Jack Quirk

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has weighed in with some remarks, preliminary to more detailed comments to follow. And he has pulled no punches, pointing out that it “is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written.” More...

Vatican II, Freedom of Religion, and the Senate Budget Committee
Jack Quirk

Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, declared “that the human person has a right to religious freedom,” and that this “freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.” (Sec. 2) Since this “right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself,” the “right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.” (Sec. 2) More...

Should Catholics Follow the Pope on Climate Change?
Jack Quirk

President Trump once tweeted that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” One year and one month later he tweeted that global “warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” It is not surprising, therefore, that he was the lone holdout in the latest G7 summit on the issue of climate change, where he “refused to endorse a global climate change accord, saying he needed more time to decide.” More...

Catholic Social Teaching, and the Government’s Role in Healthcare
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…

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