Friday, December 29, 2017
This year, readers of this blog have been subjected to a long, heated, and sometimes confusing series of debates on the subject of Catholicism and capital punishment. To help you take stock, here’s a guide to the key terms and concepts, in the spirit of Daniel Dennett’s famous Philosophical Lexicon:
harty, adjective. Gratuitously vituperative, especially toward straw men. “David is so erudite. Why does he have to be harty all the time?”
sheameless, adjective. Harty to the point of spittle-flecked incoherence. “Mark has been harty ever since the Iraq war, but these days he’s absolutely sheameless.”
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Strangely, as David Bentley Hart has gotten more gratuitously nasty and unhinged in his attacks on me, I find myself less offended, or even having much of an affective reaction at all. It’s like dealing with a mental patient or a surly neighborhood dog. You simply navigate the situation, aware that there is no point in getting angry with someone or something that isn’t rational. It’s too bad. Our last contretemps, on the subject of eternal damnation, ended with a pleasing amicability in the combox here at the blog. I had real hope that our future exchanges could be more positive. Alas, fast forward a few months and Hart is suddenly spitting venom at straw men again in his review of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed in Commonweal (to which I recently replied at Catholic World Report). And now, at Church Life Journal Hart doubles down on the vitriol and the caricatures. Perhaps he can’t help it – just as, when reading Hart, I can’t help thinking of the fable of the scorpion and the frog.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Long overdue (sorry), it’s the latest open thread. Talk amongst yourselves. Unlike Linda Richman, I won’t give you a topic. From Aquinas to Quine, Cheap Trick or fine wine, bad puns and lame rhymes – the field is wide open. Though, you know, maybe capital punishment is a little played at the moment…
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Last month, Joe Bessette and I participated in a panel discussion about our book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment at the Fall Conference of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. The other participants were Gerard Bradley and John O’Callaghan, and the session was moderated by Matthew Franck. The session can now be viewed at YouTube.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
At The Wanderer, Catholic writer Christopher Manion kindly reviews By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment. From the review:
A highly recommended book that sheds the patient, clear light of reason on the issue of capital punishment. Every U.S. bishop should read it…
In recent years, position statements and lobbying efforts of the USCCB have ranged across a wide variety of prudential issues, from global warming and tax policy to immigration and the death penalty.
There are many policy approaches to such issues that might conform to the precepts of legitimate Catholic social teaching, so Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Church, requires that action on in this area be left to the laity.