Vox Nova is pleased to present the following guest post by Lillian Vogl. What does it mean to be “centrist”? It alludes to being in the center of a political map, but to understand what that means we need to agree on the map. The most traditional political distinction is between “right” and “left,” a one-dimensional spectrum that could place anyone who doesn’t fit comfortably near one of the poles as being “centrist.” The problem with this conception is that… Read more

With every ritual post-shooting “national discussion,” I grow more weary of saying the same things, and wary of suggesting that anything may be different this time.  We seem every time to be stuck in a vicious cycle in which public horrors provoke much noise and little action (legislatively or otherwise), having accepted these periodic and increasingly frequent tragedies as the cost of what we think is freedom.  At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly hard to deny that we have… Read more

In his weekly appearance on the PBS NewsHour, and his frequent role of sensible centrist, David Brooks recently made a case for an even-keeled, incrementalist approach to gun control (that part of the conversation starts at about 7:45 in this segment). Brooks spoke about the need to “take the temperature down” and not to “ramp up the culture war” in order to move a few congressional Republicans toward “realistic gun legislation” on practical grounds.  He has a point: there is… Read more

Hi everyone! Tomorrow, Monday, February 26, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is leading a national call-in day to urge Congress to take action to protect the Dreamers (immigrants brought to the US at a young age and protected from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) from deportation by working out a legal solution to their situation. PLEASE participate in this call-in tomorrow. It will only take a few minutes, and of course you do… Read more

Two administrative notes for our readers.  First, I believe that I have resolved some long standing issues with comments on our blog.  No one has been blocked, and we were not ignoring your comments:  they were vanishing down a rabbit hole that I could not get into.  I want to apologize to our readers and my fellow bloggers for this. I now have better control over moderation, and I hope that this will not be a problem in the future. … Read more

The federal budget proposal released this week is in some ways a predictable reflection of the twisted priorities of a global superpower: yet more military spending at the expense of aid to the country’s poorer citizens.  And in a further twist, a particular concern about potential cuts to SNAP and Medicaid was expressed in a brief segment on my local NPR station – by a head of veteran housing services. Just let the irony of that sink in.  For all… Read more

As a lifelong lover of books, I’ve often encountered authors whom I really can’t say I like that much– and yet, I keep on reading them. And sometimes, if I read them long enough, I eventually grow to respect and even enjoy them. For me, one of these writers is the great British fiction writer and essayist C.S. Lewis, known best for his Christian apologetics. As a child, I loved Lewis – indeed, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe… Read more

Mark Shea wrote a post on his blog some time back where he basically disavowed any involvement with Catholic Tribe Right. Knowing Mark as I do, I knew it was not that he was becoming any sort of lefty, per se – he is by temperament and sensibility more righty than lefty – it was more that he could no longer abide the contortions the Catholic Right had to do to justify their tribal priorities.  During the Bush administration, Mark… Read more

Many years ago I wrote a post on survey data from the Guttmacher Institute on use of Natural Family Planning.  To quote from my lede: The report finds that only 2% of Catholic women use natural family planning, and that this number does not vary significantly when frequency of mass attendance is taken into account.   The figure rises to 3% among married Catholic women. This provoked an interesting discussion going in several directions, one of which was challenging the numbers… Read more

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