The special senatorial election in Alabama is over, and Doug Jones has eked out a victory over Roy Moore.   This has been a painful election in many, many ways.  The saddest part for me is that almost no conservatives paid any attention to Roy Moore until he was accused of sexual assault (and overall creepiness).  His racism, misogyny, his anti-Islamic bigotry, his authoritarian tendencies, were just part of the package.  Suddenly there was a great crisis of conscience:  “I don’t… Read more

The death of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner in September drew accolades as well as critiques from, shall we say, some rather strange bedfellows.  Some on the left praised his support for civil rights (that is, he objectified black women too) and his more infamous role in the sexual revolution.  From the right, an editorial in The Federalist bizarrely misnamed his sense of personal entitlement as joie de vivre and his exploitation of women as a celebration of complementarity, and excused all the ugly vulgarity of his… Read more

When I first heard reports about an undocumented teenager’s appeal for an abortion, my heart sank into my stomach.  All I could think was, “This is really, really bad.”  Bad for pro-life concerns and bad for pro-immigrant concerns, because the case can only polarize the two against each other in our current political climate.  And to make matters worse, it presents The Donald with a golden opportunity to style himself as the face of the pro-life movement.  And I shouldn’t… Read more

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: 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

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