SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
C C Pecknold

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November 26, 2019
On November 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed into law sweeping new legislation that not only expands access to abortion, and abortifacient drugs, but effectively demands that every crisis pregnancy clinic, hospital, school, faith-based business and church conform to the new secular dogma that abortion is healthcare. Or else. The so-called “Boss Bill”
November 22, 2019
It seems unthinkable to us today, but for centuries parents allowed their young sons to be sexually mutilated before puberty if they seemed to have great promise as singers. That’s because there was enormous social reward for the castrati. Mutilating an eight- or nine-year-old boy was also a kind of hormonal therapy which had a range of
November 19, 2019
Aristotle argued that the purpose of the state was to help citizens lead the good life, and that the highest good was happiness. Of course he was perfectly aware that people might differ about what would make a city happy. Some might say wealth, power or pleasure, while others might say virtue. But Aristotle doesn’t
November 15, 2019
This past week, during the general assembly of the US bishops, one bishop insisted that defending innocent life in the womb was not a “preeminent priority.” Rather, he implied the issue needs to be balanced against a wide range of important issues to which the Holy Father gives greater priority. It was a relativizing objection
November 12, 2019
Catholic University students were treated last night to a screening of a remarkable new documentary on the life and witness of Cardinal Francis George, OMI. The former Archbishop of Chicago is remembered for raising the intellectual standard of the episcopate, and insisting upon the importance of intelligent evangelization in a secularizing culture. His sharp warnings
November 08, 2019
When Pope Leo XIII wrote Rerum Novarum he faced the absolutism of state socialism to his left, and the absolutism of laissez-faire capitalism to his right. He saw both strands of industrial age absolutism as existential threats to human dignity, to families, to the common good of nations, and as a threat to the Church.
November 05, 2019
The financial scandals of Rome do not exercise many of us the way that the sexual scandals of the past have done. That is understandable. Money is more abstract. It seems less personal. We are less sensitive to the harm it causes. But all of the other disorderings of the world which we rightly lament begin
November 01, 2019
Pope Francis teaches that the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” This is in harmony with Augustine and Aquinas alike. From the height of the altar flows the sacrifice of salvation for sinners. Who would not want to receive this purifying principle? Who would
October 29, 2019
It’s very well-known that many priests, religious, bishops and theologians expected a change in Church teaching on contraception following the Second Vatican Council. That particular progressive hope was dashed by the weighty truths of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae reaffirming the Church’s perennial teaching. However, many forget that the other grand disappointment for those 70s
October 25, 2019
On Wednesday, in an acceptance speech for the Saint John Paul II New Evangelization Award, Robert George said that there is no longer any need to pretend about liberal neutrality. Liberals have always smuggled in substantive commitments through procedural pretenses of viewpoint neutrality, but now they feel this is no longer needed given their triumph
October 22, 2019
The Amazon Synod has displayed a bewildering array of images representative of various values and aspects of indigenous cultures. Some images, such as a woman suckling her own baby as well a fawn, evoke a sense of eco-religion that has many Christians confused about the kind of dialogue the Church is seeking with the world
October 18, 2019
Nearly a decade ago, Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at the Johns Hopkins University, published a book called The Marriage-Go-Round which brought thirty years of research to bear on the state of marriage in America. One of his several dramatic findings was that Americans no longer saw marriage as something foundational for their lives but rather
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