The Fever Chart

"Our only health is the disease / If we obey the dying nurse …"

Category: Culture

Recovering the ‘Duty of Care’

This piece first appeared at Aleteia My 27 year-old son Andrew recently alerted me to a “TED Talk” given last June by Lord David Puttnam, the British film producer (10 Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme d’Or) who retired in 1998 to work on public policy as it relates to education and media. The title [...]

Comfortably Numb

Read this piece at Aleteia Of all the deformations of character wrought by consumer society, perhaps none touches as many lives as addiction. New and recently updated studies show that Americans are self-medicating themselves in growing and alarming numbers.  In addition to the cumulative wreckage addiction wreaks on individuals and their families, there are huge [...]

Winners, Losers and the Wisdom of God

As a fan of the New England Patriots, I am not immune to the pagan magnetism of Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, days most of us spend focused on family, the Super Bowl is truly America’s high holy day – the one moment each year when we all come together [...]

Liberalisms, Left and Right

This piece was published at Aleteia In recent decades, the supposed divide in American politics has been between two irreconcilably opposed camps: “liberals” and “conservatives.” In the wake of Richard Nixon’s successful “southern strategy,” this imagined division has also been embedded in the identities and self-understanding of the two major political parties, with the Democrats [...]

Pope Francis’ Radical Call to Serve the Poor

This piece appeared at Aleteia We know he’s a Jesuit by religious vow. He’s told us he’s a Franciscan at heart. But is Pope Francis also a Vincentian? The recent news that he’s been sending the Vatican Almoner out with some Swiss Guards to attend to the sick and poor in their homes suggests he [...]

The Soul-Killing, Family-Destroying Curse of Pornography

From Aletiea At their autumn meeting last week, the bishops of the United States approved draft language for a pastoral statement on the issue of pornography.  When released, the statement crafted by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, along with his confreres on the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth will be the [...]

A Syllabus of System Failures

This article appeared at Aleteia Several years ago, I stood in line at a Hertz rental counter and pondered the breakdown of complex systems. I had just flown into an airport that serves a large, southeastern American city. It was midday, and the line at Hertz wasn’t particularly long; when I got there I was [...]

The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage: Republicans Being Republicans

This piece originally appeared at Aleteia The politics of “gay marriage” have always been rather complex, but they just got a little more fluid with the revelation that a large number of prominent Republicans are urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state in 2008. (It could [...]

Why Liberal Arts Education is Dying (or Already Dead)

This originally appeared at Aleteia Here’s something to ponder: If you put one hundred American high school seniors together in a room, how many do you suppose could tell you who Pericles was? How about Cicero? Which of those students could describe the Pythagorean theorem or even fix the branch of mathematics to which it [...]

Catholic Placemaking: “Econogenesis”

Is it possible to create whole-places that are resilient, sustainable, and human-scaled, and which combine widely distributed property ownership with an overarching concern for the common good? These aims, which are informed by and cohere with Catholic Social Teaching (CST), are the goals of a new theoretical paradigm for placemaking and economic development that my business partner, [...]