reason

The Apple Argument Against Abortion

This essay first appeared in the December 2000 issue of Crisis Magazine.   I doubt there are many readers of this magazine who are pro-choice. Why, then, do I write an argument against abortion for its readers? Why preach to the choir? Preaching to the choir is a legitimate enterprise. Scripture calls it "edification,"or "building [...]

Kodak and the Post Office

  The news that Eastman Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy, after being the leading photographic company in the world for more than a hundred years, truly marks the end of an era. The skills required to use the cameras and chemicals required by the photography of the mid-19th century were far beyond those [...]

Renewing Christendom: The Pope’s Roadmap

At this time of the year, walking from my apartment to the University, shop-windows would usually be all decked in Christmas finery. But instead, what I find are closing-down sales, “for rent” signs and locales completely boarded up. It has been like this for the past couple of years that it feels like the new [...]

Laymen: “Resolve” to Discern God’s Will for You

In one of the scriptural passages most often quoted by Blessed Pope John Paul II during the course of his historic pontificate, a “rich young man” asks the Lord what I consider to be the only question really worth asking once one reaches the age of reason and understands the reality of death: “What must [...]

A Prophetic Novel of the End Times

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. (Eph., 6-12) And yet in spite of this universal world which we see, there is another world, quite as farspreading, quite as close [...]

The “Place” of Christmas

I once read of a Japanese writer who was annoyed that Christ had not appeared in some inn in the hills of Honshu. The logic of this complaint would mean that, to satisfy everyone’s sense of justice, Christ would have to appear in every place. He could not have been born just once in one [...]

Bad Poetry, Bland Theology: Let’s Write a Hymn!

Few parishes can afford to replace or restore the lost art so many pastors ripped out on the pretext that it was "pre-conciliar."  In some cases – I'm thinking of a church in Appalachia with hand-carved relief sculptures of the local flora and fauna – the loss is irreparable.  But poetry doesn't cost a thing. [...]

Not Disruptive Enough

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution Francis Fukuyama; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 272 pages; $25   Francis Fukuyama thinks big and always on the cutting edge. But he’s no windbag intellectual. He actually knows things; he works hard to master the political, economic, and scientific information required to support his breathtaking theoretical claims. [...]

Veterans: What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

In economics, the first lesson I teach my pupils is the lesson of things that are seen and things that are not seen. Actions have some effects that are readily apparent and others are overlooked or not perceived. It’s the same with our military veterans. We see the obvious price they’ve paid—the time they spent [...]

Redeeming the Dreary

One of the fundamental characteristics of modernism, that cultural shift in the way we see the world, ourselves and our condition, was the celebration of the ordinary – ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary people and the ordinary things they do. Not everything about the “modern movement” – which began over a hundred years ago – [...]

Dissenting Catholics’ Modernity Problem

Judging from the hundreds of thousands of Germans who attended and watched Pope Benedict XVI’s September trip to his homeland (not to mention the tsunami of commentaries sparked by his Bundestag address), the pope’s visit was -- once again -- a success. And, once again, it was also an occasion for self-identified dissenting Catholics to [...]

Losing the Faith

Estimates vary, but as much as 25 percent of the American populace is Catholic -- though that number is falling. Islam is on the rise in Europe and America, if its members simply continue reproducing (which they are not doing in some countries). Europeans and Americans continue their population decline. We see many conversions to [...]

Liar’s Paradox

Logicians have an exercise called “The Liar’s Paradox” which is used to illustrate a number of things. The basic scenario is this: Your ship goes down, and eventually you drift ashore, where you are greeted by a native who informs you that everyone on this island always lies. Can you believe him? If what he [...]

Weighty Issues: A Conversation with Kate Wicker

As many as ten million women and men have clinical eating disorders in the United States, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Kate Wicker used to count herself among them. The writer and mother of four found healing by taking a Catholic approach to her body-image struggles. She spoke to Zoe Romanowsky about her new [...]

What Plato Advises

During the Labor Day holiday, I read two dialogues of Plato, the "Timaeus" and the "Parmenides." These are among Plato's longer and more difficult dialogues -- the first about creating the world, and the second about the One. In the "Timaeus," we read: "As the ancient proverb well puts it, 'Only a man of sound [...]

9/11, Benedict XVI and Regensburg

In the flood of commentary surrounding the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I found but one reference to a related anniversary of considerable importance: the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Lecture. That lecture, given the day after the fifth anniversary of 9/11 at the pope’s old university in Germany, identified the two key challenges [...]

A Free Speech Challenge for Parents

Should a 13-year-old be able to purchase a school-shooting simulator without parents’ knowledge or consent? The Supreme Court says that freedom of speech requires that 13-year-olds have that opportunity. In a 7-2 decision, the court struck down a California law barring the sale of graphically violent video games to people under 18. I have not [...]

If Contraception, Why Not Gay Marriage?

In his book Heretics, G. K. Chesterton writes, There are some people -- and I am one of them -- who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, [...]

Hell, Heaven, and Progressive Catholics

With another presidential election looming, it won’t be long before many self-described progressive Catholics start issuing countless statements about numerous policy issues. Though many such Catholics sit rather loosely with Catholic teaching on questions like life and marriage, their “relaxed” position on such issues is belied by their stridency on, for instance, economic matters. Woe [...]

Concupiscence Is Not a Sin

A reader wrote in to ask what I think about this story, where a young boy underwent monstrous "reparative therapy" because he exhibited feminine behavior, only to end up killing himself at 38. As you may have gathered, I think it monstrous. This will no doubt confuse people who have noted that I think homosexual [...]

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