John Paul Meenan

John Paul Meenan is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Natural Science at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry's Bay, Ontario, Canada. He edits and writes at Catholic Insight.

recent articles

What Modesty Is and Isn’t…and Why It Matters

It may seem a bit odd to speak of modesty when the weather outside is frightful—at least roundabout where I live in rural Ontario. But modesty is not just an outdoors virtue, as a trip anywhere—from the grocery store to the office staff party to the local yoga class—will demonstrate. In the words of the Bard,”Can … Read more

How Many Migrants Can a Nation Absorb?

The migrant caravan is like something out of a future, apocalyptic dystopia—or, to go back in time, perhaps an image from Exodus—where thousands of men, women, and children trudge a thousand miles under the hot tropical sun across hot tarmac and dirt roads, hoping to land on America’s doorstep, in search of opportunities not to … Read more

Canada Up in Smoke

The day is nigh. Today, October 17, marijuana becomes legal in Canada, only the second sovereign nation to let loose the reins of law on the notorious drug (the other being Uruguay, with other nations taking a more incremental approach). Nine U.S. states have also approved its recreational use: Colorado, the entire western seaboard (Washington, Oregon, … Read more

Humanae Vitae: Blessed Paul VI’s Miracle

I am hurtling in a high-speed train from Glasgow to London, with a heavy heart saying farewell to my native land, a sentiment that should live within us all. It is the memorial of Saint Charbel Maklouf, a Lebanese priest, ascetic, and mystic, as well as the vigil of Saint James the Greater, whose feast … Read more

Why Not Go on a Pilgrimage?

Just as the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, we might say that the first step on the road to sanctity is the realization that we are in exile, strangers and sojourners, knowing somehow, someway, we belong somewhere else. Ever since Adam and Eve got themselves cast out of the Garden, we … Read more

Religious Liberty Thwarted by Canadian High Court Decision

I should apologize for more bad news from Canada (and more to come with the recent legalization of marijuana), but it comes with a tinge of hope: last Friday, Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Langley, British Columbia, was denied the right to offer law degrees by the Supreme Court of Canada, due to … Read more

Ontario’s Liberal Government Suffers Massive Electoral Defeat

Ontario is the most populous of Canada’s ten provinces, with about 13.5 million souls, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the population of the country, most of whom live within a one or two hour drive from the border with the United States. The province has the nation’s capital, Ottawa, as well as its largest … Read more

Restore Liturgical Beauty with Chant and Polyphony

The tragedy of the loss of beauty in liturgy is not something which we should dismiss lightly, for if there is one thing we can glean from Scripture, and from the Church’s two millennia of Tradition, it is that we should offer the very best to God in our worship of him; yet what we … Read more

The Metaphysical Implications of Darwinian Theory

Darwin was always unsettled by the implications of his theory, and his growing agnosticism, along with his eventual belief that there was no soul, no eternity, just blind matter and its inexorable laws, troubled his pious, Unitarian wife, Emma, who wanted to be with him in heaven. Unsettled Darwin should have been; for all the … Read more

Truman’s Decision Was a Great Moral Evil

Editor’s note: Due to the continued interest of our readers in the issues raised by Deacon Jim Russell in his defense of Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons against Japan in World War II, Crisis furthers the debate with two new essays. Below is a rebuttal to Deacon Russell by Professor Meenan; also published today is … Read more

The New Totalitarian Laws of Canada

We here in Canada have passed some very bad laws of late, sadly during what should be an otherwise celebratory 150th anniversary year. There was the June 2016 legalization of euthanasia, making what once would have been fevered analogies to the early Nazi era now a bit too apt. Once you get used to death, … Read more

What Kind of Thing is Authority?

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them…” So quoted Malvolio in Shakespseare’s Twelfth Night (albeit as he read from a letter written by Maria, so, ironically, the great lines on greatness were not even his). History, along with current events, which will comprise much of future history, is much-ado … Read more

A Response to Hollywood’s War Against Christianity

Viggo Mortensen, the same actor who played Strider/Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, seems to enjoy getting naked in his non-Tolkien films, evincing, perhaps, certain latent exhibitionist fantasies: In Eastern Promises, he fought off, el fresco, two Russian mobsters in a steam bath; in The Road, he chucked it all to swim out … Read more

The Limits of Artificial “Intelligence”

The gauntlet has now been thrown down, that computers, or more specifically artificial intelligence, will soon be able to create more perfect art than humans. This prediction, or threat, depending upon your point of view, applies in particular to music, the most mathematical and ‘algorithmic’ of the arts, following set patterns of chord structure, harmonies, … Read more

Reflections on the Pope’s Condemnation of Populism

As we journeyed through the darkness of Holy Week to the great solemnity of Easter, with the acclamations given to Christ before his humiliating and ignominious death, I was pondering the Holy Father’s recent condemnation of “populism” as “evil.” Certainly, he could not have meant that popularity itself was evil. Christ was popular, for a … Read more

Hope in the Battle Against Euthanasia

Small but hopeful news from the euthanasia front here in Canada, which, as you may be aware, along with its no-holds-barred-free-for-all abortion policy (not unlike North Korea), as of last June now also has the unenviable distinction of becoming one of the few nations to universally legalize euthanasia. Death for all, underwritten, and undertaken by … Read more

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 … Read more

Sam Alone Stands Against the Leviathan

Well, I must eat some of my words about the newly-minted nineteen-year-old Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Sam Oosterhoff, here in Ontario, and I will give credit where credit is due, in short order. First, the background: On November 28th, here in Canada, the provincial government of Ontario voted into law Bill 28, the ominously … Read more

A Reflection on the Requirements for Political Office

Politics is a curious business, and not just in the United States as the Big Day approaches: Here in Ontario, Canada, about a four hour drive from where I live, a 19-year-old Brock University political science student, Sam Oosterhoff, was just chosen as the upcoming candidate for the riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook, and could well … Read more

How Catholic is Kaine?

A recent flattering article in the New Yorker describes Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, as a “devout Roman Catholic.” Not only that, but the paean proceeds to declare that the pious senator “is more comfortable quoting Scripture than any Democrat to reach the level of Presidential politics since Jimmy Carter.” There is more: … Read more

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