Catholics Face a Choice

Will Catholics uphold the Church's teaching that the divorced and remarried cannot be admitted to communion, or will they reject it? Pope Francis has brought this question before the Church, though he refuses to formulate it so starkly. Continue Reading »

Catholic Voters and the Ethical Strategy of Abstention

If Catholic Republicans accept the logic that abstention is almost always a selfish and unjustified act of free-riding, then they admit that they have no exit threat and undermine the incentive for a candidate like Trump to respond to their complaints. They need the exit threat as a bargaining chip. And the exit threat will be credible only if the voters are actually willing to use it. Continue Reading »

Tradition and the Constitution (October 20)

Here's an event announcement that will interest readers of First Things in the New York area. On Thursday evening, October 20, Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell (left) will deliver a lecture, “Tradition and the Constitution,” to inaugurate the Tradition Project, a new research initiative of the St. John's University Center for Law and Religion. Continue Reading »

Francis’s Argentine Letter and the Proper Response

The real problem with the Argentine norms is their deviation from this larger and more fundamental principle: that grace truly sanctifies and liberates, and that baptized Christians are always free to fulfill the moral law, even when they fail to do so. Jesus Christ holds us to this standard in the Gospel. It is presumptuous of Francis—however benign his intentions—to decide that his version of “mercy” trumps that given by God himself. Continue Reading »

On Roman Holy Days

The September 14 liturgical feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrates a radical revolution in our approach to human debility. The lame, the disfigured, the abandoned are no longer burdens upon society’s limited resources, doomed to a frustrated existence. Instead, they can clutch the cross that recalls the one who knows their woes and gives meaning to their anguish. Continue Reading »