Posts Tagged ‘family’

A New Word for the Family

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, may have coined a new word when he described contemporary American society as “defamilied”. While some participants in the Synod of Bishops may think that the Church should make things easier for Christian spouses, the archbishop contends that “We have to ask more of families”.

His position is well taken. Contraception, sterilization, abortion, same-sex marriage, certain forms of reproductive technology, the negative...

The Freedom of the Home

In defending the home and family as “something as wild and elemental as a cabbage”, Chesterton acknowledges the sovereign freedoms that govern life in a family: “the home is the only place of liberty” where men and women reign like kings and queens. The home transcends narrow rules and oppressive regulations:

Nay, it is the only place of anarchy. It is the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make...

Worlds Apart

I am a father and a philosopher. This is not necessarily an unusual combination, but it does give me a range of interests that spans two rather distinctive worlds. I am interested in the family, its challenges and rewards, its hard work and its joyful celebrations. As a philosopher, I am interested in an array of ideas that range from the reasonable to the ridiculous, from the inspirational to the absurd.

I was...

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Cultural Revolution in Orwell’s 1984 and America’s 2014

In Orwell’s novel Winston Smith, the protagonist, finds himself living in an inhuman world he cannot recognize as normal or natural. Aware of life in London before the Revolution and now experiencing the chilling new world of Big Brother and the Party in Oceania, Winston feels alienated, enslaved, and dehumanized. He has vague fond memories of the past he recalls from his childhood, but his current life as a government employee in the Ministry...

Why Lisa Fullam is Wrong About the Synod on the Family’s Working Document

In a recent America symposium, moral theologian Lisa Fullam of the Jesuit School of Theology (Santa Clara) reflects on the working document “Instrumentum Laboris” for the upcoming Synod on the Family.

In her essay, “Listening to the Laity”, she notes that the document early on says, “episcopal conferences assert that the reason for resistance to Church teaching on family-related matters is ‘want of an authentic Christian experience, namely, an encounter with...

The Harvest of the Home

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Little Men depict the mystery of the home as a small place deserving to be called a garden or orchard wherein seeds and young plants multiply and produce an abundant harvest that is beyond measure. In the final chapter of Little Women (“Harvest Time”), the extended family gathers for a family reunion to celebrate Mrs. March’s sixtieth birthday during the festivities of the New England apple picking. Mr. and...

The Parish Fish Fry: an Old Tool for the New Evangelization

“Lenten Fish Fries are as much a part of our culture as losing sports teams,” said the CEO of the Cleveland-area Cleats Restaurants Corporation, Tim Higdon. On non-Lenten Fridays, Higdon reports that his restaurants sell an average of 20 fish fries, but during Lent, the average soars to 250. Lenten fish fries are on the rise in both restaurants and non-profit venues, and are a still valued and entrenched aspect of the local culture. This...

Pope Francis on the Family and Human Life

What a first year this has been for Pope Francis and for the Church! From Pius XII to the current pontiff, the Church and the world have been exceptionally blessed with a string of pontiffs who have been outstanding in the area that is most important for all of us – holiness. All these popes have been proposed for canonization with the exception of the still-living Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and I would...