June 10, 2021

A couple of months ago, I examined the case of a lay moral theologian who presumed to offer advice to an elderly Catholic married couple about their sex life. I’ve noted there and elsewhere that, toward the end of my tenure at Catholic Answers, the apostolate moved away from the one-to-one apologetics I specialized in, preferring to focus strictly on theology and philosophy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Catholic Answers chose to open up its platform to “Dear… Read more

April 29, 2021

I like to say that I became a professional Catholic apologist by “on the job training.” In addition to continuing education in the faith, I also started out working under the supervision of a manager at Catholic Answers. For the first six months or so after I was promoted to staff apologist, my manager double-checked the answers I wrote in response to clients on Catholic Answers’ platforms and reviewed everything I submitted for publication. For the most part, I learned… Read more

April 28, 2021

Today is the feast of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian physician who died of septic peritonitis on April 28, 1962, following the birth of her fourth child. Every year around this time, Catholic and pro-life social media is filled with tributes to Gianna’s heroism in refusing an abortion to save her own life, essentially turning her story into a morality play. The lovely young Wife and Mother, so goes the story, bravely scorns her Evil Physicians’ advice to abort… Read more

April 19, 2021

Imagine, if you will, that you are a woman in her seventies, happily married for over forty years. Your 70-something husband has been very considerate of the physical issues that arise with advancing age—not only agreeing that marital intercourse isn’t possible (for whatever private reasons the two of you have presumably assessed) but to separate bedrooms so you both can get a good night’s sleep. Then, one fine evening, you’re happily kissing your husband good night when he takes you… Read more

January 28, 2021

No, I’m not going to offer expressions of remorse for outing myself in Why I’m a Pro-Choice, Pro-Life Catholic. I was a professional Catholic apologist for seventeen years, working for the apologetics apostolate, Catholic Answers. For me, “apologizing” often meant “explaining and defending” a position. In this essay, I don’t intend to express remorse for what I said, but I will take a closer look at a couple of concerns my public acknowledgment that I’m pro-choice (and pro-life) inspired and… Read more

January 27, 2021

About a week ago, Joseph Strickland, the bishop of Tyler, Texas, and an active tweeter, took to his social media soapbox to once again agitate against the COVID-19 vaccines on the erroneous basis “that ANY vaccine available today involves using murdered children before they could even be born.” He’s taken this stance despite confirmation from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses… Read more

December 14, 2020

Joe Biden is the second Catholic to be elected President of the United States, a fact that has added fuel to a longstanding debate in the Church in the United States. Many conservative American Catholics prefer to frame the debate as a matter of canon law. Should American bishops enforce canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law? If so, how should that be done? To review, canon 915 states: Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has… Read more

December 11, 2020

Welcome to Advent, that time of year when Christians ponder the deep mysteries of the birth of Christ—and start arguing about the Virgin Mary. Protestants and Catholics usually bicker over whether the Virgin and St. Joseph had other children after Christ was born. Catholics argue among themselves over the details of Christ’s birth, in particular how he was born. Was he born in the same manner most humans are born, via natural childbirth, or was his birth in some way… Read more

November 30, 2020

Some years ago, the big Christmas news story was that churches were closing for Christmas. No, there wasn’t a pandemic sweeping the globe, nor was there a polar vortex expected to hit on Christmas Day. What calamity was causing churches to lock up and tell the faithful to stay home that year? Christmas would fall on Sunday. This Christmas [in 2005], no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country. Even though the holiday falls this year on… Read more

November 25, 2020

I bit back a smile when I saw a new essay pop up on Catholic Answers’ web site today. David Dashiell, a freelance writer and lecturer at Franciscan University of Steubenville, wrote on “the sin of scandal—and how not to commit it.” I couldn’t help but think about my own recent essays outing myself as pro-choice and struggling with the faith. It had taken me a considerable amount of soul searching before writing on such intensely personal topics, but I… Read more

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