John Thavis presents many stories that will make you laugh. Others may make you cry.
Shakespeare’s Argument Against Celibacy--and for Life
The Catholic Right’s False Nostalgia
As the 2012 campaign closes, "working together" is in vogue because the few voters still up for grabs tend to be more moderate and less ideological. But beneath the embrace of comity lurks a central fact about American politics now: Democrats believe in compromise far more than Republicans do.
A Partisan Abuse of the Church’s Moral Teachings
For Barack Obama's supporters, the fact that the president played offense and had a strategy was reason enough for elation. But the most electorally significant performance was Mitt Romney's: Under pressure this time, the former Massachusetts governor displayed his least attractive sides.
Translating Moral Principle into Public Policy
In Tampa, Republicans reveled in the glories of private enterprise. In Charlotte, Democrats celebrated togetherness. But in the weeks after Obama’s acceptance speech, interest in the election as horse race has nearly blotted out the substance of the president’s address and its relation to the broader themes of the campaigns.
What the Bishops' Voting Guide Overlooks
Something odd is happening in Mitt Romney's Republican Party. The GOP is marketing the concept that a great many Americans need to suffer before they can prosper.
President Obama and Mitt Romney have chosen running mates who reflect their political philosophies. Both vice presidential candidates are also Roman Catholics, the first time this has happened in American history. Yet despite the obvious sincerity of their faith, their moral and political views reflect the positions of their political parties more than those of their church.
Ongoing Analysis & Opinion
In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the Affordable Care Act. The question before the Court is straightforward: Can the federal government require all Americans to purchase a product (health insurance) on the private market? But the question underlying the case is one of the most basic in American political life: How much government is too much?
Recent articles in the National Review and the National Catholic Register charge once again that, under the health-care law, “tens of millions of Americans will be getting federal subsidies to pay for abortions” and that prolifers will be tricked by a sinister “secrecy clause” into inadvertently signing up for insurance plans that cover abortions. Not true.
I’m a 65-year-old African American. I was excited enough by the election of the nation’s first black president that I would have cut him a thousand miles of slack. But the last thing I expected was that I would watch him meekly accept humiliation by his political opponents. And the second last thing I expected was that I would go into 2012 looking at the upcoming presidential election as a lesser-of-two-evils affair.
We’re still debating whether what we’re doing in Libya can rightly be described as war, though bombs dropped amid an “intervention” are just as deadly. But where’s the debate over whether it’s fair or accurate to assert that Republicans in Congress have not-so-stealthily declared a “war on women”?
A review of 'Ourselves Unborn' by Sara Dubow
The bishops, health care & prudence
Moral teaching after ‘Humanae Vitae’
When a patient arrives in extremis at a Catholic hospital in the rare situation reflected in the case of the Arizona woman whose life was endangered by her pregnancy, a conflict arises between the patient’s life and Catholic health care’s right to religious liberty in following its own precepts.
A review of George Dennis O'Brien's book The Church and Abortion
Open hearts & minds at Princeton
Liberals may lament the administration’s failure to make progress on immigration and climate-change legislation in this congressional session, but it may be time to shift energies to protecting what has already been passed.
Helen Alvaré accuses me and Commonweal of being naive about the new health-care reform law, and suggests our analysis of the legislation is politically motivated. She's wrong.
Might the USCCB be wrong about the health-care law?
Extending the argument against sex-selective abortion
Compromise is not a dirty word in democratic politics, nor is the balancing of conflicting goods foreign to the church’s tradition of casuistic moral reasoning. So why do so many American bishops appear to spurn both in their prolife advocacy? Do they really think the hardest line is always the best one, or the most persuasive?
How the bishops conference gets health-care legislation wrong
In praise of Rep. Bart Stupak's courage
If this film, which contrasts kindly abortion-clinic workers with loony prolife activists, is what passes for an evenhanded view of both sides of the abortion debate, prolifers still have a long way to go with the media.
The bishops' take on the health-care bill is wrong
The health-care debate has been costly for prolife groups.
Why abortion shouldn't derail health-care reform
Could the issue of abortion derail health-care reform legislation?
How broad should conscience protections be?
What would the Freedom of Choice Act do?
Is there a double standard at work?
Is the Supreme Court’s decision a step toward overturning Roe, or something more complicated?
Are we in for another thirty years of abortion wars?
A look inside the prolife movement in the heartland. Can the prolife tent be enlarged?
Abortion isn’t the only issue to consider when casting your ballot.
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) just created headlines calling for prolife and prochoice groups to work together to reduce unwanted pregnancies. William J. Byron, SJ, former president of the Catholic University of America, agrees that it’s time for people on both sides of the abortion issue to find some common ground.
In Mario Cuomo’s spirited rebuttal to Kenneth Woodward, he summons the work of Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that good law must be enforceable, otherwise contempt for all laws could be engendered. “As I understood my religion,” Cuomo writes, commenting on his time as governor, “it required me to accept the restraints imposed by my religion in my own life, but it did not require that I seek to impose them on all New Yorkers-Catholic or not.”
Can Catholic politicians be both personally opposed to abortion and unwilling to act against Roe v. Wade? Long-time religion journalist Kenneth Woodward says no, and takes on former governor of New York Mario Cuomo.
In the Editors’ open letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops, clarification is sought from the bishops on their own teaching on abortion. They call for greater clarification on whether the bishops intend to translate Catholic moral teaching and enactment into civil law.
In their open letter to John Kerry, the Editors of Commonweal have some questions for the first Catholic presidential candidate in forty-four years.
Is eugenics is making a comeback in the guise of selective abortion? More and more parents are choosing to abort babies because they are physically or mentally handicapped. The editors address a disturbing trend.
"Defending a Catholic politician’s access to the Eucharist is not the same thing as defending his or her support for unrestricted access to abortion. Sad to say, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s position on the legal status of abortion is extreme." The Editors address Kerry’s "Catholic problem."
Who could blame the bishops for wanting to do something about abortion? Frans Jozef van Beeck asks. But denying Communion to prochoice Catholic politicians won’t do. This blanket condemnation smacks of the pastoral debacle of Humanae vitae.
What do bishops who propose refusing the Eucharist to prochoice politicians hope to accomplish?