Planning for Ordinary Times

July 7, 2020
News
In an age of turbulence, Lucia A. Silecchia, IHE Fellow and Professor of Law, explores how the anxieties that accompany uncertainty can offer an invitation to trust in God, whose plan is greater than what we can imagine.
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What Am I to Say?

June 26, 2020
News, Uncategorized
Theologians have more to offer a troubled world than "hot takes." Dr. Joseph Capizzi, Executive Director of the Institute for Human Ecology, reflects on the power of silence for Comment Magazine's new project, Breaking Ground for a World Renewed.
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IHE Fellow Jennifer Frey Speaks on Boredom, Solitude, and Grace in Flannery O’Connor

June 19, 2020
News
IHE Fellow Jennifer Frey joined Amy Alznauer, Jessica Hooten Wilson, and Christine Flanagan on 3 June 2020 for the Collegium Institute's webinar on Flannery O’Connor and her relevance during the quarantine. The speakers probed into themes of philosophy, ordinary experience, and creativity in O’Connor’s work, which led to a deeper conversation on God’s grace as brought about by solitude, violence, and boredom.
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No, We Can’t Just Get Along

The EU finds itself stuck between recognizing the predatory intentions of China and seeking harmony with this Communist regime. Rather than confront China’s desire for expansionism and its egregious human rights violations, the EU mixes postmodern jargon with empty slogans, thus giving China the green light to continue its ways. Let’s take a look at how dangerous this precedent has become for the EU and the countries it represents.
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Amid a Pandemic, the American Spirit Prevails

IHE Director of Research and Planning, Emmett McGroarty, addresses why greater centralization and larger bureaucracy lead to a lack of accountability and widen the distance between government and its constituents. While reliance on experts is a necessary part of dealing with a crisis, such as COVID-19, this reliance cannot be an excuse for ignoring the normal system of check and balances, which keep the government tethered to the people.
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A Time for Theologians during COVID-19 Pandemic?

In times of global crisis, the wisdom of theologians brings not only spiritual comfort but also a blueprint of how to continue and strengthen one’s faith. Joseph E. Capizzi, Ph.D., executive director of IHE, and H. David Baer outline the crucial role of theologians during a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, most significantly, to help people find God’s grace to lead them forward in faith rather than in fear. The authors also reflect on the social nature of the Church and how the love we have for each other is illustrated even as we practice social distancing.
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Moral Guidance on Prioritizing Care During a Pandemic

In a joint statement of twenty experts in medicine, law, bioethics, theology, and public policy, M.A. in Human Rights Program Director, William J. Saunders, offers guidance and moral considerations for prioritizing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. When faced with economic crisis and concerns medical care capacity, these professors with myriad expertise apply reason and provide clarity for all of us, especially those in decision-making roles.
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The Books of Your Youth

Mark Bauerlein, Faculty Fellow for the IHE, masterfully describes his time in graduate school and the impact reading great authors had on his personal life, as well as his professional journey. In an age where our addiction to screens is both troublesome and seemingly impossible to shake, Bauerlein's poignancy about the usefulness of literature reminds readers of one of the greatest truths: books are just plain better.
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Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times

Following the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi blessing, IHE Fellow Lucia A. Silecchia expresses both simply and profoundly how we all feel about this strange and uncertain situation. Sharing the meaning behind the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi blessing, Professor Silecchia reminds us that it is ordinary people doing ordinary things that change the world, so long as extraordinary love is our motive.
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Creation, Fall, and Coronavirus

IHE Fellow, C.C. Pecknold, provides readers with poignant takeaways from the Babylonian Exile. How does the experience of the Israelites compare to our own in this Coronavirus pandemic? Where is God in the midst of suffering? As we all experience isolation and fear, this author looks to Sacred Scripture and clings to a forgotten truth: God is Sovereign.
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Should We Fast for the Poor During the Coronavirus Crisis?

What good is fasting, anyway? IHE Fellow, Jay Richards, makes a case for fasting and prayer with specific regard to the poor during this strange and often frightening Lent. Examining Scripture and even Seinfeld to make his case, his words hit us powerfully, perhaps right in the gut, as we realize the devastation this pandemic is having on those who suffer with food scarcity.
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The view from Bergamo, Italy, where at least 11 priests have died from the coronavirus

In an article for Aleteia, Mario Enzler, Fellow at the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America, shares the devastating aftermath of over 11 deaths of priests in the Bergamo, Italy area. As the pandemic continues to affect us all personally, how will it affect the Body of Christ as a whole? 
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October 2019 Executive Order:
Better Guidance Or More Confusion?

In October 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order issuing guidance for streamlining administrative effectiveness and documentation for third parties (federal grantees, states, and private parties.) Yet, this EO is merely guidance, not law. Professor of Law and IHE Fellow Emmett J. McGroarty answers myriad questions pertaining to the EO, the Trump administration's enforcement of its own guidance, and how the response of each third party impacts citizens.
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Thanks, Dad, for Ordinary Times

Lucia A. Silecchia, Professor of Law and IHE Fellow, shares how her experience celebrating Saint Joseph's feast day in Italy changed her perspective on Fathers Day and strengthened the bond she had with her own dad. As our modern society begs the question of “quality time” vs.“quantity time,” Professor Silecchia makes the case that father's need only look to Saint Joseph, with its lack of fireworks and fanfare, as a model for fatherhood: steady, loving, and true.
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Human Rights Program Director Reflects on the 71st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly announced and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Declaration, adopted unanimously, states certain rights that must be respected, among them the right to life, the right to religious freedom, and the right to marry and found a family.   It is a remarkable achievement, reflecting a consensus among the diverse collection of nations that make up the UN, nations that hardly ever agree on anything. But they agreed this time.  Why? 
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Abortion Comes To The Supreme Court:
High Court Will Review Case on Louisiana Law

William Saunders, J.D., Director of the Program in Human Rights, comments on the Supreme Court's October 4 decision to review a Louisiana abortion case. "Two and a half years ago, the court decided Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In that decision, the high court struck down a Texas law that, among other things, required abortionists to have admitting privileges in a local hospital. The two cases seem more or less identical. What has changed? Why would the court consider the issue again?"
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Program Director William Saunders Addresses Human Rights in China with Chen Guangcheng

Last month, the IHE held its second Annual Lecture on Human Rights, "Thirty Years after Tiananmen Square: Human Rights in China Today." William Saunders, J. D., Director of the Program in Human Rights, hosted speaker Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist and Chinese dissident known internationally as "the barefoot lawyer."
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To a young aspiring theologian – don’t neglect Faith

October 4, 2019
News 2
In this piece from Chad C. Pecknold, Ph.D., IHE Fellow and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, The Catholic University of America, he discusses how theology is a science ordered to the end of seeing God, not reinterpreting Him through changing human standards.
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The Truth About Intelligence

Nicholas Dujmovic, a frequent presenter at IHE events and Director of Intelligence Studies at Catholic University, is highlighted in a recent article about the program. “It’s a way to give back,” Dujmovic says. “I tell people up front that this program has a vocational edge to it. I’m not a recruiter, but I know what it takes to get into the CIA, so I can help.”
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The Favorability Rating of the U.S. Congress:
Is There Anything That Can Be Done?

September 30, 2019
, News
In this piece, Emmett McGroarty, director of the Subsidiarity and the Constitution program, discusses how, over the last century, Congress has done a poor job exercising the powers entrusted to it by the American people, and how it has done a poor job protecting the constitutional structure. Finally, he offers solutions to address the challenges.
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Civitas Dei Summer Fellowship: Seeking Earthly and Heavenly Flourishing

The Civitas Dei Fellowship is just the latest fruit of the long friendship enjoyed between The Catholic University of America and the Dominican House of Studies, a camaraderie extending itself in service to Church and State. Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., Professor of Moral Theology, Dominican House of Studies writes about how these two institutions work towards the flourishing of two societies — the heavenly and the earthly.
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The European Slide Toward Irrelevance

Elections for the European parliament, regardless of the results, are always a celebration of the EU project. Blue flags with the 12 golden stars are omnipresent when a “European electorate” casts its vote in what is considered the largest election in the world outside India. But the most recent elections are important for a different reason: They are part of a longer trend that is pushing Europe toward global irrelevance.
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Exploring Wonder and Beauty in the Scientific World

June 5, 2019
News
How do aesthetic factors such as beauty, awe, and wonder shape the practice of science? Are such experiences help or hindrance to scientific progress? And do they vary across disciplines and national cultures? IHE Fellow Brandon Vaidyanathan, along with others, addressed these questions during the International Symposium on the Aesthetic Dimensions of Science.
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A Meaningful Life

For years I have taught The Apology in my introductory philosophy class. Every year, some students hate Socrates. One year, one of my students found Socrates particularly annoying. As we were working through the text, she slammed her book down in frustration.
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Only by returning to the Faith can we truly rebuild Notre Dame

May 24, 2019
, News
As the spire cracked and buckled, millions of us felt civilization trembling. But trembling at what? At the loss of God? At the sudden recognition that, for all our progressive confidence, deep down everyone knows that Western civilization lacks the philosophical and religious principles that once made such a structure possible in the first place?
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Love and Light: Reflections on the Meaning of Notre Dame

I suppose it’s a bit preposterous for me to feel a deep personal connection with Notre-Dame. I’ve been there maybe a dozen times during brief Paris sojourns over the past decade. Hardly exceptional compared with the experience of the legions of faithful who worshipped there regularly, or of the millions of Parisians and French who learned the moods of Notre Dame as they passed by on vacations or just going about their daily business over the years.
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Leaven or Bakers?

Catholic Social Doctrine (CSD) compares the laity to leaven – mixed thoroughly into society, occupying every social space, acting where they are to sanctify the world. The leaven metaphor (like all metaphors) is imperfect; its limits can help us to see the challenge of communicating CSD to the laity, and inspiring them to act on it to sanctify the social order.
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Experts Work to Untangle the Crisis in the Church

The destruction wrought by the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis is impossible to deny. But what actually caused it to begin with? To tackle this question, experts in the fields of theology, sociology, management, gender, and journalism gathered at The Catholic University of America on March 26 for “What’s Really Going On? The Root Causes of the Current Crisis.”
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What caused the clergy sex abuse crisis?
Catholic universities are pushing for debate on the answer.

U.S. Catholics know they are in the thick of a clergy sexual abuse crisis, but that’s where agreement ends. When the abuse topic exploded in the church in the early 2000s, everyone knew the focus was stopping the shuffling around and cover-up of priests abusing children
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IHE Fellow Recognized For Book On Aquinas And The Economy

The book was awarded the Economy & Society International Award, presented by the Fondazione Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice. From the Foundation’s website: “The prize is awarded to a work which stands out for its original contribution to in depth study and implementation of the Social Doctrine of the Church, is of proven doctrinal soundness, and exceptional quality.”
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Cardinal DiNardo aims for ‘new ecclesial season’ to confront crisis

In the midst of the current crisis in our church — with a once-admired cardinal accused of heinous acts, bishops widely judged incapable of policing themselves, investigators poring through church archives and ordinary Catholics in fits of anger and despair — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, asked a very brave question recently.
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Snapshots of Ordinary Time

February 11, 2019
, News
In recent days, a quirky fad has gone viral: The “Ten Year Challenge.” Thousands of people, from celebrities to those unknown, are posting current photographs of themselves on social media next to their photos from a decade past. In part, this is entertainment and a chance to see – with pleasure or dismay – the ways in which a decade of life has wrought changes reflected in the faces looking back from the screen.
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St. Joseph:
The Silent Guardian

The Institute for Human Ecology invokes Saint Joseph as its patron saint. March 19 is the primary feast day in the Latin Rite for Saint Joseph; and so, the Catholic Church has traditionally spotlighted the Foster Father of Jesus Christ during this third month of the year.
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IHE Fellows in Atlanta at the Allied Social Sciences Association in January

January 15, 2019
, News
On January 5, three IHE fellows (Andy Yuengert, Catherine Pakaluk, and Mary Hirschfeld) presented recent research in a paper session at the annual meetings of the Allied Social Sciences Association in Atlanta. The well-attended session, “Explorations in Christian Thought and Economic Analysis,” was organized by Andy Yuengert, and sponsored by the Association of Christian Economists.
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Journalists Discuss ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ in the Church after Sex Abuse Crisis

A journalist’s vocation is, according to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, “to seek out the truth and to tell true stories about the world by writing these stories in an entertaining and interesting fashion.” But what happens when the fascinating, complex story a journalist is reporting involves a scandal in their own faith?
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Religious Citizens and Human Ecology

Pope Benedict XVI’s most famous use of the term “human ecology” was in his speech to the German Bundestag in 2011. He praised the German ecological movement for calling everyone’s attention to the natural order around us—an order that demands our respect and stands above all our attempts to manipulate it.
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The Leisure of Work

September 27, 2018
, News
A moment’s reflection on the development of science and technology suggests that, rather that render humans obsolete, innovation multiplies the need, and opportunity, for personal work. Times change, people adapt, and society flourishes when people are allowed to try out new ways of doing things, and to benefit from their experiments.
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A New Master of Arts in Human Rights

August 31, 2018
News 1
The Institute for Human Ecology is pleased to announce the launch of a new Master of Arts in Human Rights, designed for graduate students from the United States as well as abroad, with diverse academic interests and backgrounds, who wish to study human rights from a distinctly Catholic perspective.
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Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of a Landmark

August 29, 2018
News
What was the most devastating event in human history?  While, sadly, there are plenty of candidates, I would propose World War II.  It was a truly worldwide war, extending far beyond Europe as it involved international empires as well as nation states.  Not only did it wreck the economy of Europe and much of Asia, but it took the lives of millions.
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Virtue and Science

Evidence from many sources suggests that there are problems in the current practices of scientific research. There is a growing concern over the trustworthiness of the scientific literature because a number of studies have demonstrated the inability of independent investigators to replicate the results of published experiments.
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Civitas Dei: The Most Glorious City

December 21, 2017
News 1
Long before St. Peter was martyred there, Rome was called “the eternal city.” Rome was founded by refugees who had fled fallen Troy, and with the neighboring Etruscans, the legendary twins Remus and Romulus founded a city which would rule the world for millennia in one way or another.
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Natural Law and the Civitas Dei Program

November 20, 2017
News
Why should American intelligence be ethical?  The short answer is that it’s American.  And Americans, whatever their religious creed or background, have generally expected that our democratic government will be guided by ethical standards in all its activities and functions.
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Where Are the All-Star Teams in Academia?

October 23, 2017
News
The 1992 Summer Olympics remains famous today for the United States “dream team” for men’s basketball – Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Dave Stockton, and others.
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Why Should American Intelligence Be Ethical?

October 2, 2017
News
Why should American intelligence be ethical?  The short answer is that it’s American.  And Americans, whatever their religious creed or background, have generally expected that our democratic government will be guided by ethical standards in all its activities and functions.
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