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symposium 1: contemporary thomist: j. budziszewski and nature's law

1. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
John P. Hittinger

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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8. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Steven Brust

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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

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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

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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.
11. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Kenneth L. Grasso

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This article focuses on the conclusion in which the analyses of the previous papers converge, namely, the emergence of a new and radically different public order that is emerging in contemporary America. While Catholics could never feel completely comfortable in the older order that preceded it, the culture that informed this order had many features that were consistent with the Catholic vision of man, society, and the human good; and it secured for the Church a broad freedom to exercise her ministry and for Catholics the freedom they needed to practice the faith. In sharp contrast, the new order installs at the heart of public life an ethic of human autonomy incompatible with the Catholic understanding, and jeopardizes the freedom of the Church and of Catholics to practice the faith. The emergence of this new order will require Catholics to rethink their relationship to American culture and the American state.


12. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
James V. Schall, S.J.

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Political philosophy and revelation are often considered antagonistic to each other. They are distinct in their approach to their subject matter. However, they are not unrelated within their own scope. What is treated here is how this non-contradictory relation can be stated and maintained.
13. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
João César das Neves

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Strong denunciations of the capitalist system have become one of the most controversial aspects of the early years of Pope Francis’s pontificate, reverberating far and wide. This article places these statements in context. After elucidating the economic role of the pontiff as a religious leader, the text identifies the two core elements in his approach—the universal destination of goods and the preference for the poor—as basic and traditional concepts of the Church’s social doctrine. The economic teachings of Francis are then described in a tripartite structure called “the economic canon of the pope.”
14. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
John Joseph Williams

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Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) failed to have an immediate positive impact on the decisions of Roman Catholics in many places. Statements issued after the encyclical by a number of episcopal conferences had a deleterious effect on the implementation of the traditional teaching reaffirmed by the pope during an era when its message was urgently needed. These commentaries deprived the encyclical of its energy to influence the course of contemporary culture. The article presents some texts emanating from four episcopal conferences—France, Canada, Indonesia, and Scandinavia—and offers observations. The statements drew liberally from the pool of contemporary theological thought and pastoral practices then circulating, and the complementarity of these and a number of other episcopal conference statements created a compounding effect.
15. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
John P. Moran

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Alexis de Tocqueville and Fyodor Dostoevsky provide differing solutions to the tensions that can emerge between public opinion and Church doctrine in their classics Democracy in America and The Brothers Karamazov. For Tocqueville, Christianity can only survive in democratic times by compromising with democracy’s inclinations toward materialism. Dostoevsky, on the other hand, denounces catering to public opinion by providing an illustration of a distorted Christianity which relies upon public demands for “miracle, mystery, and authority.” In spite of these differences, however, these timeless works seem to agree upon the dangers associated with ignoring sacred truths in pursuit of a legitimacy based upon public opinion.
16. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Carmine Gorga

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The principles of economic justice outlined by Aristotle ruled the world up until 1776, when, undermined by Adam Smith and the Enlightenment, they were replaced by a program that eventually came to be called “social justice.” While the world of economic justice was composed of firm rules rooted in morality, the program of social justice responds to the ideals of freedom and refuses to be pinned down in any fashion. This paper suggests that if we recognize that we are currently facing a social, economic, and intellectual crisis of vast proportions, and we want to resolve the crisis, we had better undo what Adam Smith did: We need to restore morality to the social sciences and the understanding of hoarding to economics. If we do that, we return to the Aristotelian/Aquinian world of economic justice—not in a passive return to the past, but to perfect it with the explicit addition of the plank of participative justice. We are then in a position to integrate economic policy and practice as never before, with practice specified in economic rights and responsibilities. From a legal point of view, we set the stage for a transition from entitlements to properly earned rights.
17. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Richard Upsher Smith, Jr.

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The purpose of this article is to provide the context of Jacques Maritain’s teaching about integral education, to sketch the content of integral education, and to examine the feasibility of integral education today. The argument will consider, in particular, Maritain’s books Integral Humanism and Education at the Crossroads, as well as his essays on education anthologized in The Education of Man.
18. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Jerome C. Foss

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Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” offers readers a chance to better understand the shortcomings of modern political theory. The story makes explicit references to the modern thinkers Malebranche and Heidegger, both of whom sever philosophy from sensual reality. Hulga embraces these thinkers’ approach, but is unprepared for the con artist, Manly Pointer. Mrs. Hopewell accepts the ideas of early modernity without question, and is likewise deceived by Pointer. Mrs. Freeman, who relies on her senses, immediately recognizes deception. The story reflects O’Connor’s preference for a Thomistic approach to political thought that honors the senses and cultivates contemplative habits.
19. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Joseph Zahn

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The festival is an essential component of human cultural life. Amidst the emerging scholarship over the past century on the festival, we find that Josef Pieper provides a philosophical account of the festival accompanied by a sound account of the human person. This essay both reaffirms Pieper’s account of the festival and reintegrates his account within a larger context of culture. Fundamental to Pieper’s treatment is the human person’s power to love and be open to transcendence, without which true festivity is lost. In reintegrating Pieper’s account of festivity in light of a Dawsonian vision of culture, we find that the festival flows from the common vision of a people, that the change in a religious vision of culture results in the change of the festival, and that not just any shared vision of a people will engender a genuine festival.
20. Catholic Social Science Review: Volume > 22
Stephen Nakrosis

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Many people think of a “saint” as someone who lived centuries ago, failing to consider the possibility that there may be among their contemporaries people who the Church will one day canonize as saints. Yet there are researchers who are charged with the difficult task of investigating the lives of contemporary candidates for sainthood. Little has been written about the research methods employed by these investigators and scholars. For the most part, authors have written about dealing with ancient or medieval sources, or have attempted to explain hagiography from the perspective of sociology or psychiatry. This paper will examine some of the issues facing the researcher and writer who is exploring the lives of contemporary candidates for canonization, and will raise for consideration some of the challenges they face.