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The Smartest Woman You Never Knew: Gretchen Passantino Coburn

Gretchen Passantino Coburn died last week at the age of 62. Although virtually all of my Catholic readers, and most of my Protestant ones, have likely never heard of her, she was, along with her late husband, Bob Passantino, an important influence on many of us who considered ourselves to be intellectually serious Evangelicals.Although I had heard of the legendary Passantinos during my days in college in the early 1980s, I had never actually met them until April 1991, when I was in southern California attending the Far West Region Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. I do not re … [Read More...]

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On “Slippery Slopes”: A Response to Richard Mouw

That's the title of my latest essay over at The Catholic Thing. It is a response to a First Things blog post by Richard Mouw. Here's how my piece begins: My friend, Richard Mouw, a philosopher and former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, has raised an important challenge about the use of counterexamples when making one’s case on certain controversial moral and political questions.He shares one of the arguments he employs to explain to his friends why he opposes the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” (SSM): “If we are to operate as a society on the assumption that any sincerel … [Read More...]

Tim Challies says Pope Francis is a false teacher, but misunderstands Catholic view of justification.

You can read it here. I had heard of Tim Challies years ago. And I may have actually met or corresponded with him at some point in the past, but I do not recall.  He seems like a nice guy, and I have no doubt that he is a devoted pastor, husband, and father.In any event, I bring his blog post to your attention, since it serves as an excellent example of a talented writer misunderstanding the Catholic view on justification. Although there is more to Challies' judgment of the Holy Father than h … [Read More...]

My chapter in the new book, Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order: Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith

Northern Illinois University Press has just published Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order: Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith. Edited by Paul DeHart (Texas State University)  and Carson Holloway (University of Nebraska, Omaha), I am proud to be one of the contributors along with Peter Augustine Lawler (Berry College), Robert C. Koons (University of Texas), J. Budziszewski (University of Texas), James Stoner, Jr. (Louisiana State University), R. J Snell (Eastern University), Ralph C. … [Read More...]

Happy Birthday, Frankie!

Today is my wife Frankie's birthday.What follows is one of the many poems I wrote to her over the years. This one in particular was penned in the mid-1980s while we were dating. It is called "Elusive Valentine." Elusive Valentine I'm finally relaxed After two weeks of being here And my time is never taxed Whenever she is near She doesn't wear a monogram She's got an independent mind She admires Billy Graham She's an elusive valentine There's something 'bout this city That always … [Read More...]

Another summer at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado

During this upcoming summer (2014) I will be lecturing at 5 of the 7 two-week sessions at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado. (May 29; June 20; July 24; August 8; August 21). I will be giving two talks dealing with philosophical challenges to Christian belief, as well as conducting a one hour open forum. At the open forum students can ask me questions, though this session always develops into an extended conversation on a variety of issues.I have been a lecturer at Summit since … [Read More...]

The paper I gave in Rome published in NCBQ: “On Making the Case for Life: On St. Peter’s Counsel to Always Be Ready”

Last year I was invited by the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization to participate in an education conference in Rome on John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae.  Held at the Pontificia Università Urbaniana, the keynote address was given by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, which was followed by papers given by myself and Robert Royal (Faith & Reason Institute). A revised version of my  Rome talk, entitled "On Making the Case for Life: On St. Peter's Counsel to Always … [Read More...]

Justice Kagan, You Gotta Serve Somebody

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: Reading the transcript of Tuesday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases, I came across this exchange between Justice Elena Kagan and the attorney for Hobby Lobby, Paul Clement:MR. CLEMENT: Well, just to put this in concrete terms, for Hobby Lobby, for example, the choice is between paying a 500 – a $475 million per year penalty and paying a $26 million per year cov … [Read More...]

My NRO Interview – “Abortion and Human Equality: How to return the debate to the essential questions 41 years after Roe.”

That's the title of Kathryn Jean Lopez's interview of me in today's National Review Online. Here's how it begins:KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What are your thoughts as D.C. is about to see a March for Life against 41 years of legal abortion in America?FRANCIS J. BECKWITH: Even though the advocates of the belief that unborn life lacks moral status have had over four decades to completely inoculate the wider culture from the sanctity-of-life ethic (through the media, the academy, and … [Read More...]

George C. Scott Explains Calvinism in 3 Minutes

(HT: First Things)From the 1979 movie Hardcore. (Language Warning: F-word employed at the end) … [Read More...]

The Day I Met Jesus in Las Vegas

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: Several days before my 13th birthday, in late October of 1973, I had a dream that was so vivid that when I woke up the next morning I was convinced that it was no mere dream. As I note in my 2009 memoir, Return to Rome, in the dreamJesus and I “were sitting, facing each other, with the landscape of heaven in the background. He spoke to me. Over thirty years later, I cannot honestly recall the words he … [Read More...]

Neuhaus’ Law and Beckwith’s Law

"Beckwith's Law" is the title of  the latest column I published over at The Catholic Thing. It concerns what I have dubbed, unsurprisingly,  "Beckwith's Law": Whenever a practitioner of a traditional vice appeals to the right of privacy as the justification for the state to leave him alone to engage in that vice, he will inevitably demand that the state require that those who morally disapprove of his practice cooperate with it, either materially or formally. My column begins this way: The l … [Read More...]

Obamacare Death Spiral Blog

Called the "ACA Death Spiral blog," I just came across it via the Faculty Lounge blog. It is run by Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center. It seems like a real good resource to understand some of the complicated issues that are arising as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act. Here's how Professor Chandler introduced his blog in his first post (13 November 2013): This blog is going to chronicle what I believe will be the implosion of the Affordable Care Act.   … [Read More...]

My new article in Ratio Juris: “Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage”

Earlier this week I was informed that my article, "Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage," has just been published in the journal Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law 26.4 (December 2013): 487-509. Here is the abstract of the article: Supporters of Justificatory Liberalism (JL)—such as John Rawls and Gerard Gaus—typically maintain that the state may not coerce its citizens on matters of constitutional essentials unless it can provide public justif … [Read More...]


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