Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk is a philosopher who lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with his wife and their eight children. His most recent book is Mary's Voice in the Gospel According to St. John (Regnery Gateway).

recent articles

Mariana Mazzucato’s Reveal

Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Life was scandalous enough due to her pro-abortion stance, but looking at her work reveals even more problems with her appointment.

vaccine

Why I Signed “To Awaken Conscience”

The statement “To Awaken Conscience” on so-called “abortion tainted” vaccines was meant to propose an ideal, not give arguments. I signed it because I agree with that ideal. But a philosopher should have reasons too, and here I wish to give them. These reasons also explain why I reject the statement recently offered by some … Read more

Liberalism and Idolatry Go Hand in Hand

“Considered in itself, idolatry is the greatest of mortal sins.” So begins the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on the topic. I was surprised to read that this is the greatest of all mortal sins. Was it worse than murder? Worse even than the sexual abuse of minors? “For it is, by definition,” the entry continues, … Read more

Newman Among the Pachamamas

What would Newman say about the Pachamamas? That’s not actually a question which anyone who studied Newman carefully would ask. It reflects a lack of understanding of the workings of practical intelligence, which Newman took great pains to delineate—as if one could take a proof text out of Newman, and that would give you the … Read more

“We Believe in Gaia, the Mother Almighty…”

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the January 1992 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. I shudder when I hear God called “Mother”—and so do many other Catholics along with me. But what is the reason for this reaction? Is it irrational, or is it justified? Is it mere traditionalism, or good … Read more

The Beauty of Fr. Scalia’s Funeral Homily

Fr. Paul Scalia’s homily at the funeral of his father, Justice Antonin Scalia, was “remarkable in its moving profundity,” as one of my colleagues wrote. But why was the homily so good? Can we analyze it and understand why it was so perfectly appropriate and profound? Such reflections can be helpful to both pastors and … Read more

Crisis Co-Founder Celebrates 80th Year with New Memoir

It is a small detail, but a revealing one, as the small details tend to be.  Michael Novak in the final chapter of his personable memoir tells the story of his first meeting with John Paul II.  Friends of Novak know that Wojtyła counted him as his friend too. But somewhat surprisingly they did not … Read more

Avoiding the Crucifix

According to tradition St. Thomas Aquinas once asked St. Bonaventure how he had acquired the deep theological wisdom he displayed in his writings. St. Bonaventure pointed to a crucifix and said that he had learned all he knew from contemplating it.   If there are any prayerful Catholics in our pews with St. Bonaventure’s talents … Read more

A Positive Agenda: The Compleat Post-Conciliar Catholic

Whether it is because of the wise leadership of John Paul II, or because of changes in the world outside the Church, or simply because all of the dead wood has now had time to fall from the tree, it seems as though the worst is over of the turmoil following the Second Vatican Council. … Read more

Priests — Who Needs Them? Hard Truths about the Vocations Crisis

It is often said that there is a vocations crisis, but this is a terribly vague expression that fails to indicate the problem, and so fails to suggest a solution. The term vocation means calling, so a “vocations crisis” is literally a “calling crisis”—which makes no sense at all. Suppose a man who was charged … Read more

The Cosmic Gender Gap: A Dialogue on God as Mother

I shudder when I hear God called “Mother” — and so do many other Catholics along with me. But what is the reason for this reaction? Is it irrational, or is it justified? Is it mere traditionalism, or good Catholic instinct? The shuddering is justified, I think. Calling God “Mother” requires that one set aside … Read more

War Games: Why Little Boys Should Play with Toy Guns

War is hell, as General Sherman rightly said. But if war is hell, then is playing at war any different from playing at hell? Is it all one, to give our children wooden swords or toy rifles, and to give our children little pitchforks, plastic shovels for fire and brimstone, and fake instruments of torture? … Read more

Observations: Avoiding the Crucifix

According to tradition St. Thomas Aquinas once asked St. Bonaventure how he had acquired the deep theological wisdom he displayed in his writings. St. Bonaventure pointed to a crucifix and said that he had learned all he knew from contemplating it. If there are any prayerful Catholics in our pews with St. Bonaventure’s talents or … Read more

Obstacles to Joy: The Seven Deadly Sins Today

Counting is an act of love. It is impossible to count without pausing and attending. A child who reckons up his marbles stops and handles each one as he counts them. He knows their exact number, like the woman who swept her house until she found the one missing coin of the ten. And Jesus … Read more

Bible-Only Christianity?

Christ Didn’t Write A Book. He Founded A Church. The cooperation between Catholics and evangelical Protestants in pro-life work is an instance of authentic ecumenism. These Christians experience at firsthand what unites and what divides them. For example, there is an undeniable awkwardness when the Catholics take out their rosaries at a demonstration or rescue. … Read more

A Cardinal Error: Does the “Seamless Garment” Make Sense?

Recently the National Catholic Register ran a brief news story with the headline, “‘Consistent ethic’ theory clarified.” The story ran: “Answering critics of his ‘consistent ethic of life’ philosophy, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago said August 8 that in the final analysis Catholics can vote against a political candidate because of the candidate’s support for … Read more

Observations: The Corruption of Charity

The greatest pagan philosopher, Aristotle, thought that it was impossible to love one’s enemies or to love a wicked man. On this last point he is frank and explicit: it is impossible to love what isn’t loveable; a wicked man is not loveable; so it’s not possible to love him. We might think that this … Read more

A Grammar of Dissent: The Case Against “Cafeteria Catholics”

Dissenting Catholics are often accused of practicing “pick and choose” Catholicism. This immediately raises the question: Is there some unified point of view that is adopted by dissenters? At first glance, it would seem not. Different dissenters select not to believe in different doctrines, presumably for different reasons. It is sometimes said that the problem … Read more

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