Author: Matthew Shadle

Fake News and the Intellectual Virtues

One of the most intriguing stories to emerge in the aftermath of the presidential election earlier this month concerns the increasing prevalence of “fake news.” A growing number of people access the news through social media, in particular through links to articles posted on Facebook and Twitter. Taking advantage of this shift, a number of web sites have popped up that generate news stories that are completely or in part fabricated, and amid the chaos of social media, these fake stories are posted and shared right alongside evidence-based journalism. There is evidence that during the election campaign, people were...

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The Future of Faithful Citizenship

I recently gave a presentation at a local parish outlining some of the key concepts provided by the U.S. Catholic bishops in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, published every four years as a guide for Catholics preparing for the elections. I talked about how the bishops insist we have a duty to resist evils such as abortion, racism, and euthanasia, but also a duty to promote the common good, for example by protecting the environment and ensuring that the basic needs of all are met. I also waded into the thorny issue of cooperation of evil, distinguishing...

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Seeing the Faces of the Undocumented

The magazine Mother Jones recently reported that there is strong evidence that for years, Trump Model Management has employed foreign women, and in many cases young girls, as models while they were here in the United States on tourist visas. In other words, these women and girls were in violation of immigration law, which prohibits those with tourist visas from working, even in unpaid work. What’s more, Trump Model Management actively coached these women on how to fool customs officers about the purpose of their visit, for example by hiding their modeling portfolios and lying about their address. Even...

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Pope Francis Gets Political in Mexico

Before Pope Francis had even embarked on his just concluded journey to Mexico, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump critically remarked that the pope is “a very political person.” Commenting on the pope’s planned Mass in Ciudad Juárez along the border with the United States, Trump opined, “I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico,” and he speculated that Francis was serving as a pawn of the Mexican government. As John Gehring has noted, Trump is right to see Francis’s visit to the border as political. But the Mass, and the entire...

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Where is Structural Sin in Laudato Si’?

  In an early commentary on Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, my friend Kevin Ahern noted with some dismay the absence of the concept of “structural sin” (sometimes called “social sin”) in the encyclical. What is structural sin? The theologian Kenneth Himes has defined it as “the disvalue . . . embedded in a pattern of social organization and cultural understanding” (“Social Sin and the Role of the Individual,” Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (1986), 84), when this “disvalue” is interpreted through a theological lens. The absence of this concept is indeed surprising since the encyclical directly...

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