“Homosexuality”: The Church Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

One of the most difficult aspects of entering into the Church’s present conversations on sexuality is the imprecision of language. Many people write about proper and improper uses of sexuality, its ends and proper means to those ends, its features and attributes. But there currently exists no set definition of “sexuality” from “the Catholic perspective.” Continue reading ““Homosexuality”: The Church Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About”

On Business Degrees and Free Market Mysticism

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

“I don’t like to hire students who studied accounting. They tend to approach problems narrowly, as though they are clear-cut numerical issues with clear-cut, single-answer solutions. This just isn’t true.”

I was a bit surprised to hear this from a partner at a nationally recognized law firm that focused on business law. As a former philosophy major in a joint-degree program in law and Catholic Studies, I tended to see my lack of business knowledge as a liability in my job search. What this lawyer suggested, however, was that a technical or job-oriented degree could be an intellectual hindrance for those pursuing professional work. Continue reading “On Business Degrees and Free Market Mysticism”

On Empty Classrooms

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Willis Konick retired in 2007 as one of the University of Washington’s most sought-after professors.

For Willis, as his students called him, the classroom had changed over the years. According to the Seattle Times, ” [Willis] said teaching Dostoyevsky novels in the 1960s was easy because he didn’t need to explain radicalism to students. The students often came to class stoned – but he didn’t find that as annoying as today’s students, who often text-message during class.” Continue reading “On Empty Classrooms”

Studying Death

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, September 4, 2014.

When students first read how Athens put Socrates to death they either balk at the injustice of the Athenians or at the uncalculating stubbornness of Socrates. Socrates was charged with corrupting Athens’ youth and refused to yield when faced with death. I myself sided with Socrates as my PLS Great Books seminar grappled with the story. My professor helped me to understand the other side: “If your children were abandoning their jobs and educations to follow an old man around, asking bothersome questions to strangers, what would you do? What would Notre Dame do if a professor convinced a bunch of students to stop attending class and, instead, sit out on the quad and talk about being all day?”  Continue reading “Studying Death”

Marriage and Society: A Response to Michael Bradley, Part II

This piece was originally published at Ethika Politika on January 15, 2014.

Newman on the University and Other Institutions in Tension

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” –Planned Parenthood v. Casey

I’ve argued that the problems facing marriage today do not come primarily from a lack in the understanding of what marriage is. Rather, they come from the particular constitution of contemporary American society, in particular the atomization of American culture. Here I will argue how they also arise from another prominent feature of contemporary American culture: secularization within the context of a pluralistic democracy, and its resulting anti-institutionalization. Continue reading “Marriage and Society: A Response to Michael Bradley, Part II”

Homosexuality and Friendship: A Response to Austin Ruse

This post was originally published at Crisis Magazine on January 2, 2014.

 They are the New Homophiles and they accept the Church’s teaching that sexual activity can only occur between married men and women. They oppose a redefinition of marriage… They are fine … with living celibate lives. They do not want to stop being gay; they don’t believe they can or even should. They believe God made them gay so they want to be known as gay and they want the Church to accept them on those terms. And they believe being gay is part of God’s plan and vocation for them.

Austin Ruse wrote that in a recent piece for Crisis. He includes me in a group of writers that he creates and names the “New Homophiles.” As Joshua Gonnerman pointed out, Ruse presupposes much more homogeneity than actually exists among this “group.” Although we accept the Church’s teachings, we have subtle nuances in how we approach these issues. Here I speak for myself. Continue reading “Homosexuality and Friendship: A Response to Austin Ruse”

Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School

Coming to law school has made me particularly glad that I decided to major in philosophy. In many ways, I’ve found many of the ideas I encountered as an undergraduate to be foundational to the way I approach the law. I could make a pretty long list of books that I think every student should study (not just “read,” but “study”) before coming to law school, but here are some texts that I think are particularly important:  Continue reading “Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School”