A Life Worth Living
May 19, 2011
Morality for the rest of us
By Andrew Haines

I recently had a discussion with a friend on a rather divisive moral topic. In the end, our opinions seemed to meet. But as part of her particular concern, she raised a worry that applies pretty generally across the board—and it’s something that deserves mention, here.

Her concern was something like this: with all the complex issues we face nowadays—from whether or not we can “lie” to save lives to increasingly complicated (and nebulous) methods of IVF, stem cell research, and the...

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May 12, 2011
Bin Laden’s death was justified
By Andrew Haines

The big question lately in some circles has been: Was the death of Osama bin Laden — in the way that it happened — justified?

I think it was. And I think this answer is pretty clear, if we employ some basic principles of justice in times of war.

To be sure, we’ll probably never quite know the details of what happened in the Pakistan compound where Bin Laden was shot. But if we rely on our reason, a well-formed stance on the Church’s teaching, and facts that seem pretty obvious, we...

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April 21, 2011
When IVF becomes the ‘moral approach’
By Andrew Haines

I had never heard of Treacher Collins syndrome until the other day, when I read this article on the BBC. As a new parent, I was pretty shaken by the grim reality it presents.

The subject of the story is Jono Lancaster, a 26-year-old Englishman whose face is severely disfigured because of Treacher Collins. The condition, which is genetic, stunts the development of cheekbones. Because of this Jono’s eyes sag low, and he has trouble hearing and smelling. He was born like this; and the...

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April 14, 2011
‘Balance’ in budgets and banter
By Andrew Haines

Between national debt and social issues, “balance” is the buzzword. In debates ranging from fiscal responsibility to gay rights and anything in between, today’s American dialogue is invariably tempered by this familiar call to action: “We need to be balanced. Not political. Not extreme. But balanced.”

As it turns out, balance can be a great thing. It can even be a virtue. Balance keeps us from resorting to excess, and from making hasty decisions. But balance isn’t balanced...

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April 07, 2011
Dismantling contraception
By Andrew Haines

Catholics are unique for a number of reasons, not least of which is that we hold to a strange (read: counter-cultural) view of “purpose” in sex. A while back, I took a look at this phenomenon from the perspective of same-sex marriage. And now, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on its relevance for contraception.

To be sure, one way of dealing with this question would be to perform a philosophical analysis of the meaning, scope, and aim of human sexual contact. But equally valuable, I...

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March 31, 2011
ICSI: A new challenge to human life
By Andrew Haines

As reproductive technology advances even farther into uncharted waters, questions regarding “beginning-of-life ethics” grow more complicated.  In particular, with new methods of in vitro fertilization (IVF) on the rise, pro-lifers are now being forced to grapple with previously unthinkable moral problems: e.g., what do we do with “discarded embryos”; and is frozen embryo (a.k.a. “snowflake”) adoption morally okay?

One such problem, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), has...

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March 24, 2011
Double standards & the American identity
By Andrew Haines

In a recent article for Ethika Politika, Catherine Palmer asks whether double standards on fetal value are deforming America. In support, she notes a series of paradoxes about our language on pre- and post-born human life, and draws the conclusion that ambivalence concerning life is tantamount to consent in ending it.

In the end, Palmer offers the words of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994:

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v....

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March 17, 2011
Planned Parenthood, Starbucks & no apologies
By Andrew Haines

A recent video is causing some waves on YouTube – one that offers a vivid glimpse into the mindset of today’s pro-choice America. [Warning: because of some censored language and strong opinions, the video is not suitable for children. However the content is not morally objectionable.]

In light of recent debate over whether or not defunding Planned Parenthood is a good idea (economically, politically, and otherwise), both pro-life and pro-abortion factions have become increasingly vocal...

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March 10, 2011
Thomas Aquinas: Reasons for God
By Andrew Haines

The most favored of all Latin Church thinkers is undoubtedly Saint Thomas Aquinas. (Saint Augustine probably comes in at a close second.) From the Summa Theologiae to Tantum Ergo, Aquinas is arguably one of the most prolific writers of all time. But apart from the sheer volumne of his work, what is it that sets the Angelic Doctor so far above the rest of the field and ensures him a spot as an icon of Catholic intellectualism some seven centuries after his death?

At this point, most would...

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March 03, 2011
Playing the language game (on abortion)
By Andrew Haines

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend of mine about the differences between modern and not-modern thought. The popular reaction in many orthodox Catholic circles seems to be 1) that there are one or two big features that set these periods apart; and 2) that these words actually define “periods” in the first place.

The second of these inclinations turns out to be false. And so the first one must be wrong as well. Right?

If you’re not following, that’s okay. It’s part of the...

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