Why Catholics Should Work to Repeal the Health Care Bill

There are only two facts Catholics need to know about the health-care bill to decide it must be repealed: The bill signed by the president includes federal funding for abortion, and the executive order does nothing to remove that funding.   You don't have to accept those facts on my authority -- they have both [...]

Academic Freedom and the Catholic University

Academic freedom is a great good that should be cherished and honored by every university community. This precious heritage of freedom originated in the Christian West and rose initially in the great universities of Europe, which themselves sprang from the cathedral schools of the early Middle Ages. Great universities such as Padua, Bologna, Louvain, Paris, [...]

Rush Limbaugh and the Right’s Tortured Conscience

As readers in this space may have noticed, I have had a thing or two (or three) to say about the Bush/Cheney program of torture and the incredible lengths of sophistry to which spokesoids for the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism have gone on its behalf. My concerns have basically come down to this: [...]

Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1984

Last week, we started looking at the broad movement among some conservatives (including Catholics) over the past several years to excuse, minimize, defend, and champion the use of torture by the U.S. government in the "War on Terror." Among Catholics, in particular, the conversation has taken place at multiple levels, since the Catholic torture defender [...]

What Would Jack Bauer Do?

  Suppose I asked, "Are there any circumstances when it would be okay for the president to order an interrogator to crush a nine-year-old boy's testicles?" What would you answer?   If you are a normal person and not John Yoo, the man who, from 2001 to 2003 was employed as the Justice Department's legal [...]

How the UN Is Exploiting the Population Issue

For over half a century, well-intentioned, well-educated people in the West were taught to dread an inevitable "population bomb," caused by a worldwide explosion of births and a dearth of resources. Examples abound: • In 1946 Julian Huxley, first head of UNESCO, wrote, "War is a less inevitable threat to mankind than is population increase." [...]

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