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Paul Ryan and the Angry Catholic Left

When Representative Paul Ryan said that his recently released budget proposal was developed in accord with his understanding of Catholic social doctrine, the liberal Catholic establishment reacted with outrage. Ryan was scheduled to talk at Georgetown, and the ever-reliable Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J., and others have organized a letter of protest. “Our problem with Representative Ryan,” Reese told reporters, “is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching. This is nonsense.” … Continue Reading »

Debt, Gift, and Sacrifice in the Hunger Games

The book, The Hunger Games, is of course better than the movie. The book’s story moves with the internal dialogue of the teen protagonist, Katniss. In contrast, the film’s story moves along through events external to Katniss. As a result of this shift, the film throws away our window into Katniss’s mind and, significantly, into her moral psychology, both of which are by far the most engaging part of the book (and the entire trilogy of books for that matter)… . Continue Reading »

Rosa DeLauro, CNS, and the Disoriented Catholic Left

One does wonder, sometimes, just what goes on at Catholic News Service (CNS), an agency that wouldn’t exist were it not for the U.S. bishops and the bishops’ conference. This past April 16, CNS distributed a lengthy interview with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., giving her a platform to blast the 2013 federal budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and to badger Cardinal Timothy Dolan to pay as much attention to “the poor, the hungry, the middle class, the people who are going to be eviscerated by the Ryan budget” as Dolan and the bishops he leads are paying to the defense of religious freedom… . Continue Reading »

Catholic Because I’m a Sinner

As a former Protestant, I have often heard the Reformation presented in a particular way. The story, especially in those churches stemming from the Magisterial Reformation, usually goes something like this: Martin Luther, a monk in Wittenberg, tried mightily to take the route to salvation prescribed by the Catholic Church, but found himself incapable of mustering the faith and devotion that he believed the Catholic Church required… . Continue Reading »

Bering’s Belief Instinct

The late philosopher Antony Flew once offered a parable of what he saw as the trouble with most theological assertions: Two explorers came upon a clearing in the woods, in which they found flowers and weeds. “Some gardener must tend this plot,” said one explorer. But the other replied, “No, there is no gardener.” So they pitched camp and set a watch… . Continue Reading »

Can Business Save Your Soul?

There is a simple truth about business: individuals, not “the organization” or “the law,” make the moral decisions behind each and every action a business takes. In a piece just released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, this vital point is highlighted … Continue Reading »

The Serenity of Vatican II

It has now been almost fifty years since the Catholic Church created waves by opening the Second Vatican Council. And for many, the tumult continues. Vatican II has become nothing less than a battle over the mission of the contemporary Church. The progressive left sees the Council as an open-ended innovation whose revolutionary promise has yet to be fulfilled… . Continue Reading »

Messages at the Movies

I watched October Baby in the theater recently. Inspired by the dramatic life of anti-abortion activist Gianna Jessen, the film tells the story of Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), who learns in early adulthood that she was adopted after a failed abortion. She embarks on a journey to find herself by finding her mother and by learning more about the circumstances of her birth. I wholly endorse the pro-life message of the movie, which comes across with such utter clarity that I have heard of viewers changing their position on abortion after the film… . Continue Reading »

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