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symposium 1: contemporary thomist: j. budziszewski and nature's law
1. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
John P. Hittinger, Budziszewski on Natural Law, Conscience, and Atheism
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This article raises several questions concerning J. Budziszewski’s excellent scholarship on the topic of conscience. In particular, by drawing on the writings of Thomas Aquinas, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI, it asks whether Budziszewski’s claims concerning atheism and conscience are correct, and offers the concept as a corrective to the deficiencies of the concept.
2. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
William McCormick, SJ, Budziszewski on the Natural Law as a “Sign of Contradiction”
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This article pursues Budziszewski’s characterization of the natural law as a “sign of contradiction” to explore Aquinas’s De Regno. Aquinas was attentive to the offensive nature of the natural law, as the exasperating character of the natural law says a great deal about man’s condition and the natural law. It will proceed by outlining what it means for the natural law to be a “sign of contradiction,” showing that Aquinas sees the natural law as a “sign of contradiction” in De Regno, and suggesting some lessons about the natural law from Aquinas’s presentation of it in De Regno.
3. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Kevin E. Stuart, A Dark Coast: An Application of Conscience in Contemporary Ethics
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Conscience is a crucial concept in medical ethics, and exemptions on grounds of conscientious objection are a matter of some controversy. This article examines recent guidelines for conscientious objection proposed by a group of leading medical ethicists, and highlights their failure to understand what conscience is and how it works. Further, this paper proposes an alternative understanding of conscience, and then deploys it as a standpoint from which to criticize the proposed guidelines.
4. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Matthew D. Wright, “The Earth Itself Is a Suburb”: Local Attachments and Universal Norms in the Natural Law
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The work of J. Budziszewski highlights an important dimension of natural law ethical and political theory, i.e., the interplay between particular customs and universal moral norms. This discussion investigates that relationship through a reading of G. K. Chesterton’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill—a novel that presents a nuanced picture of the vitality and danger of robust patriotism. Chesterton directs our attention to the necessity of real local attachments if we are ultimately to conform to the universal justice of the natural law.
5. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Paul R. DeHart, Nature’s Lawgiver: On Natural Law as Law
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H. L. A. Hart famously claimed that part of the appeal of natural law “doctrine” is the “independence” of natural law from divine and human authority. God, according to Hart, is not necessary to natural law. By way of contrast, J. Budziszewski argues that natural law really is law and that law qua law requires an enactor. Moreover, the only plausible candidate for the enactor of natural law as law is the author of nature—that is, God. In this essay I argue that Budziszewski is right and Hart wrong. Law imposes obligations upon those under it, and obligations qua obligation are categorical rather than hypothetical imperatives. Categorical imperatives, in turn, require prescription. Consequently, prescription is necessary to any intelligible account of moral obligation. And prescription, finally, requires an authoritative prescriber. 
6. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
J. Budziszewski, Response
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J. Budziszewski responds in turn to each of the papers that were presented as part of the session honoring him at the twenty-fourth annual conference of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in October 2016. He responds to the comments of John P. Hittinger, William McCormick, SJ, Kevin E. Stuart, Matthew J. Wright, and Paul R. DeHart.
symposium 2: the future of the catholic church in the american public order
7. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Kenneth L. Grasso, The Future of the Catholic Church in the American Public Order: Introduction
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8. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Steven Brust, Catholicism, the American Nation, and Politics: Being Transformed or Transforming?
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This article explores the relationship between Catholicism and American culture and politics. It begins by presenting the foundation for why there has been an inherent tension in this relationship from the Founding era on. It then addresses this tension as manifested in the phenomenon known as Americanism. It focuses on one aspect of this phenomenon whereby Catholics downplay the teachings of the Church, and demonstrates how this has occurred with prominent Catholic politicians in particular and Catholics in general. The paper concludes with a brief contemporary assessment and recommendation for the relationship between Catholics and American politics and culture.
9. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Ryan J. Barilleaux, Put Not Your Trust in Princes: Catholics in the American Administrative State
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This article considers the fate of Catholics in the American administrative state, which has replaced the original constitutional system of three-branch government and checks and balances. It looks to the Catholic political experience in the United States, with an eye toward extracting lessons for contemporary Catholics about that experience. It then turns to the rise of an American administrative state and how it threatens Catholics and other believers. Finally, it considers the prospects for believers in secular democracies such as the United States.
10. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Gary Glenn, Tocqueville’s Prediction about the Pantheistic Tendency of ‘the Democratic Social State’ and Catholicism’s Present Situation
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This article explores Tocqueville’s fears about the future of religion in the “democratic social state” (owing to democracy’s affinity for “pantheism”) and their relevance to the future of Catholicism in America. While Tocqueville valued the Protestant public culture democracy inherited from aristocracy because it provided the “moral ties” needed to prevent “democratic freedom” from becoming “democratic despotism,” he worried that this culture would not endure in the face of democracy’s inner dynamism. It also explores why Tocqueville thought that Catholicism might survive democratic pantheism (now called “secular liberalism”) longer than Protestantism. The fact that events seem to have vindicated his “dread” about the future of religion so far, suggests that democracy’s recent attempt to suppress Catholic morality on abortion and contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance, the definition of “family” in adoption policy, and so on, puts that survival in question. The dangers to the religious liberty of Catholics today thus seem rooted in the democratic social state’s permanent nature rather than in more recent and historically contingent developments.