Left, Right, Prudence, Principle, and Catholic Social Doctrine

From Web Exclusives

A long-running battle between the so-called Catholic left and the so-called Catholic right concerns which political issues the Church should speak about and which ones she shouldn’t. One crucial distinction is that teaching the basic principles of Catholic social doctrine go to the heart of her charism, but she has no special expertise in prudential judgments about how to apply them. Continue Reading »

Evangelizing Christians

From the October 2014 Print Edition

If baptism isn’t just a symbol of initiation but is an initiation, then Zach was already a Christian. God’s seal had been impressed indelibly on his soul. The inky divine thumbprint declared, “Mine.” He was adopted into God’s family, inducted into the knighthood of worship.Not that anyone would have known. If he was a knight, he was an errant one, a wanderer in search of adventures, mostly the kind that can be had in women’s beds. Though he “thought of himself as a Christian,” he lived like any hedonist, taking his beliefs about living, dying, God, good, and evil from the nonbelieving world in which he lived.One day when he visited a new church, the desert of his heart was strangely moistened. Looking back on the experience, he said that he had never “heard” the Gospel of grace until that day. Familiar story? Continue Reading »

This Time Will Not Be the Same

From the March 2014 Print Edition

God willing, the new evangelization will happen, but let us not imagine that this time will be like the first time. The old evangelization proclaimed the Good News among pagan, pre-Christian peoples to whom it came as something new. Nothing like that had been done before. But nothing like our task has been done before either.Re-evangelizing is not evangelizing as though for the first time again; the very fact of past proclamation makes re-proclamation different. For we proclaim the Gospel to a neo-pagan, post-Christian people to whom it does not come as new. The old world had not yet felt the caress of grace; our world, once brushed, now flinches from its touch. Continue Reading »

Natural Law Revealed

From the December 2008 Print Edition

I The relations among nature, reason, and revelation are mysterious for both Protestants and Catholics. Consider John Paul II’s remark that “the primary and definitive source for studying the intimate nature of the human being is the Most Holy Trinity.” Read carelessly, this might . . . . Continue Reading »

Feeling Moral

From the November 2002 Print Edition

“Luke! Trust your feelings!” As we know, Luke does what he is told, and the galaxy is saved. How fortunate that he did not trust his mind and skill, as he was tempted to, because then the evil empire would have won. The Star Wars movies express a view of how to live, a morality of feeling, found far beyond the perimeter of the Dreamworks studio . As Keats wrote to a friend, “O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!” Continue Reading »