Friday, August 31, 2018

Finnis contra Francis

Prof. John Finnis is the most eminent living “new natural law” theorist, and a longtime opponent of capital punishment.  Indeed, like other NNL writers, he regards capital punishment as always and inherently wrong, and believes that the Church could adopt this novel teaching.  You might think, then, that he would approve of Pope Francis’s recent revision to the catechism.  Not so.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hubris meets nemesis? (Updated)

UPDATE 8/29: More from the Cupich interview.  Has to be seen to be believed.

The pattern is by now familiar.  Serious criticisms are leveled by serious people against the pope; the pope ignores them; and his associates and defenders disregard the substance of the criticisms while flinging ad hominem attacks at the critics.  This happened during the doctrinal controversies over Amoris Laetitia and capital punishment, and it is happening again in the wake of Archbishop Vigano’s astonishing testimony.  The pope refuses to answer the charges against him.  The Usual Sycophants try to smear the archbishop and his defenders as disgruntled reactionaries.  Among Uncle Ted’s boys, Cardinal Cupich leapt almost immediately for the bottom of the rhetorical barrel: “Quite frankly, they also don’t like [the pope] because he’s a Latino.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Immateriality of the Mind

At the Society of Catholic Scientists meeting at Catholic University of America last June, I gave the keynote address on the topic “Arguments for the Immateriality of the Mind.”  You can now watch the lecture via YouTube.  (For anyone who is wondering, Prof. Karin Öberg, one of the conference organizers, is the one you’ll see introducing me.)  Some of the other conference talks can also be seen at the SCS page at YouTube.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Review of Pinker’s Enlightenment Now (Updated)

UPDATE: The review has now been unlocked and can be read for free at the CRB website.

My review of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress appears in the Summer 2018 issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

An Open Appeal to the Cardinals of the Church

An international group of 45 Catholic scholars and clergy has signed an appeal to the cardinals of the Catholic Church, calling on them to advise Pope Francis to retract the recent revision made to the Catechism, on the grounds that its appearance of contradicting scripture and traditional teaching is causing scandal.  The appeal and list of signatories has been published today as an open letter at First Things.

As LifeSiteNews is reporting, over 30 further Catholic scholars, clergy, and professionals have also added their signatures to the appeal.  This longer list can be viewed there.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Three problems with the change to the Catechism (Updated)

UPDATE 8/13: The Stream recently interviewed me about the change to the Catechism.

In a new article at Catholic Herald, I analyze the recent revision to the Catechism in greater detail.  I argue that there are three serious problems with it.  

An op-ed on the revision by Joseph Bessette, my co-author on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed, appears at The Wall Street Journal.  

Joe and I were recently interviewed by LifeSiteNews.  Today I did a Skype interview on the subject with Michael Knowles at The Daily Wire.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Pope Francis and capital punishment

Pope Francis has changed the Catechism’s teaching on capital punishment so that it now flatly rules out the practice as “inadmissible” on doctrinal, and not merely prudential, grounds – apparently contradicting two millennia of clear and consistent teaching to the contrary.  I comment on this development in an article at First Things.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tugwell on St. Albert on negative theology

Negative theology is a crucial component of classical theism.  To a first approximation, the idea is that at least with respect to some aspects of the divine nature, we can say what God is not rather than what he is.  But again, that is only a first approximation, and a potentially misleading one at that.  In his long and substantive introduction to the spiritual theology of St. Albert the Great in Albert and Thomas: Selected Writings, Fr. Simon Tugwell makes some important observations about the matter.  I want to call attention to four of them.