Countercultural Moral Norms

On the Strange Function of Absolutes

Most people today “absolutely” maintain that they do not hold or live by “absolutes.” They live by their desires and choices, which are readily changeable. No one is much bothered by the “logic” of his own views. The proposition that “No absolutes exist” is itself an absolute. If it is true, an absolute exists. If [...]

Do Ideals Matter Anymore?

Man is a rational animal. From a moral standpoint, that means he aspires to act—and often does act—in accordance with principles that join together to form an ideal of life. He’s also social, so his ideals aren’t simply individual. In part that’s because they relate to social functions. What is it to be a proper [...]

Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age

A few weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting. Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The priest presented the truth in [...]

Gay Scouting as the New Normal

My favorite of Russell Kirk’s many books always has been Enemies of the Permanent Things.  This wonderful, at times ironic, volume is a collection of social commentary, hopeful reminders of work still being done by important thinkers, and biting criticism. The book signals its central theme in its subtitle, “Observations of Abnormity in Literature and [...]

Five Things the Church Must Do (to Make Catholics as Zealous as Jehovah’s Witnesses)

I was at the supermarket one Sunday after Mass when I saw them: African; first- and second-generation family, of the sort one sees even in New Hampshire sometimes. And I think they noticed me, too -- for we were the only ones in the whole place wearing suits. My excuse for the suit was lector [...]

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