I’ve begun to suspect I may be approaching a personal metanoia on race.  I didn’t think I needed one.  After all, I was raised with an unquestioned, matter-of-fact sense of racial equity and multicultural awareness, including a cross-cultural living experience, from a young age.  I was taught, implicitly and explicitly, that all human beings are equally loved by God and made in his image.  I believed this easily, and still do. I would like to think that is enough.  I would like to… Read more

Love by Sacrifice: Two Competing Perspectives on Moral Living Note: this piece was originally published at The Flood Magazine: http://www.thefloodmag.com/archive/love-by-sacrifice/7 What does it mean to be a good person? This question has been with humans since antiquity, and it has been with me since early childhood. While being raised in the Catholic tradition, I was offered a fairly simple recipe for goodness: thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, honor thy father and mother. As I grew older, the… Read more

A common argument in favor of maintaining funding for Planned Parenthood is that alternative facilities, such as pregnancy help centers and community health centers, lack sufficient resources to serve the patients who receive medical care from PP, and that women’s health would therefore be underserved without it. My response to this is, then isn’t the better solution to redirect the necessary support to those facilities that serve women’s health in fully nonviolent ways? The Consistent Life Network, in a freshly launched project, is… Read more

The ones we try to help and can’t. The ones who fall through the cracks. The ones who stop showing up to the weekly support group, who stop coming to class. The ones we see on the streets a few months later, back in the grip of their addiction. How do we know when we’ve truly done all we can? Why does our mercy have to be so limited? And, where is God in these moments of disconnection, of loss,… Read more

This is a commentary that has become all too routine. My colleagues and I here at Vox Nova have reflected on several occasions on the American idolization of the gun (see here, here, here and here).  It is an idol that our society has long been willing to sacrifice human lives to with numbing regularity, in exchange for an enslavement to fear that we mistake for freedom.  Notwithstanding the legitimate exception of hunting and farming purposes, a gun made and used for the purpose of killing… Read more

Last May marked the five-hundred year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. To commemorate this major upheaval in Europeans’ worldview, one German church unveiled BlessU-2, a robot ¨priest¨ created to spark debate about the future of the church. ¨We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine,¨ said church spokesman Stephen Krebs. While the idea of a robot priest initially seems cute and comical, for me it does serve to provoke debate. Technological change is… Read more

Resolved:  Pope Francis is not a heretic, and is not spreading or promulgating heretical ideas. For two years a debate has been raging about Amoris Laetitia, or more precisely, the correct interpretation of one or more footnotes–e.g. footnote 351: 351 In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November… Read more

I want to return to a post I wrote six years ago, on the question of what to do with the last remaining samples of smallpox.  In that post I was wrestling with the distinctions between dominion and stewardship, using smallpox as an extreme example.  Under a dominion model of creation, we have an absolute right to destroy smallpox both in the natural environment and the last remaining samples–a question which continues to be debated.  Under the stewardship model, I… Read more

Resolved:  Catholics should oppose plans for a universal basic income as being contrary to Catholic Social Teaching. This resolution can be read in a lot of ways, so let me clarify:  I am not opposing disability insurance, welfare payments or unemployment benefits to support those who cannot find work or are unable to work.   Rather, I am thinking of the recent proposals which have arisen, partly out of Silicon Valley types, that the increase in automation and the expansion of… Read more

If there’s one thing I have to credit The Donald for, it’s his marketing savvy. Case in point: what comes to mind when you hear the term “fake news”? At its (still recent) origin, let us remember, the term referred to articles made to look like legitimate news stories that were in fact entirely fabricated – that is, not the work of actual journalists from actual news outlets – many of which, ironically, benefitted the Trump campaign. I say “ironically”… Read more

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