Being Pro-Life as Loving Life

St. John wrote,
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.
In its theological sense, its deepest sense, to love means to desire and choose the good (God) for another in every situation, and no matter what the sacrifice.

Being pro-life is tantamount to loving life with this profound and sacred love, desiring and choosing the good for life in every circumstance, every situation, no matter how difficult, no matter how much suffering we must endure, how much of ourselves we must sacrifice. Life is given from the outpouring of God's super-abundant love, and therefore the right response to the divine gift of life is to love life with divine love.

This meaning of pro-life is missing from much of our discourse over the "life issues," where being pro-life is equated with having a life-affirming stance on those issues. Here one is pro-life or not pro-life, or perhaps pro-life on some issues but not on others. However, if being pro-life has to do with loving life, then being pro-life is not merely something we are or are not, it is something we can be abundantly, mildly, poorly, strongly, fiercely, etc. We are pro-life to the extent that we love life. Our being pro-life can grow and diminish. Our stances on "life issues" ought to flow from our love of life.

A real measure of our love is displayed when loving is most difficult, when we are faced with choosing to love the unlovable. An accurate measure of our being pro-life is thus revealed when we are faced with loving a life that is a burden or cause of grave suffering or a life that bends its energies on the destruction of the life we love. If we want to assess whether we are truly pro-life, we may look to whether we love the life of our enemies--those who burden, inconvenience, or are hostile to us--and ask ourselves, do we desire and choose the good for their life, even when we have to sacrifice and suffer?

Looking introspectively, I may be rated a 100% on some pro-life assessment tests because my stances on the life issues correspond with the official planks of the pro-life platform, but in reality my degree of being pro-life is mediocre at best, and most of the time piss poor. My love of life is hindered by a mixture of half-hearted concern for others and hard-hearted indifference to their sufferings, trials, and tribulations. I have a hard enough time loving life when it's easy; loving the unlovable seems often beyond my power.

Perpetual Violence and the Human Soul

Since the end of World War II, the United States has conducted over 200 military operations. The current struggle with terrorism and jihadism promises that war will continue its current character of perpetuity. Those who defend these individual acts of violence, or the whole destructive culture of perpetual war, reason that recourse to violence is sometimes the only means of stopping aggressors. True, but I very much doubt that all of our acts of warfare fall under the banner of justified self-defense. Nevertheless, even if all our wars have been just and noble causes against the aggression of evil, it remains true that violence has a price. It has a price beyond what we dehumanizingly call collateral damage. Violence damages the soul of the violent.

The human soul is by nature life affirming, yet its energies, powers, and resources can be focused on the destruction of life. Acting against its nature cannot but have ill effects upon the human soul. With every act of violence, the soul is diminished little by little. Grave acts of violence, such as murder, scathe the soul deeply.

Three recent films of the action genre have explicitly explored the theme of violence’s destructive effect upon the soul of the violent.

Casino Royale, the latest entry in the James Bond series, tells the tale of how James Bond becomes James Bond, the soulless secret agent. We learn that in order to achieve 00 status, Bond must kill twice on behalf of the state. These assassinations occur at the beginning of the movie. The rest of the film depicts Bond’s first assignment as 007. However, James does not become the Bond we know until the end of the film, after what little he has left of his soul is drowned in the waters of Venice, and he lets his soul wash away and transforms into the famously effective James Bond. He becomes what C.S. Lewis called a man without a chest. Casino Royale presents a question that will unite and haunt every following Bond movie: Will James Bond ever get back his soul?

That question is at the heart of the Jason Bourne trilogy. Bourne has been called the anti-Bond, for whereas James gives his soul away to become a deadly weapon, Jason Bourne, a secret agent having lost his soul and his memory from a life of perpetual violence, strives to discover his lost identity. Finding his identity for Bourne turns out to require more than finding answers; the goal of his sojourn is the rediscovery of his soul and atonement for the violence he has unquestionably inflicted upon so many.

At the beginning of the dreary Children of Men, the few remaining people of the world mourn the death of the world’s youngest person, who happens to have been in his late teens. War has devastated most of the planet, leaving only Britain a somewhat livable environment, and to make matters worse, infertility is the norm with seemingly no exception. Hope is born with the pregnancy of a woman in the care of a rebel group. One would think that the real prospect of human extinction would give people cause to affirm life over death, but not so in the chilly vision of Children of Men. The film is about people’s responses to the unborn life and new-found hope for the human race. The rebellion hopes to use the pregnancy as a banner to further their terror-using cause against the totalitarian state. The state has no qualms about mass killings in order to protect those who live within its borders, even at the risk of extinguishing the dawn of new life. When a culture of life is so direly needed, a culture of death reigns supreme. In a telling moment, Clive Owen’s character escorts the mother and her newborn baby through a battle between the state soldiers and the rebels forces. At the unexpected and hopeful sight and sound of the baby, the violence stops, as each person looks with awe at the little life amidst the death and destruction. For a moment it seems the violence has lifted, but as suddenly as it ceased, it returns with sound and fury. The sight of new life is not enough to deliver these children of men from the hellish womb of violence and death.

None of these films deny that violence can save lives, but each in its own way explores the effects of violence, even violence for the good, upon the souls of the violent, especially those who give themselves over to and pour all of their energies into a life of violence and death. The pictures they paint are not pretty.

Title in the Flux

My artist wife will soon be designing an elegant and symbolic title and image design for my blog. Until that time, the words of the title will be difficult to decipher and the image will be something unimaginative, like a photograph of books on hermeneutic phenomenology.

I could conjure a postmodern theory that the obscure appearance of the words against the background of the books signifies the obscurity of our knowledge before the wondrous and infinitely mysterious, but that would be little more than a procedure of proctology, figuratively speaking.

Should Have Used a Different Blog Title

Why no one reads the postmodernists.


Very cool. Sean Hannity's Stop Hillary Express won't touch it, of course.

Accuracy, please.

From the president's news conference October 17, 2007:
Q Thank you, sir. A simple question.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. It may require a simple answer.
Q What’s your definition of the word “torture”?
Q The word “torture.” What’s your definition?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s defined in U.S. law, and we don’t torture.
Q Can you give me your version of it, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Whatever the law says.
Rudy Giuliani on whether waterboarding constitutes torture:

"It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it. "

I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Franciscan Images of God

Contemplating Christ crucified, St. Bonaventure wrote:
Christ on the cross bows his head waiting for you, that he may kiss you; His arms outstretched, that he may embrace you, his hands are open, that he may enrich you; his body spread out, that he may give himself totally; his feet are nailed that he may stay there; his side is open for you, that he may let you enter there.
Reflecting on these words of St. Bonaventure, Ilia Delio writes:
The cross signifies the wedding between God and humanity...

For Bonaventure the humility of God is expressed most fully as the power of God's love in and through suffering and death. The centrality of the cross signifies a God who is radically involved with the world and ultimately concerned for the world's completion in love.
Our images of God inform the way we understand God and his creation. What are your images of God, and how do they shape your interpretation of God and the world?


Here's an eyewitness report on the now famous exchange at Carnegie Hall with Rowling and her readers. It supplies better context.

Reactions to Rowling's revelation:

Author Nancy Brown cares, but not that much. The Chestertonian argues:
Dumbledore's youthful fling with Grindelwald cost him the life of his sister. So deep was his remorse that he apparently remained celibate the rest of his life. A gay character in a book who remains celibate out of penance for a youthful indescretion? I see nothing wrong with that. In fact it is very heroic. I have no way of knowing if that was Rowling's intent, but as she chose to open this can of worms, I will pull out whatever worms I choose.
Recovering Feminist is much more critical:
Wondering what Harry Potter witchcraft reading supporters are saying after JK's public support of sodomy? In a nutshell: As long as the sodomy tolerance is "fictional", it's okay. God have mercy on us all...
Ben Shapiro at asserts:
Rowling's gutless decision to "out" Dumbledore months after the release of the last book in the Harry Potter series smacks of manipulation. Next she'll be telling us that Harry was actually an anti-war protester, Voldemort was a stockholder in Halliburton, and Hermione explored her sexuality during her college days before settling down with Ron. Rowling will clearly say anything for a buck -- anything to keep herself relevant.

Helprin on A Rare Alignment

Mark Helprin argues that we "are at the potential beginnings of a rare alignment of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the leading Arab nations, and the major powers." He makes his case here.

Though I don't usually share his views on foreign policy, I find that Helprin (aside from being one of our finest novelists) is always thought-provoking, insightful, and offers and an awareness of the nuances of actual events. Helprin supports the use of American military might in the Middle East, but unlike so many pundits on both the Left and the Right, he actually thinks and speaks beyond the politically expedient categories that dominate much of our media's discourse. Of particular perverse humor is listening to pundits like Hugh Hewitt try to contain Helprin's thought and analysis within their ideological frameworks. There's always lots of spillage.

Filmmaker of Atonement

Few filmmakers working today reveal the effects of sin upon the human soul as brutally yet compassionately as Paul Thomas Anderson. You will not, for instance, get the impression from his films that adultery is harmless to the heart of the adulterer. His films deal with the uses of regret, forgiving the unforgivable, and atonement for wrongs that torment those who would prefer to forget their failings, yet are forced to face them in moments that only grace can get them through.

Anderson’s films do not presuppose the existence of God, the efficaciousness of grace, or the reality of salvation. I’m not sure what his religious beliefs currently are. But there are hints and traces of the divine in his films, especially in his best film, Magnolia.

The writer/director has a new film scheduled to open in December: There Will Be Blood, a film about oil, greed, and family, and, more explicitly than in his previous films, religion.

Here’s the trailer from Youtube. Go to IMDb for a better quality video.

Michael O'Brien, Call Your Office, Again...

Rowling reveals that Dumbledore is gay.

Nancy Brown, author of a Catholic family guide to Harry Potter, responds.

Many already dismissive of the series' Christian themes, the haters of Harry Potter will, I'm sure, respond less kindly than Mrs. Brown. The questions is, what will upset them more--the supposed witchcraft in the novels or that a leading good guy is gay?

Opening Hearts and Minds

This evening I delivered a speech at a Respect Life townhall presentation at my parish. It's a bit long for a blog, so I've created a link to my speech for those interested.

It begins thus:

At this point in history, it is no longer unthinkable that the Supreme Court could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. As necessary and marvelous as this turning point will be, in and of itself it will neither establish nor preserve a culture of life. Legislative and judicial victories will be fleeting unless we open hearts and minds to the dignity of life and form and culture of life that shapes our perception and response to life in the world.

Moreover, if we are to have any hope of building a permanent culture of life, then we must communicate with and persuade the members of the Abortion Rights Movement, particularly the movers and shakers, the leaders, those who have power to shape our culture and our thinking. There are many people and groups who shape our culture, they are among them, and they are formidable and intelligent. If we are to establish a culture of life, they cannot be removed from the equation, nor can they remain as they are. They must be engaged and persuaded and come to a personal conversion. We must hospitably and lovingly engage them with hope and faith in the power of truth and grace. Unfortunately, there are obstacles and hindrances to this goal, one of which is the way we use language in this debate, and by "we" I mean everyone on all sides of the abortion issue.

This evening I will be addressing why it is imperative to talk to the Abortion Rights Movement, how our use of language shapes and hinders the abortion debate, and how we can improve the accuracy of our language so as to open hearts and minds to the beauty, truth, and goodness of life and from that to build a permanent culture of life. What I will advocate is not a prescription for certain victory; it is not "The Plan" that if we only follow we'll end abortion once and for all. Nevertheless, what I propose this evening is a prerequisite for any lasting-success.

The rest can be read here.

Nature Plays Favorites

Peace and War

Peace denotes a harmonious relationship. If I am in strife with my brother, and in that strife destroy him, I have not achieved the fruit of peace. There is no peace in the relationship; there is no relationship at all.

Michael O'Brien, Call Your Office

J. K. Rowling explicitly states her authorial intention to explore Christian themes in her series Harry Potter.

H/T: The Blue Boar

A Colbert Candidacy?

The jester seeks the crown. Always in character comedian Stephen Colbert announces he's running for President of the United States.

Biblical Law Against Wearing Polyester

Leviticus 19:19 -
Keep my statutes: do not breed any of your domestic animals with others of a different species; do not sow a field of yours with two different kinds of seed; and do not put on a garment woven with two different kinds of thread.
H/T: Rev. Timothy Heines

A Metaphor to Dwell Upon

In The Humility of God, Ilia Delia writes, "When we live in God and God lives in us then we see the world for what it truly is--pregnant with God." Following this metaphor, would it be accurate to say that the Christian is called not only to imitate Christ, but also to give birth to Christ in the world?

Thought for a Sunday

"Ontology is indeed the promised land for a philosophy that begins with language and with reflection; but, like Moses, the speaking and reflecting subject can only glimpse this land before dying."

- Paul Ricoeur, Existence and Hermeneutics

A Lesson from Aquinas

To my mind, abortion rights advocates do not love abortion in the way that pro-lifers love the life of the unborn. I therefore think it inaccurate, and actually quite inhospitable, to refer to those who support abortion rights as being pro-abortion. They view abortion as many pro-life folks view war, as something horrible but sometimes justified. Just as it would be disingenuous to call those who soberly support a particular war as being pro-war, so I think it disingenuous to label those who defend the legalization of abortion as being pro-abortion.

Why does this matter? If the pro-life movement has any hope in establishing a culture of life in our society, it will have to do much more than overturn court decisions or outlaw offenses against life: it will have to hospitably engage and persuade those among the pro-choice movement who are formidable formers of our culture. Applying terms to them that they would not apply to themselves is a way of ostracism and alienation, and not a good way to open hearts and minds.

St. Thomas Aquinas, who could articulate an opposing position more precisely and persuasively than could the opposition, is someone we can look to as an exemplar.

Joe Sobran on Ron Paul

"This thoughtful, unassuming man has a rare ability to get under people’s skin without trying to. The anger his gentle consistency provokes is something to behold; it’s not the Democrats who detest him, it’s the Republicans! He is, in spite of himself, a walking rebuke to hypocrisy.

By rights Paul should be the hero of a Molière comedy, or a Frank Capra film. Politics is mostly hypocrisy, and the man of simple good faith can be a disruptive force, like the driver who observes the speed limit when all the others are flooring it."

Unforeseeable and the Unforeseen

The world has grown more complex and interrelated, making the consequences of one's actions on the world stage much more difficult to foresee. This unforeseeability of consequences poses a peculiar problem for justifying war, for one of the conditions that must be met (according to traditional just war theory) for a war to be just is that the war must not produce evils graver than the evil to be eliminated. Calculating the foreseeable evils that could be produced from a war may only lead one to see a spark of an enormous and fast-growing flame.

Juan Cole's commentary that we are close to losing Turkey as an ally illustrates the lesson that war is an exercise in the unforeseeable and the unforeseen.

It's Freedom, Baby! Yeah!

I heard a self-professed pro-life congressman on the radio today endorse Rudy Giuliani, on the argument that he is the best chance among Republican candidates to beat Clinton and to advance the cause of the Pro-Life Movement. The congressman, who's known Giuliani for 40 years, proclaimed his trust that Giuliani would keep his word to appoint only strict-constructionist judges.

Aside from my suspicion that Giuliani has no clear concept of what strict-constructionist means, and my general skepticism of Giuliani's capacity to keep his promises, I've become fed up with this reasoning that we have to support the most electable candidate over those who live, defend, and promote virtue. I don't expect perfection from my public servants--although an Aragorn would be nice--but continuously settling for the most likely to win is a sure way to wind up with a hodge-podge batch of mediocrities from which to choose.

As it is the quality of choices and not the quantity of choices that defines our freedom, having to choose between not-very-good-one and not-very-good-two is an affront to our freedom.

We can do better that Clinton and Giuliani. I hope we do. We have freedom in this country! Let's use it well!

Coming to a Standstill

After describing details of the unhealthy obsession Queen Dido has for Aeneas in his epic tale The Aeneid, Virgil depicts the effect her "private" obsession has on her kingdom:
Towers, have built rose
No farther; men no longer trained in arms
Or toiled to make harbors and battlements
Impregnable. Projects were broken off,
Laid over, and the menacing huge walls
With cranes unmoving stood against the sky.
For Virgil, issues of personal morality have serious ramifications for a leader's ability to work for and uphold the public good.

Quote for the Day

"Like the other royal family, the Clinton court exists to reward loyalty, protect the brand, circle the wagons and to punish dissenters. With post-Cheney executive powers, the potential for the Clinton machine to abuse their power more profoundly than in the 1990s is high."

- Andrew Sullivan

Gluten Free Recipes

For those of you who, like my wife, have a gluten intolerance, here are some recipes from the Gluten-Free Girl.

For a post on gluten free beer, go here.

It Was Only A Matter of Time

Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal defends torture.

Norman "I hope and pray we bomb Iran" Podhoretz made basically the same argument as Stephens on today's Michael Medved Show, with no complaint from Mr. Medved, who said Podhoretz's book World War IV presented the right perspective.

Trials of Living the Love of God

"Changing the bedpans of dying beggars in Calcutta for many years would try anyone’s faith. Even an atheist might finally yield to a sense of futility. Not that the atheists gave Mother Teresa much competition, as far as I know. If Hitchens ministers to the poor in Calcutta, he’s probably the exception; the only anti-poverty program he has ever supported was Communism."

- Joseph Sobran on Mother Theresa.

The whole article may be read here.

Thought for a Sunday

Rev. Timothy Heines' Respect Life Sunday homily may be read here.

Serenity 2?

O please, please, please, please be true!

Hat Tip to the Blue Boar.

Edmund Burke and Contemporary Conservatives

Writing in The New York Times, David Brooks argues that conservatives have lost touch with their roots:
Modern conservatism begins with Edmund Burke. What Burke articulated was not an ideology or a creed, but a disposition, a reverence for tradition, a suspicion of radical change.

When conservatism came to America, it became creedal. Free market conservatives built a creed around freedom and capitalism. Religious conservatives built a creed around their conception of a transcendent order. Neoconservatives and others built a creed around the words of Lincoln and the founders.

Over the years, the voice of Burke has been submerged beneath the clamoring creeds. In fact, over the past few decades the conservative ideologies have been magnified, while the temperamental conservatism of Burke has been abandoned.

Over the past six years, the Republican Party has championed the spread of democracy in the Middle East. But the temperamental conservative is suspicious of rapid reform, believing that efforts to quickly transform anything will have, as Burke wrote “pleasing commencements” but “lamentable conclusions.”
I first read Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France a few years ago, and noted that many of Burke's concerns about the sudden and topsy-turvy changes in France were applicable to what we were doing in Iraq. Right or wrong, spreading democracy in the Middle East is not a conservative endeavor, and today's conservatives who defend President Bush's cause have more in common with the liberal French revolutionaries than with the founder of modern conservatism. This doesn't mean that they are wrong, only that they are not Burkean conservatives.

Yuval Levin in National Review Online argues that Brooks misreads Burke and defends contemporary conservatives against the charge that they are not Burkean:
Brooks hinges a lot on his reading of Burke, and returns to it throughout the column. But his description of Burke just doesn’t ring true. Brooks seems to want to make conservatism purely an attitude, rather than a political cause. But that’s not what Burke argued.

Burke’s conservatism was not essentially temperamental. It was political, too — perhaps first and foremost. (Remember that Burke is the father of modern political partisanship, as well as of modern conservatism, and not by accident.) He argued that a society needed to progress by building on what has successfully provided it with peace, virtue, and freedom in the past, and so by building on the best fruits of its own traditions; and he argued that to do this a society needed to preserve and sustain the sources of its strength.

Burke’s “disposition,” therefore, is precisely to defend and uphold a society’s particular explicit and (especially) implicit creeds (he sometimes called them “prejudices,” long before that word was robbed of its full and complex meaning). These deeply held and widely shared premises are what holds a society together and what sustains unity, peace, and sensible reform in the otherwise raucous atmosphere of an increasingly democratic politics.

Like it or not, and conservatives don’t always like it, America’s traditions are idealistic, and are in some respects also ideological. And they tend to be expressed in more explicit creeds than Britain’s. Ours is a young nation, so some of our age-old wisdom is young too. Brooks criticizes American conservatives for being American conservatives, and thus engaging in their work of preservation and progress with American materials. But it is the strange fate of American conservatives that the tradition that is ours to defend is a liberal tradition. A good conservative, a good Burkean, would defend what is best about it (like freedom and independence) and seek to build on that while drawing also on what is best about our other, older traditions (like faith and family).
Read both columns, if you can. As one formed by Burke's political philosophy, I applaud and appreciate the discussion of the 18th Century statesman in the pages of the New York Times and National Review. There is some hope for the media if it can transcend the present moment and apply the wisdom of the past to contemporary situations. Now, if only we could get the mainstream media's political commentary to be informed by Plato and Aristotle.

A Torture Policy?

In case you missed it, The New York Times published an investigative piece into secret U.S. endorsement of severe interrogations. President Bush assures us that we don't torture, although he is the Decider of what the word torture means.

Andrew Sullivan argues these severe interrogations amount to torture. His conclusion:
There is no doubt - no doubt at all - that these tactics are torture and subject to prosecution as war crimes. We know this because the law is very clear when you don't have war criminals like AEI's John Yoo rewriting it to give one man unchecked power. We know this because the very same techniques - hypothermia, long-time standing, beating - and even the very same term "enhanced interrogation techniques" - "verschaerfte Vernehmung" in the original German - were once prosecuted by American forces as war crimes. The perpetrators were the Gestapo. The penalty was death. You can verify the history here.

We have war criminals in the White House. What are we going to do about it?
Mark Shea basically agrees with Sullivan, but sees the underlying problem as an acceptance in both political parties of a consequentialist ethic, which is the ethical position that doing evil can be justified if the consequences are good.

The problem with consequentialism and all ethics that reason for the doing of evil for a good end is that while good may indeed result from the evil act, the evil act damages the soul and diminishes the identity of those who participate in the evil. Shakespeare knew this, and displayed the results of such an ethical philosophy in his plays Macbeth and Richard III.

While the use of torture may save millions of lives, it corrupts the heart and soul of those who practice or promote the torturing. The good man who tortures or authorizes torture for a good end sooner or later becomes an evil man whose defence of evil increases in breadth and depth.

I really hope the Times, Sullivan, and Shea are wrong. I really hope we don't torture as a matter of policy (either transparent or secret). I fear, though, that this hope of mine is wishful thinking.

What Hitchen's Can't Imagine

"Imagine a God who is humbly bent low to embrace us in love compared to a God who sits high above on a throne and keeps score of human sins." - Ilia Delio, O.S.F.

To Zanarkand

A lovely and moving piece by Nobuo Uematsu.

Courts as Philosophy Departments

Courts in Austria debate the personhood of a chimp.

Let Me Explain How You Really Think!

I am of the opinion that we should understand the thinking of those we disagree with before we criticizes that thinking. It also helps if we offer evidence that our opponents actually think what we say they do. Not everyone shares this view, though.

A Postmortem on Postmodernism

I knew there was something not quite right about my dancing partner. Philip Blosser delivered the verdict in 1995:
Positivism is dead. Postmodernism is dead. What we see waltzing around us in the apparel of these phantoms is nothing but their dancing cadavers, held fast to the bosom of pathetic necrophiliacs who cannot bear to be parted from the dead or let them have their rest. For these lost souls, at any rate, the light of life has not yet dawned. They remain, perhaps, under the dominion of the dark lord, perpetually dancing their last dance with Mary Jane amid the night of the living dead, where it is always Halloween but never Christmas. But I say: for heaven’s sake: bury Mary Jane. She’s dead. She stinks. Her flesh is falling from her bones. Get a life. Bury the stinking corpse.
For context, read Dr. Blosser's lecture here.

For the record, I celebrate Christmas.

Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project

The schedule of events for the The Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project conference hosted by Franciscan University of Steubenville has been posted on the conference website. Notable presentations include David Utsler on von Hildebrand and Paul Ricoeur, Dr. Philip Blosser on von Hildebrand's and Max Scheler's philosophies on why to be good, and Louis Dupré on the idea of Christian philosophy. The conference is on October 12th and 13th.

The philosophy department at Steubenville has been instrumental in inspiring interest, research, and development of the thought of von Hildebrand. Here's hoping that the good phenomenologist can be brought into dialogue with other thinkers in contemporary continental philosophy, and that this conference is a step in that direction.

Tour de Japon Plays Nobuo Uematsu

A haunting and exciting piece by my favorite contemporary composer.

Respect Life Month

Today marks the beginning of Respect Life Month, a month of work, hope, and prayer for a culture of life within our world. The Church focuses on the life-issues during this month, reminding us of the dignity, sacredness, and beauty of all life, particularly the life of all persons.

On October 20th, I will be speaking at a town hall presentation at my home parish, making the case that building a culture of life necessitates charitably engaging and persuading the members of the Abortion Rights movement, particularly the leaders and those who wield power to shape our culture. Legal defenses of life will persist only if accompanied by cultural changes. Changing the culture means we change the hearts and minds of those who form the culture. In order for a meeting of hearts and minds to occur, all sides in the abortion debate must use language that is accurate, respectful, and charitable. Insinuating (or explicitly stating) that one side is against life or wants to oppress women alienates rather than persuades.

The speech is currently dry and dull, but it should be better in the next few weeks. I at least hope it won't serve as a remedy for insomnia.

I'll post the presentation after the event. For now, here's a similarly themed piece I wrote for the parish community last year.