Archive for Moral Action

Technology: A Marriage of Science and Ethics

Recently, I traveled to Asia.  During my trip, I had the opportunity to visit IBM and discussthe present state of their cognitive platform Watson, along with strategic plans for its future development.  Watson’s ability to analyze and draw insight from large amounts of disparate data, and offer functionality very close to learning, is quite impressive.  During our discussion, its ability to provide answers and solutions to questions that were bias free was touted.  On this, I challenged my host on two counts. The first issue I had was that the statement categorized all bias as being of negative value.  It’s true

Read more >>>

Life is Changed, Not Ended

Several years ago a Junto friend had offered to me, just after the passing of a loved one of mine, the consolatory advice that “life doesn’t end, it just changes.”  I’ve thought about this phrase many times since, including passing it along on a couple of similar occasions to colleagues.  It summarizes our belief in eternal life, be it in heaven or hell, and the fact that our existence isn’t futile or random, but rather an incarnate response to the life gratuitously given by our Creator out of love alone. Yesterday I was able to tune into CSPAN about halfway

Read more >>>

Charitable Accountability

There is a time in the liturgical calendar, sometime after the close of Advent and the start of Lent, when I perceive a slight uneasiness as I enter church. On a somewhat subconscious level, I find myself panning the worship space looking for the large projector screen which announces the start of the Archdiocese annual appeal for funding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the appeal for money that bothers me, for years my wife and I have been a tithing family and like many we can attest to the blessings that this practice has brought. What bothers me is

Read more >>>

Just War Doctrine for the Asymmetric World

“Insofar as men are sinful, the threat of war hangs over them, and hang over them it will until the return of Christ.”  Gaudium Et Spes 78, 6. The theory of a “just war,” the moral factors which govern when to enter into war and how to conduct war, reach back into Biblical and Roman antiquity, through the early days of the Church, from Augustine to Aquinas, Renaissance philosophers, and finally summarized in a few points in the current Catechism.  In the main the principles of a just war have been fairly well preserved:  a legitimate and otherwise peace-loving authority

Read more >>>

The (Catholic?) Blair Doctrine

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair entered the Catholic Church in 2007, several months after leaving office and apparently many years after beginning a serious journey toward Her.  In reading accounts of his conversion I came across an interesting event during his tenure as PM that might have indicated, even back in 1999, that his Catholic formation regarding use of force was well underway. In April 1999 Blair had been invited to speak at the Economic Club of Chicago’s annual meeting, where he presented what became known as the “Blair Doctrine” of international community building including guidelines for warranted military

Read more >>>

Crusades and Reconquista Lectures Recommended

I commend to my Junto friends a series of lectures from Dr. Brendan McGuire of Christendom College, on the topics of the Crusades (three hourly lectures) and the Reconquista of Iberia (two hourly lectures), respectively.  These can be found by going to the Institute of Catholic Culture’s Media Library and locating these lectures; or by utilizing the Apple’s iTunes U app for PC or devices and searching for the author. In such a relatively brief time the material is obviously a very encapsulated form of this history.  Nonetheless Dr. McGuire wastes no time with a telling of the high points

Read more >>>

Freedom, Law and Mercy

“Mercy is an important word for me, but in one way or another it is still somewhat condescending. I like to take words like respect and esteem for man as my starting point.”  Archbishop Elect of Brussels Jozef De Kesel. In last week’s post Timshel encouraged us to “resist the urge to focus on the pope’s shortcomings during this time and stay focused on our own.”  In that spirit, I fully disclose that as a younger man I made a habit of ignoring both dogma and discipline to feed my appetites.  “Late have I loved thee, beauty so ancient and

Read more >>>

What ever happened to “Safe, Legal & Rare”?

A few years ago I presented a paper to the Junto titled, “Seeing is Believing”. At that time our country was confronted with the horrors of the abortion industry during the trial of Kermit Gosnell. In the paper I pondered the words of former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathenson (author of the film Silent Scream) “America won’t reject abortion until it sees abortion”. Thankfully, in the Gosnell case, seeing the truth caused the jury, including nine pro-abortion jurors, to convict him of the murder of an expectant mother and the killing three babies who were born alive. Additionally, the publicity of

Read more >>>

The Devil IS in the Details

During this month of November the Church invites us to rejoice with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and to pray for the Church Suffering in Purgatory. By engaging in this practice, we are forced to consider our own mortality; to “remember death” and how to live our lives in order to achieve what we were created for, which is unity with God in heaven. “We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various

Read more >>>

Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli Against the Third Reich

I recently listened to an interesting interview of Mark Riebling, the author of a new book entitled Church of Spies, detailing Pope Pius XII’s clandestine efforts to undermine the Third Reich.  Riebling claims that Pius XII coyly kept the Nazis at bay diplomatically, all the while using an intricate network of spies and operators, priests and laymen, to plot against them.  I haven’t had a chance to complete the book but hope to have a report soon.  In the meantime I offer some brief observations of the dynamics in Germany and Rome leading up to Eugenio Pacelli’s controversial pontificate. Under his predecessor,

Read more >>>