Virtue

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

Annulments: A Concession to Human Weakness

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mt. 19:8) Scripture tells us that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16), and it doesn’t sound like Jesus was too thrilled with how Moses handled it, since “it was not [...]

Virtue Signaling is the Opposite of Virtue

On April 12, the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra, said that North Carolina will remain on the list of states to which California employees may not travel using state money. The reason for the ban is simple: California wants you to know how virtuous it is. In other words, the state is virtue signaling. [...]

Can Virtue Heal the American Right?

We’ve come to that agonizing point in our political process when each political party must choose its champion. Republicans are trying to decide in whose hands to place their party’s fate. The inexperienced but well-spoken Marco Rubio? Rand Paul, a man of intelligence and conviction who nonetheless selected drone strikes as the issue most worthy of a [...]

The Courageous Witness of Bl. Franz Jagerstatter

The time was 1941, the war then raging across Europe had entered its third terrible year, and a young Catholic philosopher by the name of Josef Pieper had just brought out a book, a lovely little thing of less than sixty pages, called A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart. Amazingly enough, [...]

How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

Editor’s note: The following essay is adapted from an address delivered August 6 at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium. In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). Creation begins in chaos. On each day of [...]

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 [...]

Where Is the Virtue?

A sentinel watches upon the battlements. The air is raw and cold, and it seems to have penetrated to his knees and ankles and the shoulder upon which he rests his rifle. But he paces his rounds, hour after long hour. He peers into the little glooming light showing in the east. He turns again [...]

What is This Thing Called Virtue?

Believe it or not, in at least one specific area public discourse in the United States is a bit better than it was a few decades ago.  How so? Today we occasionally hear the word “virtue” used—and not always in sarcasm.  This is good news because the return of the word “virtue” to the lexicon [...]

What a Constitution Can, and Can’t, Do

I was at a conference recently on the relationship between constitutionalism and liberty.  There were quite a few very smart and learned people there.  Two things struck me in particular from the conversations we had over several days:  first, how little faith scholars today seem to have in constitutional structures, and, second, how little faith [...]

The Rich, Not States, are Called to Help Others

At the end of part eight in this series, I observed that Pope Leo XIII lays a heavy obligation upon the rich.  What is that obligation?  Who are the rich? Like Thomas Aquinas, whom he admired so well, Leo is quite practical.  It is right for a man to provide for his family so that [...]

A Sculptor of the Interior Life

Tilman Riemenschneider may not have had the full complement of five talents, but however many he was given, none did he bury. Father, master sculptor, entrepreneur, civic leader: his was the busy life of the successful late-medieval artisan. Yet for all of his immersion in the affairs of this world, his sculpture remains as a [...]

Liberality: The Fifth Lively Virtue

When Jesus first sent forth his disciples to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, he did not advise them to take provisions.  “Heal the sick,” he said, “cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”  They had, in Jesus, entered into a relationship of giving.  [...]

St. Philip Neri: Apostle of Rome

St. Philip Neri was beatified in 1615, five years after St. Charles Borromeo was raised to the altars, and canonized in 1622 in company with St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Teresa of Avila.  This group could be said to represent in a unique way the extraordinary vitality of the Catholic Reformation of [...]

The Mad March to Sanity

By the time this little piece of writing runs, this year’s mad march towards the crowning of an NCAA college basketball champion will have begun it’s climactic careen. It is likely that at one point or another over a hundred million people will tune in to watch sixty-plus teams vie for the honor of cutting [...]

A Girl’s Lament: Sex, Love, and America’s Teens

Forty years ago, the sexual revolution broke through the last barricades of Victorian propriety. A whole generation drifted toward moral anarchy in its fitful pursuit of sexual liberation. At the end of the day, the casualties of this revolution surround us—AIDS patients, aborted children, and single mothers. But only recently have the intellectual elite come [...]

Confirm Thy Soul in Self Control

I encourage you to set aside the burgers and dogs and soda and beer for a moment this Fourth of July and contemplate something decidedly different, maybe even as you gaze upward at the flash of fireworks. Here it is: Confirm thy soul in self-control. What do I mean by that? Let me explain. The founders [...]

On Leadership and Virtue: A Conversation with Alexandre Havard

What makes an effective leader? Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas said it was virtue. French-born lawyer Alexandre Havard agrees: As founder of the Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute (HVLI), he's developed a leadership model based on aretology -- the philosophy of virtue -- that is resonating with top-level leaders in government, the private sector, and the [...]

The Truth about Virtue and Happiness

During four years of college and seven of graduate school, most of it in philosophy and theology, I heard only one lecture on virtue -- the virtue of art. Thus I consider it miraculous that the language of virtue has returned to public discourse. But the virtues don't tell the whole story about human life. [...]

A Psalm for Serotonin

It's February again. I've suffered three weeks of cold, steady rain here in San Francisco, rain that creeps under my collar like slimy earthworms, rain that squeezes out of the fog like suds. Perennially happy people smirk and say, "Yes, but it makes snow in the mountains." I want to bonk them with their ski [...]

This Home of Freedom: A Pastoral Letter

In the trinitarian life of God, "a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no more than a watch in the night." [Psalm 90:41] For us, living between the revelation of God in the creation and in Christ's redemption, but before the final triumph of God's purpose in the Kingdom to come, time is [...]

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