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Moral Theology and Muslim Immigration

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

In Catholic theology, moral judgment must be grounded in Scripture, sensitive to the complexity of issues, and guided by sound reasoning. If such judgment were to be summed up in a single word, it would be discernment.Read More

 

The Age of the Double Standard

Applying a double standard means minimizing or overlooking the lapses in logic or ethics of people we like or agree with, while magnifying those of people we dislike or disagree with. Logic condemns double standards because they constitute unsound thinking; ethics condemns them because of their unfairness. Unfortunately, double standards are so common that they have come to define modern discourse, especially in political matters.

A typical example of a double standard occurred in mid-August of 2017 in the media attack on President Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, MD.… Read More

 

The Sudden Firing of Bill O’Reilly

The full story concerning O’Reilly’s firing is not yet complete, so fairness demands that any judgment of the man be tentative and carefully qualified. A safe place to start such analysis is with general observations about scandal in high places.

Money begets power, which begets a sense of entitlement, lapses in judgment, and reckless behavior. Call this, if you will, the “I’m so rich and powerful that I can have whatever I want” delusion.… Read More

 

Restoring Respect for Others

Good SamaritanOver the past sixty or so years, respect for others has diminished in our culture; today even the related obligation of self-respect is often ignored. The reason is that the emphasis has shifted from responsibilities to rights, especially one’s own rights. As a result, many people are so busy monitoring how other people treat them that they are oblivious of how they treat others.… Read More

 

The Teaching of Virtue

8-Essential-Money-Lessons-Parents-Need-to-Teach-Their-Kids-photo2Jaime Primak Sullivan has taught her three young children to look people in the eye and say “please” and “thank you” because doing so acknowledges their humanity and shows respect. One day when she took them for ice cream cones and they failed to follow that teaching, she expressed her disappointment and then tossed the cones in the garbage. Later she wrote about the incident in her blog, the story went viral, and she received a variety of reactions, some praising her but others accusing her of being a cruel parent.… Read More

 

Pope Francis Inspires but Oversimplifies

Pope FrancisPope Francis’ recent messages to the U.S. Congress and to the Catholic bishops revealed his personal goodness and his deep compassion for the poor and downtrodden. His words and demeanor were inspirational not only to Catholics but to all people of good will.

As expected, there have been criticisms of the Pope’s message, notably from those who believe his views are more politically progressive than those of his predecessors.… Read More

 

Pope Francis on Poverty

Pope FrancisWhen Sarah Palin said the Pope’s views on poverty were “kind of liberal” and Rush Limbaugh called them “pure Marxism,” the media were aghast. In a rare moment of unity, scoffers joined now-and-then Catholics, former Catholics, and practicing Catholics in protest. Palin and Limbaugh quickly, and prudently, said they had meant no disrespect.

Ironically, their criticisms of Francis’ views on poverty were perfectly valid (though Rush’s categorization was greatly overstated).… Read More

 

Wages, Capitalism, And Morality: Part II

Leoxiii(Note: Part I documented that the minimum wage harms the very people it is designed to help and the popular alternative—letting capitalism work, unencumbered by regulations—encourages practices that cry out for reform. It concluded by suggesting that a new approach is needed, one based on a discipline that economists seldom consult—ethics.)

The division of knowledge into particular fields of study and the tendency to narrow specialization within each field have led many scholars to assume that nothing outside their disciplines is relevant to those disciplines.… Read More

 

Ending Legislative Gobbledygook

chestertonI recently commented on the absurdity of having members of Congress vote on bills they have not had time to read. This essay addresses a closely related problem—the fact that most bills are difficult, if not impossible, to understand even when there is ample time to read them. Here are two typical passages:

Excerpt from the Final Version of the Affordable Health Care Act, Sec. 107.… Read More

 

The Decline Of Leadership

leadershipEvery day brings new examples of the intellectual deficiencies of people in leadership positions. Consider these examples. The U.S. Senate ignoring its obligation to create an annual budget for over three years (and counting). Congress pressuring banks to make highly risky loans and then blaming the banks when the inevitable financial disaster occurs. Congress and the President attempting to solve the nation’s debt crisis by increasing the debt.… Read More