About Ben Conroy

Ben Conroy is a columnist with The Irish Catholic, an intern at The Iona Institute, a contributor to discussions and debates in the Irish media, and an aspiring fantasy author.

The End of the Beginning

Goodbye Bear

So, here we are - my time as a guest blogger here at the Anchorhold has come to an end.I have to emphasise the extent to which this whole thing came as a bolt from the blue - a random act of grace. I emailed Elizabeth to get Leah Libresco's email address because I was trying to see if she'd give a talk while she was visiting Ireland. Leah ended up doing the talk (we're still talking about it), and I ended up doing a guest post for her blog while she was over here. Then Elizabeth invited me … [Read more...]

Why Does Moral Absolutism Work (Some of the Time)?

written in stone

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam recently had a very cordial exchange on the merits of legalising prostitution – so cordial, in fact, that they were accused of doing Twitter fights wrong.Salam was making a reluctant case based on harm reduction, which followed a familiar pattern: “people are going to buy sex anyway, and legalising it will make things safer for those selling sex.” Douthat, in defending the Swedish model (where selling sex is not criminalised, but buying is) made two arguments. Th … [Read more...]

Christian Right? Christian Left? It’s Great to Have a Christian Anything

I hope you all appreciate the fact that I'm going to get a truly gargantuan amount slagging for all this flag-waving.

I’ve written two posts worth of thoughts on the idea of an authentically Christian left-wing political movement, and they’ve mostly consisted of cautions and warnings – obstacles to be overcome, temptations to be avoided.That may run the risk of under-emphasising how glad I am that people are thinking about such a movement, and indeed, how glad I am that it’s possible for people of all political stripes to unabashedly talk, in mainstream media outlets, about being inspired, not just by the ch … [Read more...]

The Good, the Bad and the Legal

Never let it be said that I don't run a thematic thread through my blog posts.

Ireland was up in front of the UN Committee on Human Rights last week, and received something of a shellacking for our alleged record of human rights violation.A good deal of it was entirely deserved, but when committee members started saying that Ireland’s anti-abortion laws (still relatively strong, though recently weakened) were in violation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (one of two 1966 treaties that put into force the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), my e … [Read more...]

Homosexuality, Celibacy and Partnership: An Awkward Question

man_leaning_on_big_red_question_mark

Guest Blogger: BEN CONROYI don’t need to tell anyone that the Catholic Church’s relationship with gay people has been a fraught one.But I don’t think it’s pollyannaish or foolishly optimistic to say that there are intimations, signs, and beginnings of a better approach to the whole question, one that is consistent with both orthodox teaching and the lived experience of gay people.It’s been led by a group of gay Catholics – like Eve Tushnet, Aaron Taylor, Gabriel Blanchard, and Melinda … [Read more...]

Changing Hearts, Minds, and ‘Senses’

I've photoshopped the text to read "let all the uncool be gone from here."

In the last post, we talked about ‘senses’, the gut feelings, unquestioned assumptions, and ‘unknown unknowns’ that frame our thoughts and beliefs, often deciding what we choose to accept and reject.We concluded by posing some questions: How do people form and change their narratives, their “senses”, their social imaginaries? Can it even be done? How can we know our unknown unknowns, anyway? And aren’t Catholics as sense-bound as the next guy? Not being Damon Lindelof, I try to make a habit … [Read more...]

‘Sense’ and Sensibility (In Defence of Donald Rumsfeld)

Serving as a human hook for discussions of epistemology since

I don’t know the man, but I’d wager that Donald Rumsfeld treasures “Top 10 Dumbest Political Statements” articles rather more than the average retired politician.Because, of course, “Top 10 Dumbest Political Statements” pieces have a reasonable chance of including Rumsfeld’s memorable declaration on 'unknown unknowns – and thus of reminding Rumsfeld that despite everything, on this particular point he was considerably smarter than his critics.Every single time I read someone dismiss the “ … [Read more...]

Outwitting the Language Assassins (SYNOD)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Greetings to one and to all! Guest blogger Ben Conroy here. First of all, a go raibh míle maith agat to the magnificent Anchoress that is as heartfelt as it may be cheesy. It’s an overwhelming honour to be posting here, and I will do my very best to live up to the ludicrously generous introduction Elizabeth has given me.As the Patheos Catholic Channel's Synodal Summer Symposium draws to a close, I keep thinking of the passage from Mary Eberstadt’s How The West Really Lost God that the Sym … [Read more...]


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