10 Reasons It’s Safe to Come to Mass this Christmas

You've no doubt seen Saturday Night Live's chillingly (hilariously) accurate tour of what you can expect at Mass this Christmas, but you might still be thinking, Hmmn.  Is it really a good idea for someone like me to go to place like that?  With Jesus in it and stuff?The answer is yes.  Here are my top ten reasons why:10. It really is the Church for anybody at all.  There might be other religions where you're expected to have your act together from day one.  Catholics, on the other hand, … [Read more...]

Atheists Advise: Don’t Watch Just Anything, Be Discriminating to Safeguard Your Faith

The Washington Times reports that American Atheists have figured out what Catholics have long proclaimed: American Atheists unveiled Wednesday the “War on Christmas” line-up on its television channel, AtheistTV, featuring “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community.”“Christmas is hard for many atheists, so we will provide programming free from superstition and fairy tales that allows  … [Read more...]

Death by Bad Reasoning: Depressed Mothers Deserve Treatment Not Bereavement

In a mortifying follow-on to our discussion of why we mustn't do evil in an attempt at good, here's a case out of Australia that demonstrates the deadliness of bad ethical systems.  Mother and father are expecting a baby.  It's a desired pregnancy, and mother is doing just fine.  Then, in a routine ultrasound, an abnormality in the baby's hand is discovered.The mother, having been reared in a culture where any physical deformity is a source of both lifelong discrimination for the child and sh … [Read more...]

Subtle Smackdown: Vatican Report on American Women Religious is a Warning for Every Parish and Diocese

Don't let the headlines fool you, the freshly-released Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America, 16.12.2014 is anything but glowing praise.  It's charitable and mannerly, but if you read closely and put on your thinking cap, the findings are harrowing.  All the more so because our religious orders don't exist in some bubble; every sister comes from a Catholic parish, and every sister in turn bestows her vocation on the Church.  W … [Read more...]

Why Can’t We Do Evil that Good Might Come of It? Even to Save a Life? – UPDATED

Erin Arlinghaus challenged me (update below) to explain why it so important for any ethical system, religious or otherwise, to be built on the principles I explain here.  I'll recap them quickly, but check the tutorial for more examples and explanations.Principle #1 is "Double Effect" or "Parallel Effect."  What it means is this: It's okay to do something good, even if there's a chance that something bad might happen.  Without this principle, you literally cannot act.  Everything you do bears … [Read more...]

Is There a Rational Argument in Favor of IVF for Church Employees?

In discussing the recent scandal out of Notre Dame's theology department, a question arose: Would it be possible for Joel Baden and Candida Moss to have argued well against the Catholic position on IVF?  That is, is there another way they could have challenged the Catholic position that would have shown them worthy opponents?I think there is, and I'm going to walk you through my thoughts on that. Before we begin, let's go over some preliminaries:1. I don't for a moment question any as … [Read more...]

IVF, Torture, and Other Hot Moral Topics: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

The topic of ends-vs.-means has been circulating a bunch lately.  Are you allowed to do something that's a little bit bad if it makes it possible to do something very, very good as a result?For example, can you torture your enemies, if you goal isn't pure brutalism, but your own safety?  Others have covered the Catholic response to the recently released torture reports quite thoroughly.  Just a couple:Simcha Fisher tells you: No.Aggie Catholic tells you: No.Another one big one, on … [Read more...]