Jack Quirk

There has been some considerable discussion in these pages recently about universal, single-payer health coverage. It has been touted by your humble servant as a way to get medical coverage for all in a manner that would be consistent with Catholic social teaching, particularly as against the charge that it would violate the principle of subsidiarity. But here I would like to address the broader question of whether the healthcare of citizens is a proper concern of government at all under Catholic social doctrine. More…

Vatican II, the Right to Information, and Net Neutrality
Jack Quirk

Back in March the New York Times reported that the Trump administration announced its intention to “jettison the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online.” “The net neutrality rules,” as the Times explained, “approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, aimed to preserve the open internet and ensure that it could not be divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for web and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else.” 

Why is this important? More... 

Subsidiarity and the Single Payer, Part Two: A Response to David W. Cooney
Jack Quirk

I have been honored by a response written by David W. Cooney of Practical Distributism to my article, Subsidiarity and the Single Payer, which appeared on these pages on April 1, 2017. In his article he concludes, contrary to my position, that “Single Payer is clearly a violation of the principle of subsidiarity and Catholic Social Teaching.” 

Now it really seems that we are in no immediate danger of having a single-payer system enacted, the latest congressional trends appearing to move in the direction of less overall insurance protection for the American population rather than more. Still, this is an important discussion to be having. As political winds change, and as the private health insurance system demonstrates ever more conclusively its unsustainability in the ensuing years, a single-payer health system may well become a serious proposal. So it would be a good idea to decide now if Catholicism really prohibits its advocacy because of the principle of subsidiarity. More…

My Most Grievous Fault: the Moral Problem of Wealth
Mike Stafford

It is always easier to accuse than to confess. But in reality we’re all sinners of one sort or another sitting together in the dock. I have long been, and will continue to be, an opponent of inequality and economic and environmental injustice, and a critic of the Money Power that rules our nation.

However, by the standards of the world, I am rich myself, and I benefit from the comfort and largess of living in America, a globally dominant and fabulously wealthy nation. To borrow from the terminology of the Hunger Games series, I live in the Capitol—the rest of the world’s nations are akin to subordinate districts, embedded in our system and serving it in one way or another. And I’m no mere simple denizen of the Imperial City—I’m somewhere in the top 5 or 6% of income earners nationally and, like almost every other American, I’m also part of the global 1%. That isn’t serf or petit-bourgeoisie territory, even when other factors that typically skew such comparisons like cost of living, dependents, and purchasing power are taken into account. More…

Pope Francis vs. the United States: Global Warming as an Intergenerational Crime
Jack Quirk

In 2015, twenty-one young people, many of them acting through guardians, a non-profit organization called Earth Guardians, and climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, serving as guardian for future generations as well as his granddaughter, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, District of Oregon, against the federal government (Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al., vs. United States of America, et al., Case No. 6:15-cv-01517-TC), alleging “that, through the governments affirmative actions in causing climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” The National Association of Manufacturers, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the American Petroleum Institute were later granted permission to intervene in the action. The plaintiffs’ first amended complaint requests the court to “order Defendants to cease their permitting, authorizing, and subsidizing of fossil fuels and, instead, move to swiftly phase out CO2 emissions, as well as take such other action as necessary to ensure that atmospheric CO2 is no more concentrated than 350 ppm by 2100, including to develop a national plan to restore Earth’s energy balance, and implement that national plan so as to stabilize the climate system.” More… 

Unjust Killing is Murder: the Cruise Missle Attack On Syria and the Just War Doctrine
Doran Hunter
Barely 48 hours after the release of sarin gas in Idlib, Syria, the US military launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase, substantially damaging the base, and killing both military personnel and civilians. From his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump declared, citing no evidence, that there “can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”

Just hours after the poison gas incident, again with absolutely zero proof, mainstream media outlets were already condemning Bashar al-Assad for the attack, becoming willing instruments in the propaganda offensive for war that had so humiliatingly flagged in 2013 in the wake of the almost certainly bogus claims of chemical weapons use by Assad in Ghouta. More…  

A Just War Doctrine Reminder Regarding Syria
Jack Quirk 

Now there are different opinions extant on who is responsible for the chemical attack that gave rise to this U.S. response, many of them out of proportion to the access to actual intelligence information available to the proponents. And while the use of chemical weaponry on the part of Bashar al-Assad seems like an astonishingly irrational act of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at this point in the Syrian civil war, we do ourselves a disservice if we use that incongruity to avoid seeking the proper application of Catholic teaching to the situation at hand with the assumption that the U.S. position on what took place is the correct one. The question is, simply put: if the Syrian regime attacked its own citizens with chemical weapons, is a military response on the part of the United States justifiable under the Catholic just war doctrine? More...

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The icon of St. Joseph the Worker is by Daniel Nichols. Editor: Doran Hunter. Publisher: Jack Quirk. Please go like us on Facebook here Join the discussion on Catholic social teaching here.