Self-esteem: Why?; Why not? (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Feb 2008, pp. 8-19)

Self-esteem: Why?; Why not?
There is a proper mode of self-esteem which is beneficial to each individual, and there is a mode or model being propagated worldwide today which can be very harmful. First let us take a summary look at this latter mode which has in a short time come to dominate the psychological and educational thinking under which most modern young people are formed. Then we will note 1) the growing secular criticism being directed towards it, 2) analyze its fundamental anthropological defectiveness and, 3) see how a realistic self-esteem, in which positive and negative elements combine, is necessary to each person if he or she is to have psychic and spiritual health - and that this distinctive form of self-esteem is in fact inherent in a Christian spirit properly assimilated. Finally we will consider, with some concrete examples, how harmful self-esteem philosophy can make its way into Catholic religious education manuals.

Christian optimism: and God's logic

Christian optimism: and God's logic (Homiletic and Pastoral Review: May 2010, pp. 26-41)

For the Christian mind, today's world appears to offer little that is encouraging. To all appearances, the most fundamental institutions and values are in rapid disintegration: marriage and the family, human sexuality, the sense of the unique dignity of human life and of the respect due to it before birth and at the moment of death. Moreover, our modern society seems dominated by a lack of solidarity, growing suspicion, distrust, separation, alienation, opposition and even hatred.

Modern man seems to have turned away from God, and to no longer care about him. "European culture", according to John Paul II, "gives the impression of a 'silent apostasy' on the part of men who are sated, who live as if God did not exist" (Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Europa, no. 9). In the last few years the apostasy has become less and less silent.

Law and Medicine in the Service of the Person and Society

(A lecture given in Wellington, New Zealand, 1994, to a combined meeting of the SS. Cosmas and Damian Guild and the St. Thomas More Society)

Renewal, Personalism and Law (Onclin Chair Lecture, Louvain 1995)

Renewal, Personalism and Law (Onclin Chair Lecture, Louvain, 1995)

The Second Vatican Council was aimed at formulating principles for the renewal of ecclesial life in all its aspects. More than thirty years later, varying evaluations of the results are made. Some persons, perhaps feeling that renewal was a dangerous idea in itself, hold that in any case it went off the tracks from the start. Others think that it ran into too much entrenched opposition from conservative forces, and is now largely dead-ended, an ideal or a dream they no longer really believe in. For others again, it remains a program of hope, which is still being attempted or needs to be attempted. Pope John Paul II is evidently one of these; he is a firm believer in renewal and, as I see his ministry, it is being constantly spent in seeking to bring it about.

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