The Prophetic Power of Humanae Vitae

One recurring theme in Pope Francis’s teaching is that human realities trump scholarly abstractions: “La realidad es superior a la idea.” His signature phrase about pastors who have the “smell of the sheep” is the folk version of this maxim. Cautions about “rigidity,” “empty . . . . Continue Reading »

Protestants and Contraception

Protestants are not known for their familiarity with papal encyclicals. We pride ourselves in doing things our own way, often in order to distance ourselves as far from Rome as possible. There is one teaching in particular that most Protestants readily recognize as Catholic, and it is usually . . . . Continue Reading »

What Comes After the Synod

Whatever Pope Francis does in the wake of the Synod on the Family, we have a new Humanae Vitae moment on our hands. Decades of relentless infighting over what exactly the Church teaches is on the horizon and will negatively affect the priesthood, religious life, religious institutions, parishes, . . . . Continue Reading »

Crisis of Solidarity

Written by Friedrich Hayek during World War II, The Road to Serfdom sought to shape thinking about the post-war reconstruction of society. Hayek believed the West faced a decisive choice. Are we to affirm the central importance of individual freedom? Or will we embrace central planning and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Benign Reading of a Confusing Paragraph

When I was asked to sign the Appeal critiquing Paragraph 137, I initially agreed with the reading of the authors of the Appeal—but as I studied the paragraph more carefully, it became clear to me that it could be read in a much more benign fashion, and that the benign reading is the correct . . . . Continue Reading »

An Appeal

An Instrumentum laboris (working paper) was prepared for the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and published on June 23, 2015. It covers a range of topics germane to the Synod’s theme of the family. Paragraph 137 addresses a key document of the modern Magisterium, Humanae Vitae, in a . . . . Continue Reading »