Two Bases of Morality in Catholic Theology

Robert T. Miller

There are nowadays at least two competing foundational concepts in Catholic moral theology. The first of these is the concept of human dignity, the intrinsic value of the human person, something the human person has simply by virtue of being a person. Because the human person has such intrinsic value, we are morally obligated to respect human nature, both in ourselves and in everyone else, and the content of this obligation is usually explained by saying that we ought to treat the human person always as an end and never merely as a means, especially never as a mere means to our own pleasure. The concept of human dignity appears in the writings of many contemporary Catholic philosophers(1) and theologians,(2) especially the writings of Pope John Paul II,(3) and even in some recent magisterial documents of the Catholic Church.(4) [Read more…]

Ascending

Christopher Paolelli 

He cowered on the ruined balcony. Shriveled into a crouch, he screamed wordlessly at the inferno that was devouring the known world.

Sal called encouragement to him, but he wouldn’t listen or couldn’t hear. So Sal started toward him, cautiously, one shaky step at a time. Then something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. In a moment the balcony was gone. And so was the boy. [Read more…]

The Telephone

A.R. Bossert

You lie through lines and falsely signal hope.
Mechanical imposter—she who spoke
Makes sweeter sounds than what comes through your holes.

Forgive me my accusatory tone—
See, I shall praise thee an angel dear
Who carries her sweet speech when we’re alone.
Then, eyelids closed, she whispers in my ear. [Read more…]

A Case For the Devil

Damian J. Ference

After twenty-three years of Catholic school I can count on one hand the number of lessons or lectures I remember about the devil.

My first bit of formal instruction came in kindergarten. Sister Vincent taught us a song about having joy in our hearts, and if the devil didn’t like it he could sit on a tack. I had a hard time seeing the need for an archangel like Michael, having his way with the devil while wielding a shiny silver sword, if a sharp tack would do the job just as well. [Read more…]

A Psalm for the Sibyl

On the Occasion of the 2,757th Birthday of the City of Rome
Apollo shines bright on her dappled stucco walls,
Like a vast and blank and gold-spotted canvas
Ripe with a possibility as multiform as the City
(For there is only ever one City)
In which it hangs like a vast inhabited museum exhibit.

[Read more…]

Why Can’t He Be You?

Eve Tushnet 

“Oh, Nina, you haven’t signed up yet—can you take one of the,” and Dorrie was turning the clipboard toward me with her usual unhappy smile, “morning slots?”

“Sure. Where is this place?” Cigarette. Cigarette. Cigarette!

“It’s a Planned Parenthood on 17th Street. There’ll be a carpool if you want.” Cigarette, dammit! I signed up for 10 A.M. and headed outside as fast as I could. Open pack, fish out lovely lovely cigarette, between the lips and hunt for the lighter and suck and oh, thank God!

Smoky dark gray chemical taste. Already the stress of the morning was falling back into the past. Oh, brilliant, beautiful. Oh frabjous day.

Then, of course, I realized that I’d really signed up for ten in the morning on a Saturday. [Read more…]

Untitled

Katy Willis

Now is the winter of my discontent
  To be reformed, transfigured into spring?
  I cannot seem to hold to anything
That by this sudden blossom is not rent.
I leave a love behind, unfathomed still;
  I have a hope before me, waiting yet;
  And trapped so, where no boundaries are set,
I find a faith, an unexpected will. [Read more...]

Flight

Seek ye first the Kingdom of the Lord—
 So I was taught, and hastened to obey;
 I watched the fields and rivers fall away;
 Above the soaring mountaintops I soared,
 Through Heaven-vaults alight with sun outpoured
 On luminescent golden clouds of day;
 And far below the sparkling oceans lay,
 And world-waves, washed forever, rolled and roared. [Read more...]

Clare and Francis

J.B. Toner

For Bernadette

The townsfolk left their houses to behold
Atop the Umbrian hill a shining fire
That wreathed and wrapped the church’s starlit spire
And speared the sky with red and glowing gold.
So, heedless of Assisi’s midnight cold,
They rushed upon the conflagration dire
To quell the ruin of that blazing pyre
Lest God’s own house be razed to ash and coal. [Read more...]

Essere

Where are my words?
They’re lost and confused
Where is my verse?
It’s banal, reused.
What is my language?
Look not to your tongues.
What must I do?
Don’t speak from your lungs. [Read more...]