Distinctly Catholic

Should the Next Pope Be a Theologian?

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It is fascinating to me that the two leading candidates to become Pope – Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops – are both theologians. And, not just theologians, but both men served on the editorial board of Communio at some point in their careers. So, if you cancelled your subscription to Concilium back in, say, the mid-80s because you thought the theological winds were blowing in a different direction, you have no need to re-think that decision.

Contra Mr. Bottum

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Last week, I called attention to an article by David Gibson in which Gibson, one of the best reporters on religion writing today, discussed conservative complaints about Pope Benedict XVI, complaints that have only emerged now that Benedict is resigning. As part of his article, Gibson highlighted a column by Joseph Bottum, former editor of First Things. Mr. Bottum and his friends took exception to Gibson’s article and my wholehearted endorsement of it.

Review: Law's Virtues, Part III

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Today we conclude our review of Cathleen Kaveny’s Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society, specifically the final chapter in which she considers an issue at the heart of the debate over the HHS contraception mandate, cooperation with evil. Kaveny is focused on how this variety of moral analysis applies to voting and political behavior, but it is also helpful in clarifying the Church’s response to the mandate.

 

Review: Law's Virtues, Part II

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Friday, I began my review of Cathleen Kaveny’s Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society and today we continue looking at this important book. (I had thought to conclude the review today, but I think two more commentaries are required, and we will conclude tomorrow.)  

                                                              

Law's Virtues: A Review. Part I

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About five paragraphs into Cathleen Kaveny’s Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society, you find yourself wishing you had had Professor Kaveny in college as one of your professors. Her ability to take complicated ideas and make them accessible, all the while probing them to their depths, identifying alluring but ultimately distracting detours, and creating a synthesis of religious and secular ideas, demonstrate a pedagogical expertise that is not often found in the pages of academic books.

 

Killing the Death Penalty

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The Maryland Catholic Conference has an "Action Alert" calling on Maryland Catholics to help support passage of a bill that would repeal the death penalty in the state of Maryland. We build a culture of life one brick at a time. A culture that concludes the death penalty is barbaric is a culture that will better resist proposals for physician assisted suicide and, eventually, become less tolerant of liberal abortion practices and laws.

What Should Next Pope Do?

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Adam DeVille, writing at RealClearReligion, lists seven things he thinks the new Pope should do. DeVil'e's list would not be the same as mine. But, I invite readers to reflect on the actions you think the next pope should undertake. I will be making a list of my own. And, try and put your thinking caps on first - it costs nothing to dream, but it does not really add to the discussion, e.g., the next pope will not approve gay marriage, so let's not waste time on that.

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In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016

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