Of Human Dignity

The following address was given at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on March, 17 2015.Vatican II ended in December 1965 with an outpouring of enthusiasm and hope. The Council's hope was grounded in two things: a renewed Catholic faith, and confidence in the skill and goodness of human reason.Half a century has passed since then. A lot has happened. The world today is a very different place than it was in 1965. And much more complex. That’s our reality, and it has implications for the way we live our faith, which is one of the reasons we’re here tonight. Continue Reading »

Synthetic Children

It can be difficult to live with an artist. Poe’s classic short story “Oval Portrait” details the tragedy of a beautiful young woman married to a painter. She sits so obediently as he tries to capture her in a state of youthful perfection, she seems not to allow herself to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom. By the time the painter completes the painting, he looks at the body of his bride and realizes that she is dead. Continue Reading »

A Mission of Love

The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September should be more than a vast Catholic “gathering of the clans” around Pope Francis—and so should the months between now and then. If the Church in the United States takes this opportunity seriously, these months of preparation will be a time when Catholics ponder the full, rich meaning of marriage and the family: human goods whose glory is brought into clearest focus by the Gospel. Parents, teachers and pastors all share the responsibility for seizing this opportunity, which comes at a moment when marriage and the family are crumbling in our culture and society. Continue Reading »

Why San Francisco's City Church is Wrong About Sex

The senior pastor and elders of City Church, identified as the largest evangelical church in San Francisco, will no longer require members to abstain from homosexual practice, so long as the homosexual activity occurs in the context of marriage. According to a letter written by senior pastor Fred Harrell on behalf of the Board of Elders, “We will no longer discriminate based on sexual orientation and demand lifelong celibacy as a precondition for joining. For all members, regardless of sexual orientation, we will continue to expect chastity in singleness until marriage.”“Our pastoral practice of demanding life-long ‘celibacy,' by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your sexual orientation in any way, was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing,” the letter said. Continue Reading »

Who is Paying Sam Singer?

Sam Singer urinated on the carpet of his partner in a public relations firm because of an argument, or so people say. Singer denies it and says he poured beer onto the carpet to trick his partner. He explains: “This goes to my belief that a good mind f*** is as good as the real thing.” Continue Reading »

Suicide at the Oscars

This year two films on suicide took home Oscars: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 for best Documentary Short Film and The Phone Call for best Live Action Short Film. Both speak with quiet eloquence about the power of love in the face of death.

A Tale of Two Ecumenisms

Over twenty years on, the practical impact of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together is not hard to discern. Positively, it was part of a larger collaboration that gave us the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and other related volumes. It also helped to foster the culture which surrounds First Things, perhaps the most articulate organ for the expression of conservative religious voices in the current cultural climate. Negatively, it shattered friendships and bred suspicion. Most notably, it served to rupture the relationship between J. I. Packer and leading Calvinistic evangelicals such as John MacArthur and R. C. Sproul. Continue Reading »

Ubi Amor, Ibi Oculus

In Technopoly, Neil Postman says that overly technological cultures, “driven by the impulse to invent, have as their aim a grand reductionism in which human life must find its meaning in machinery and technique.”

Despising Jean Danielou

Jean Danielou died in disgrace. In 1974, at age sixty-nine, the noted advisor to the Second Vatican Council who had been made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI was found dead in the home of a Parisian prostitute. France’s Catholic bishops, trying to calm rumors, published a letter in Le Monde saying that . . . . Continue Reading »

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes

First Timothy 2:12–14 is one of the texts most commonly cited in debates over women’s ordination: “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, then Eve. And not Adam was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.” Continue Reading »