How the Steamroller Will Hit the Church

There have been a lot of suggestions going around that in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage nationally, the Catholic Church in the US should announce that priests will no longer perform civil marriages.In

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The People and the Police

Part I: Why People Are Inclined To Support The Police There have been a number of stories in the news lately in which prosecutors have considered and then failed to deliver indictments against policemen in cases where they have killed

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Wages and Hamburgers, A Pricing History

In the world of social media, articles can have a curiously restless afterlife, suddenly being passed around again for no apparent reason well after their original publication. In one of these, people starting passing around a chart on Twitter as

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An Ill Considered Call to Settle for Porn

Prof Mark Regnerus had a piece in First Things last week arguing… Well, I guess that part of the problem is that it’s not exactly clear what Regnerus is arguing. He starts out with some basic survey data on porn

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Innocence Project Appears to Have Framed Innocent Man

Alstory Simon was recently released from an Illinois prison after serving 15 out of 37 years for murder. The Cook County attorney’s office vacated the charges against him after concluding that he was likely innocent of the murder he had

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A Novel of the Great War

I’ve been largely absent from these pages over the last year, in part because of work and family commitments, but also because a writing project has been eating up a great deal of my time which might otherwise be spent

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Manufacturing Data: School Shootings

Someone I slightly know wrote on Facebook the other day with the comment, “Every day my husband has to go teach high school, I worry all day. Teaching is becoming the most dangerous job in America.” This comment was inspired

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Hobby Lobby, Hypocrisy, Ethical Investing

Grant Gallicho of Commonweal believes that he’s caught Hobby Lobby being inconsistent in their commitment to not supporting abortion. Citing a Mother Jones expose he notes that Hobby Lobby has a 401(k) retirement plan for its employees and that it

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Intolerance

The techie world has been rocked by a witch hunt in the name of tolerance over the last week, as gay rights activists have demanded that Mozilla (the non-profit organization which produces the FireFox web browser) fire its newly named

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Gatekeeping Baptism

Duly vested, Don Camillo approached the font.’What do you wish to name this child?’ he asked Peppone’s wife. ‘Lenin Libero Antonio,’ she replied. ‘Then go and get him baptized in Russia,’ said Camillo calmly, replacing the cover on the font.

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Marking the Centuries

David Brin, who apparently is now described not only as a science fiction author but a “futurist”, has a piece from New Years Eve in which he speculates as to what it would mean for the new century to start

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Paul Ryan and the Poor

There’s an interesting Buzzfeed article going around about Paul Ryan’s increasing focus on policies to help the poor, one apparently inspired by experiencing during the last election and fueled by his admiration for Pope Francis. A few parts of the

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What Oppression Does To People

This piece from Harpers about living thirty days as a Cuban is fascinating. The author went to Cuba determined to see if it was possible to live on a Cuban wage. According to the state pay scale, as a journalist

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Can You Talk About “True Islam”?

There is a section of Evangelii Gaudium that I’m not clear I agree with, but it’s not the economic sections. Near the end, Pope Francis has some pointed things to say both about toleration for immigrating from Muslim countries and

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Vatican: Church Teaching On Divorce Not Changing

Among Catholics who hope (or fear) that Pope Francis’s new style indicates that Church doctrine and practice are up for grabs, the announcement of a synod to be held next year to discuss marriage and the family, and particularly the

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Tolstoy and The Battle of the Will

On audiobook, I’ve been wrapping up re-reading War & Peace, while in print I’ve been reading David Herrmann’s The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War, which is about the developments in military technology, army organization,

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Should We Boycott People We Disagree With?

This piece over at The American Conservative about the fuss surrounding Guido Barilla’s statements about homosexuality and the traditional got me thinking about to what extent we should allow the opinions of company owners or management to influence our purchasing

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Being Christian and Being Pro-life Look The Same

There’s been a certain amount of solemn nonsense going around about what it means to truly live a Christian live and evangelize. Are hot button issues talked about too much or not enough? Do we emphasize the message that Jesus

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Basically Good People: The Great Modern Heresy

There’s an odd backwards moral reasoning to which our modern age seems particularly susceptible. Surely you’ve heard it: Y does X. Y is a basically good person. Therefore, X must be okay. You hear it from all sides of the

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Pope Francis and the Catholic God

Pope Francis’s interview with atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari may not have grabbed secular headlines in the US the way that this interview with Jesuit publications did, but it has caused some stir in Catholics circles. I can certainly understand a

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Pope Francis on St. Francis

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and Pope Francis was in Assisi to celebrate his namesake’s feast day. His homily is out on the Vatican website and is both short and worth reading. This central section struck

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You Have a Duty To “Ban” Books

This weekend marks the conclusion of Banned Books Week, a festival of moral preening in which students, librarians, teachers and others congratulate themselves for bravely demanding that various books not be removed from library (typically school library) shelves. The event

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Moral Laws vs Moral Fashions

Well-known atheist Richard Dawkins managed to grab himself some less than positive reactions a couple weeks ago when he gave an interview in which he dismissed the “mild pedophilia” which was common in the English school system of his youth

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Does Anyone Really Reject God?

Kyle has written another post on hell, this one dealing with what he says, with at least some degree of accuracy, is the historically common belief among Catholics that many people will go to hell while few will be saved.

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99 Years Ago: The Week The World Caught Fire

Certain historical events are remembered in terms of a single event which, in the course of minutes or hours, ushered in a new era. People who lived through Pearl Harbor could remember exactly where they were when they heard about

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He’d Rather Reign In Hell Than Serve In Heaven

The more “friendly” modern formulation of hell is that hell consists of eternal separation from God and that no one goes to hell except through his own choice: choosing to remain separate from God rather than embracing Him fully in

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Fake Pope Francis Quote Takes Internet By Storm

If you move in Catholic circles on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the following quote, allegedly spoken by Pope Francis at World Youth Day this week, being passed around: “We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with

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