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...]

More Bad Arguments: The Good Man Defense

Moving beyond any particular example of terrible writing, I want to address a non-argument I've seen circulating among Catholics of good will lately.  If you're going to be Catholic, set yourself firmly in favor of the truth.  If you're going to set yourself in favor of the truth, you need to know a non-argument when you see it.Again, I'm writing here not to philosophers, but to ordinary internet people like myself. Good Guys Do Bad Things Here's an example of a typical round.  Sam Rocha wr … [Read more...]

Hating the Holidays as the Precursor to Happiness

You're supposed to be happy now, because it's the holidays.  The rest of the year, a civil disposition generally suffices.  But for the next eight weeks, if you aren't madly in love with every gift, every canape, every delightful holiday fete . . . you aren't just an ungrateful wretch, you're a menace to society. There are Good Reasons to Hate the Holidays The thing about the modern holiday season is that it's come unmoored.  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, we celebrate Thanks-Getting -- he … [Read more...]

In Favor of Incompetent Housewives

 Your must-read column for today is Calah Alexander's essay on what it's like being part of the current generation of incompetents, "Those Pathetic Millenial Moms.". . .  I was raised by a loving, attentive mother who stayed home until I was in high school. But culture is pervasive. Kids learn it through osmosis, and unless you lock them in a fortress, they’re gonna pick up on it. “Stay-at-home-mom” had a negative connotation for me from the time I began hearing “mom” qualified as su … [Read more...]

A Right Relationship with Sister Death

The media is gushing over another high-profile suicide, which is of course high-profile precisely because the media chooses to gush over it.  What sane people do, when they learn that someone is contemplating killing themselves, is gently suggest a chat with the doctor about pain management.  Or they come over and help with the laundry. Dear Reporters, You are allowed to use both your brain and your moral sense when choosing how to cover a story.  When someone calls you with a big Suicide Sc … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – Prostitute Nation and a Jar of Perfume

If you want to understand the clerical food fight portion of this month's Synod on the Family, what you need to know about is sexting.Not the Catholic kind, the other kind.Your must-read article for this month is The Atlantic's feature Why Kids Sext.  It's long, and you should read the whole thing.Points to ponder as you do so:Louisa County is normal America.  There's nothing "different" that explains why there was suddenly a website full of students' naked images running on I … [Read more...]


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