A degree in journalism is, alas, not an asset if you're applying for a job at Spence Publishing. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' experience this week answering questions about Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical is the sort of thing that hardens our attitude on this matter:
I’m just off the phone with a reporter from a national paper. He’s doing a story on Pope Benedict’s new encyclical. In the course of discussing the pontificate, I referred to the pope as the bishop of Rome. “That raises an interesting point,” he said. “Is it unusual that this pope is also the bishop of Rome?” He obviously thought he was on to a new angle. I tried to be gentle. Toward the end of our talk, he said with manifest sincerity, “My job is not only to get the story right but to explain what it means.” Ah yes, he is just the fellow to explain what this pontificate and the encyclical really mean. It is poignant.
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On December 3, 2005, the Witherspoon Institute purchased a three-story building located at 16 Stockton Street in the heart of the Princeton Boro. There are practically no buildings of this kind available in downtown Princeton. We happened to find the building and negotiate the purchase without the property ever being on the market.
The building will be suitable for occupancy by the summer of 2007. There is a period of lengthy and rather complex negotiations to acquire the necessary construction and use permits, and then there is the remodeling work itself.
This is an important step for an organization that will certainly bear much fruit in the coming years.. Anyone, especially alumni of Princeton University, looking for a worthwhile program to support should consider a gift to the Witherspoon Institute.
The International Federation of Journalists has published a report, "Targeting and Tragedy", on journalists killed in 2005. Steven Vincent's case is discussed on p.34, in Part Two of the report. A word of caution: the passage includes a photo of Steven's body.
According to Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ, “In more than 90 per cent of all cases there are few serious investigations by the authorities and only a handful of the killers are ever brought to trial. A combination of police corruption, judicial incompetence and political indifference has created a culture of neglect and indifference which makes every day hunting season for attacks on media staff.”
One senators' line of questioning for Judge Samuel A. Alito that lacked follow-up concerned the power of Congress to define the jurisdiction of federal courts.
Alito skillfully avoided substantive responses to questions that in the future might come before the high court, but he ducked the opportunity to explain his views on jurisdiction by calling it an academic debate on which scholars are divided. He was vague on whether he was saying that the Article III section itself can be parsed into conflicting views, or whether the division he referred to is about the wisdom of using Article III power.
Singer voices here perhaps the most popular argument in favor of embryo-destructive research and abortion. Few who accept this argument have followed it to its logical conclusion, however, as Singer has: If self-awareness is the ground of general immunity of being killed right not to be killed, not only abortion but also infanticide, and the killing of many helpless adults, are morally legitimate. In fact that conclusion is inescapable once one accepts Singer's premise. But one has decisive reasons to reject that premise as fatally flawed.
It is true that an embryo or fetus (or infant) lacks the immediately exercisable capacity for self-awareness, rationality, or free choice. Yet, the embryo or fetus does have the basic, natural capacity for such actions as consequent to its nature, that is, as entailed by the kind of entity it is. The embryo or fetus, precisely in virtue of the kind of entity he or she is, has the capacity to develop himself or herself to the point where he will perform such actions. And no one has been able to give an intelligible reason why we should base full moral rights on immediately exercisable capacities—which can come and go—rather than on the basic, natural capacities that a human being at any stage of development has in virtue of the kind of entity it is.
Read more, on National Review Online. The article was written with Patrick Lee of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
These three books, taken together, absolutely decimate the attacks on the reputation of Pope Pius XII made in the spate of books. They meticulously re-examine the charges against Pope Pius, charges which sadly have become deeply embedded in the very grain of our culture.