Kenneth D. Whitehead

Kenneth D. Whitehead is a former career diplomat who served in Rome and the Middle East and as the chief of the Arabic Service of the Voice of America. For eight years he served as executive vice president of Catholics United for the Faith. He also served as a United States Assistant Secretary of Education during the Reagan Administration. He is the author of The Renewed Church: The Second Vatican Council’s Enduring Teaching about the Church (Sapientia Press, 2009) and, most recently, Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church’s Teaching to Meet Today’s Needs (St. Paul’s, 2010).

recent articles

The GOP Answer to “War on Women”: Capitulation

A little while back in Crisis, I wrote about how supposedly pro-life Catholic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat, Ed Gillespie, when accused of wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade and enact a personhood amendment to the Constitution—as well as to “ban certain forms of contraception”—oddly replied that he actually wanted to make “contraceptives easier … Read more

Feckless Republican Responses to the “War on Women”

Why has the strategy of a supposed Republican “War on Women” worked so well for the Democrats? It is an almost totally fake issue, yet it has proved to be a potent motivating factor in elections for not a few voters, including especially single women. One obvious reason for this is that the current virtually … Read more

“A Legal Entitlement to Contraceptive Coverage”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision that for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby are not required to provide in their healthcare plans “preventive services” that include abortion-inducing drugs, raises doubts about the constitutionality of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring that all FDA-approved forms of birth control be provided in all … Read more

Marriage Takes a Beating

Traditional marriage has been taking quite a beating ever since the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Windsor case handed down in June 2013, ruled that same-sex unions must be considered true marriages wherever they have been legally enacted as such, whether by legislative action, court action, or referendum. Since then it has been rapidly and … Read more

Media Bias Over Papal Canonizations

The satisfaction and indeed joy that Catholics can derive from the double canonization of Pope-Saints John XXIII and John Paul II cannot be significantly compromised by the objections that some have raised with respect to the Church’s action elevating the two of them to the honor of her altars. Still, it was disconcerting, for example, … Read more

Why “Person of the Year”?

At year’s end Pope Francis was named 2013 “Person of the Year” by two very disparate publications, and while the Roman pontiff tends to loom large on the world scene in almost any year, it is not entirely clear why this time around he was selected both by Time magazine and by an LGBT publication, … Read more

Virginia Election Result Should Not Discourage Social Conservatives

The recent 2013 Virginia off-year gubernatorial election quite understandably attracted considerable national attention. As a northern Virginia resident since 1982, I have followed, and have often been locally involved in, a number of these Virginia elections, including this one. A few observations on it from the standpoint of a grass-roots worker may add a perspective … Read more

It’s Time to Get “Obsessed” About Opposing Today’s Moral Evils

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that some 53 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly, and some 65 percent of those who attend Mass less frequently, would favor a law legalizing so-called same-sex “marriage” in spite of the Church’s clear teaching that any true marriage must always and necessarily be between a man and a … Read more

The Irrationality of the Court’s DOMA Decision

So-called same-sex marriage is not yet the law of the land, although in its U.S. v. Windsor case handed down on June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court nevertheless recognized it as truly a marriage in those jurisdictions where it has been legalized by some official action. How the high court could ever have legalized … Read more

Why Catholics Must Fight “Lost Causes”

Much has been said, maybe pretty much everything that needs to be said, about  former First Things editor Joseph Bottum throwing in the towel over the same-sex marriage fight. He believes that the legalization of this aberration is already a done deal and that Catholics should simply accept it henceforth as a civil matter. It’s … Read more

Has Marriage Already Been “Redefined”?

Nobody knows how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the two cases concerning so-called same-sex “marriage,” the California Proposition 8 case and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, on which the high court recently heard two days of testimony. However, some of the comments made by several justices in the course of the … Read more

Putting the Pope in His Place

The decision of Pope Benedict XVI to renounce the Petrine ministry has understandably brought about a plethora of public reactions, not all of them favorable, and including not a few that resemble the familiar animadversions quite regularly made today against the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith. Although in this case applied to Pope Benedict … Read more

Catholic Reaction to Obama’s HHS “Compromise”

There was surely never any chance that the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could revise its current birth prevention mandate in a way that would be acceptable to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The stated purpose of this HHS mandate all along has been to provide universal coverage at … Read more

Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Be Settled on Liberal Terms

As we marked the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in America, much was—rightly—made of the cover of the January 14 issue of Time magazine with its accompanying article declaring that “40 Years Ago Abortion-Rights Advocates Won a Resounding Victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve Been Losing Ever Since.” If only. Time might not be the … Read more

The Catholic Left’s Latest Call for the Ordination of Women

In early December the independent and very liberal National Catholic Reporter weekly newspaper published a long, carefully reasoned editorial declaring that “The Ordination of Women Would Correct an Injustice.” If the Church were deliberately perpetrating an injustice in the matter of ordination, of course, it would be a serious matter. The NCR editorial was a … Read more

The Contraceptive Imperative

You don’t have to go out of your way today to be confronted with the subject of contraception. In November, 2012, the United Nations Population Fund issued its annual report entitled “By Choice, Not by Chance,” describing contraception as a global “right” for women, and calling for the removal of all social and financial obstacles … Read more

Does Paul Ryan Threaten the Common Good?

An organization called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good came out on October 9 with what it announced was a “Catholic Call to Protect the Endangered Common Good.” It is entitled “On All of Our Shoulders,” and it has no less than 157 signatories describing themselves as “Catholic theologians, academics, and ministers concerned for … Read more

Latest Challenge to HHS Mandate Rejected by Federal Court: A Sign of What’s to Come?

The recent decision by a federal court in Missouri to reject one of the lawsuits challenging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “Obamacare” mandate, requires near universal carrying of insurance plans that cover, gratis, contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs raises troubling questions about how the courts generally are going to rule on the … Read more

Catholic Theologians Reject the Mandatum

They’re at it again. On September 15, the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) issued a lengthy paper entitled “Theologians, Catholic Higher Education and the Mandatum,” designed to tear out the heart of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The CTSA paper argues against the principle of the bishop’s mandatum. While the bishops appear to be moving ahead … Read more

Biblical Scholarship and the Church

Biblical scholarship is usually granted instant credibility today because it is considered “scientific.” Thus, the findings of the Jesus Seminar, however ill-founded, nev­ertheless quickly become front-page news. The assumption is that “science” has once again exploded claims about the Jesus found in the New Testament and preached by the Church. On the other hand, the … Read more

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