United States

Why Is the Federal Government Disciplining Frat Boys?

  Last October a group of Yale freshmen pledging a fraternity made jackasses of themselves by marching around the campus chanting a vulgar slur against women. Complaints poured in and the university took action. Several fraternity members were disciplined and Yale banned the offending fraternity from all campus activities for five years, saying “the actions were [...]

Scandal Déjà Vu

A religion writer for a secular news organization and a retired church official were comparing notes on developments relating to clergy sex abuse. At the time, the Vatican was preparing to issue guidelines for bishops' conferences in handling the problem (the American conference has had guidelines for nine years). The U.S. bishops were getting ready [...]

Reactions to the John Jay Report

  Yesterday, the John Jay College research team released their report on the clerical sex-abuse scandal, titled "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010." First, hats off to the U.S. bishops for commissioning the report and outsourcing the investigation to the John Jay College of [...]

The Death of Osama bin Laden

The death of Osama bin Laden did not end the war against jihadism, a war bin Laden had declared against the United States in a 1996 fatwa that mandated the killing of Americans wherever they could be targeted. But it did take one key leader of jihadist Islam off the global strategic chessboard. The death [...]

1943: The Soul Means Nothing

Benedetto Croce died in 1952, the same year in which Albert Einstein had to protest to his friend Maurice Solovine, "lest you think that weakened by age I have fallen into the hands of priests." In 1943, Croce had to do something similar, as his essays on philosophic idealism increasingly gave the impression that he [...]

Are Abortion Laws Unenforceable?

The abortion laws in the United States, as a result of a series of Supreme Court decisions starting with Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and continuing through the 1980s and 1990s, have become the most permissive in the Western world, allowing abortions even in the third trimester. Most Western European countries, with the [...]

Guidelines for the Protection of Priests

When the United States bishops meet in Seattle in June for their semiannual conference, they will review the implementation of the 2002 "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." It has served, for almost ten years, as the primary mechanism to safeguard minors from sexual abuse in the American Catholic Church. While the [...]

Catholic Social Thought and the 2012 Election

  Barring an international conflagration or another 9/11, both of which may God forbid, the 2012 election is going to be fought on the question of America's fiscal future: Will the United States get a grip now, and over the next several decades, on the costs associated with an aging society? Or will we spend-and-borrow [...]

Millionaires in America

  Recently, CNN’s Money.com posted an article bearing the title, “U.S. Millionaires Population Expanded by 8 Percent in 2010.” According to the article, there are now approximately 8.4 million millionaires in the United States, and last year’s increase was due primarily to rising stock prices, following a 27-percent decline in the number of millionaires in [...]

The Libyan Quagmire

The Libyan affair -- one does not know what to call it; not a war precisely, more an "experimental bombing" -- is one in which both Canada and the United States are participating. We have a general election going on up here in the Great White North (where it is still snowing as I write, [...]

American Timidity?

America's founding documents -- the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers -- are, when read, potentially lethal. Debates about American exceptionalism abound. Writing in the Wall Street Journal before the bombings in Libya, Daniel Henninger brought these currents together in the context of present Arab world turmoil as they relate to Chinese [...]

Should we reconsider nuclear power?

Along with all the other troubling reports out of Japan, Americans seem to be keeping a particularly close eye on updates about the nation's nuclear power plants, two of which were disabled in the immediate wake of the disaster. Joe Lieberman, among others, has suggested we "quickly put the brakes on" nuclear power in this [...]

Rowing Upstream: On Being Catholic in the Modern World

Many years ago I was attending my first faculty reception at my first formal faculty appointment, at Stanford, and was met at the receiving line by the sponsoring dean with a warm handshake and the baffling words, "I want to tell you that I have the greatest admiration for your Church." The two of us [...]

The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

One of the least-known stories of the Irish who immigrated to America in the 1840s is that of the Irish battalion that fought on the Mexican side in the U.S. - Mexico War of 1846-1848. They came to Mexico and died, some gloriously in combat, others ignominiously on the gallows. United under a green banner, [...]

The best coverage of protests in Egypt

Hands down, the best coverage of the crisis in Egypt is coming from Al Jazeera English (AJE). I was originally introduced to the news source by an American friend -- a conservative Republican and military veteran who has lived and worked in the Middle East for years. "It's the best news channel in the world," [...]

How do we reduce annulments?

In his annual speech to the Roman Rota, the tribunal that handles annulments, Pope Benedict told priests they must do a better job preparing couples for marriage. The Associated Press reports that the pope said no one has the right to a church wedding and that every Catholic bride and groom should intend to live [...]

Out of darkness, light

I'm only just now reading through the full account of the charges being brought against Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was arrested yesterday and charged with eight counts of murder. It is painful, stomach-churning stuff. As the district attorney's office put it, "Pennsylvania is not a Third World country" -- and yet this man was [...]

My New Year’s Wish for President Obama

At a restaurant in Jerusalem last August, I listened incredulously as two prominent Israeli journalists explained to me that President Obama did not care about a second term. Obama, they told me, was going to forge ahead toward an Israeli-Palestinian agreement with total disregard for any political fallout. It was Obama's nature, they each asserted, to put [...]

First approved Marian apparition in the U.S.

A little chapel in Wisconsin called Our Lady of Good Help has officially become the first site in the United States of a validated Marian apparition, according to the New York Times. In 1859, a Belgian immigrant named Adele Brise claims to have been visited by Mary three times. The Blessed Mother instructed Brise to devote her [...]

A new cause of action?

Belgium is certainly on the cutting edge of things!  Not only are their doctors boldly euthanizing patients sans request, their lawyers have come up with a new basis upon which to sue: wrongful life. Similar to the already widely-accepted cause of action "wrongful death", this new twist allows parents to sue a doctor on behalf [...]