Ross Douthat's Three Mistakes

Catherine M Wallace

Compassion and critical thinking are values we share with morally-sensitive secular humanists and with good people in every religious tradition globally. These values are equally central to the very best of Catholic tradition, not a threat to its survival.

Tell the Catholic Hardliners: Safe Sex Is Moral

Catherine M Wallace

There's another, richer ethical reason to practice safe sex: conceiving a child is a morally serious act. Even potentially conceiving a child is morally serious act. Hardliners in the Catholic hierarchy don't see that, although reasonable priests and bishops always have.

(This essay is also available on Huff Post )

Confronting Fundamentalism, Reclaiming "Humanism"

Catherine M Wallace

We need a name for ourselves. We need a label for the common ground shared by reasonable people if we are going to confront fundamentalism effectively. And I have a nominee, reclaimed from the fourteenth century: humanist. Humanist, like the parallel term scientist, refers primarily to a method of scholarly inquiry: first, the rigorous, transparent analyses of texts; second, an nuanced sensitivity to cultural history. These skills characterize any serious work in "the humanities," from which the first generation of humanists took their name.

Urban anonymity: we can't name the taste of what's missing.

Catherine M Wallace

I have tasted the salt on another man's bread. The professor made much of the image, which was Dante's lament for his exile from Florence. I pictured a medieval Italian, salt shaker in one hand, a slice of bread in another. What? My small flicker of confusion was enough to lodge the line in my memory. There it waited until something in my own life evoked it.