Commonweal

An independent journal of opinion that is edited and managed by lay Catholics. Addresses a broad range of subjects, including national and international politics; social and ethical issues such as abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia; and science and r

Articles from Vol. 132, No. 14, August 12

Catholics & IVF: The Next Big Battleground?
For several years I have used a cartoon in my course on the ethics of reproductive technology that depicts protestors in front of a stem-cell research lab condemning those who work there as antilife. The protestors hold signs that read, "Baby Killer!"...
Celibacy & the Future of the Priesthood: John Paul II Priests
When 163 priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee signed a letter in 2003 urging that the discipline of priestly celibacy be made optional, the media response was overwhelming. The letter provoked similar letters in other dioceses, such as one signed...
Celibacy & the Future of the Priesthood: Priests Should Be Married
Years ago Austin Flannery, then editor of the Irish theological journal Doctrine and Life, asked me to write an article called "A Married Layman Looks at Celibacy." "We unmarried priests are always telling married laypeople about marriage," he said....
Celibacy & the Future of the Priesthood: Seminarians Today
Sociologists Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wengerhave recently reported that young priests are increasingly likely to view themselves and their peers as "men set apart," essentially different from laypeople (Evolving Visions of the Priesthood. Liturgical...
Celibacy & the Future of the Priesthood: Why Celibacy Makes Sense
There is a very bad argument for celibacy that has appeared from time to time throughout the tradition and is, even today, defended by some. It runs something like this: married life is morally and spiritually suspect; priests, as religious leaders,...
Conscientious Objector: When a GOP Senator Breaks Ranks
I love and respect the president. He knows my heart. I don't think he questions my motives. --U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) May 25, 2005 ...
Darwin & the Cardinal
Many Catholics would be surprised to hear that the Darwinian theory of evolution is incompatible with Christian faith. Yet this was the central contention of a recent New York Times op-ed piece by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna ("Finding Design...
Defining 'Dad' Down: Are Sperm Donors Fathers?
For some time now, sperm banks have trolled college campuses looking for good-looking, athletic, high-IQ men over 5 feet 9 inches to sell their seed. For the guys who apply and qualify, it's an attractive no-strings-attached way to get some extra walking-around...
How Conservative?
Should Judge John G. Roberts be confirmed by the Senate, he will become the fourth Roman Catholic sitting on this Supreme Court, joining Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. That the Court, long a bastion of the nation's Protestant...
'Intelligent' Design? Relax, God Is Stranger Still
There has been some debate, even at local school-board levels, about the theory of evolution vs. creationism and the more recently offered idea of "intelligent design." Now Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn has weighed in with an op-ed piece in the New York...
Strange invaders:"War of the Worlds" & "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
H. G. Wells was a Darwinian but he wasn't smug about it. His novel War of the Worlds portrays humankind's panic at discovering it is not at the top of nature's hierarchy. Martians invade earth and quickly, almost casually, brush aside all our defenses....
The Sisters of Shanghai: A Congregation of Nuns Flourishes in China
By 10:15 a.m. the pews in Shanghai's immense Xujiahui Cathedral are nearly full for the 10:30 Feast of Ascension Mass. The few remaining seats are reserved for the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Today eight young women of the congregation will...
Unconscionable: Bush's Plan for the Welfare State
The problem with liberals, conservatives often say, is that they are too committed to old programs. This is an odd criticism coming from conservatives who regularly hail the low-tax, small-government policies of Calvin Coolidge as a model for good...