Author: David Cloutier

Beth Haile and Catholic Moral Theology

The following is a guest post about our friend and charter blogger, Beth Haile, written by Dr. Brian Matz, currently the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Chair in Catholic Thought at Fontbonne University. Brian was Beth Haile’s colleague when they both taught at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. If you are interested in helping support the medical expenses of the Haile family, please consider donating at the GoFundMe page set up on their behalf. The world of Catholic moral theology is losing a good friend. Dr. Beth Haile, a founding member and longtime contributor to this blog, has...

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The Incarnation and Public Moral Conflict

The new year is always an opportunity to get back to basics. I don’t know about you, but I found 2017 difficult… and sometimes disorienting. One can hope that such disorientation is for the good, but it can also be worrisome. We live in a morally tense time. Conflicts in both church and world rise to the surface, and charity becomes harder and harder to come by. In such times, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves of the basics, and in this season of Christmas, one such basic is the Incarnation, the Word made flesh who...

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1st Sunday of Advent: How Long Must We Wander?

Readings: Isaiah 63:16-19, 64:2-7; Psalm 80; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37 This week’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah recalled one of my best early memories of Church music. Father John Foley’s Redeemer Lord bases its haunting verses on this plaintive cry of the prophet, simultaneously lamenting God’s absence and yet trusting in God’s deliverance. Foley captures this dynamic unusually well by pairing the dramatic verses – I remember the phrase “sunder the heavens” stuck in me with enormous power – with a quite different refrain that with the relentless power of a mantra responds to the lament with the assurance of Psalm 23. As we enter the Advent season, this song of my youth points us to two things that might fittingly start our Advent journey. One is the moral importance of precisely things like this. I haven’t heard that song in many years, but I had no problem knowing every word, nor could I avoid the chills as I listened to the YouTube video. And so there is a way in which I really can’t imagine the formation of my whole Catholic identity without that song, and the community of my contemporary choir that “gave” it to me. I am certain some would listen to the song and roll their eyes at its obvious gestures toward ‘70’s folk music or musicals. Let me just say in reply:...

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Of Tax Plans and Honesty

Just about everything is wrong with the outline for tax reform offered by the Republicans. And it is wrong not simply for debatable reasons. A lot of it is flat-out lying. The truth about this overall proposal is that: (1) it is based on a non-evidence-based connection between taxation and economic growth, especially suspicious at a time when the American economy is actually relatively strong (albeit not for everyone) and (2) it will deliver a substantial tax cut almost exclusively to the very wealthy, while socking plenty of Americans in the middle with what could amount to a severe...

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What We Normalize

The bounds of “normal” behavior are funny things. They are pervasive, and it is unimaginable to have a shared culture without them. Yet we all know that they shift over time. We can have passionate arguments over whether this or that shift is “progress” or “decline.” I tend to lean on the side of flexibility: maybe teaching helps this, since every year I get one year older, but I face a set of students in their seats who are ever-fixed in their 18-22-ness. Norms shift. Get too fixated on that shifting, and it can be bad. But to say...

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