But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Underground Thomist - Apologetic Report
Sunday, 13 August 2017 16:00

Procreation Does Not Mean Reproduction

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The two natural purposes of the sexual powers are the procreation of children and the union of the procreative partners.

People tend to get the first purpose wrong.  They call it reproduction.

No.  Reproduction merely means turning out new humans by one means or another.  If the...

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Sunday, 06 August 2017 16:00

God or the Enemy?

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imageQuery:

I am deeply distressed about what I consider a leadership crisis in the Church.  My immediate problem, though, is that I constantly struggle to know whether my feelings of frustration and indignation stem from God, guiding me to keep the Faith, or from the Enemy, using my...

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Sunday, 30 July 2017 16:00

Maxim and Momentum

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A certain little man of my acquaintance found ants in the house.  He began to squish them.  Squish, squish, squish. You must understand that he is very small.

His grandmother said, “Don’t squish those ants.  You’ll make a mess.  I’ll take care...

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Monday, 24 July 2017 16:00

Let Every Soul Be Subject – to What?

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Query:

As I read Romans 13:1-7, God’s institution of human government is clear, but the apparent autonomy given to the authorities to judge what is right and what is wrong seems oddly detached from any kind of divine guidance.  So I am wondering if the Apostle Paul’s...

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Sunday, 09 July 2017 16:00

Reading Well

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I am a college sophomore who is curious to find good books to read.  I have not had an introduction in philosophy, but I do wish to begin to study the subject in the future.  I have had thoughts on becoming a Dominican Friar one day (perhaps if I can get Masters or Ph.D. in...

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imageQuery:

I thought you might be able to use the Atlantic article “Making Babies, No Sex Necessary” your blog or classroom.  Henry Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School, is making this easy for you as he gleefully steps into the natural...

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Sunday, 25 June 2017 16:00

Hear No Evil

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Everyone notices that the culture is drenched in sex.  What not many notice is that many of the people in the ocean are hypersensitive about reference to the water.

Although they are immersed in it, they can’t bear hearing it mentioned in certain ways.

I first noticed this in my...

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Sunday, 18 June 2017 16:00

Whistling Past the Graveyard

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imageQuery:

I read your essay “Why the Natural Law Suggests a Divine Source,” in the anthology of Beckwith, George, and McWilliams, A Second Look at First ThingsYou seem to be making a kind of moral argument for the existence of god.  I don’t understand why you think...

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Sunday, 11 June 2017 16:00

The Islamic Crisis of Reason

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imageWael Farouq, a Muslim associated with American University in Cairo, presently teaching at the Catholic University of Milan, suggested recently that Islamic doctrine “must be purified of the interpretations that lead persons of the Muslim faith to embrace terrorism.”  He...

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Sunday, 04 June 2017 16:00

For Their Own Sakes?

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imageShould persons be loved for their own sakes?  Yes in one sense, no in another.  I should not love Sandra for the sake of what which is less than Sandra, for example, her cooking.  But I should love her for the sake of what is greater than she is, that is, God.  To love her...

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Sunday, 28 May 2017 16:00

Do the Moral Virtues "Know" Anything?

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imageQuery:

Maybe you cover this in your new book on virtue, but I’m puzzled about how the virtues can “moderate” our desires.  For example, does the virtue of temperance somehow “know” what is moderate?  If not, then doesn’t everything really depend on...

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Sunday, 21 May 2017 16:00

Hihyer Eddicashun

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imageTrue story:  At a private liberal arts college, four out of 16 students are failing the freshman writing course.  The reasons:  Failure to turn in the assignments on time (sometimes not at all); failure to address instructor’s comments on essay drafts; failure to use a...

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Sunday, 14 May 2017 16:00

Just Published

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imageReaders of this blog know that I have been waiting for the publication of my new book, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics.  I am pleased to say that the book is available now both in print and electronic editions.   (My author copies have just arrived.)

If you...

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Sunday, 07 May 2017 16:00

The Sacrifice that Didn’t Happen

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imageOld Testament stories like the divine command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac present real difficulties, but the main difficulties are false ones. 

The greatest false difficulty is expressed in the question, “How could God have approved child sacrifice?”  He...

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Sunday, 30 April 2017 16:00

Police Theatre

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Ever seen video of protestors dragged off by police?  It may not be what you think – at least not in Berkeley, California.

When I read the item in the Wall Street Journal, I wondered whether it was a satire.  Nope.  You can check it out for yourself at the Event...

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A good many Christians treat either liberal or conservative ideology as the authentic political expression of Christianity.  For example, the left tends to view having compassion for the poor as practically identical with being liberal, and the right tends to view having respect for...

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Friday, 21 April 2017 16:00

Commentary on Thomas Aquinas's Virtue Ethics

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My newest book is Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics,published by Cambridge University Press in April, 2017.

Part I is about virtue in general; Part II focuses on the virtue of justice.  I’ve written the book for in such a way as to be helpful to both scholars and...

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Sunday, 16 April 2017 16:00

From an Easter Homily of Thomas Aquinas

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The Lord is Risen!  This is an abbreviated outline of one of Thomas Aquinas’s homilies for the season of Easter.  Besides being crisp and illuminating, it shows how he labored to extract every last grain of meaning from every pronouncement of Scripture.  I think...

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Saturday, 08 April 2017 16:00

The Blade, the Ear, and the Corn

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Thomas Aquinas believed the relation among natural law, Old Testament law, and New Testament law to have been well expressed by John Chrysostom’s commentary on Mark 4:28, that God “brought forth first the blade, i.e. the Law of Nature; then the ear, i.e. the Law of Moses; lastly,...

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Sunday, 02 April 2017 16:00

Is Revelation Reasonable?

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The fact that we are directed to behave virtuously through reasonmay make it mysterious why Divine instruction is necessary at all.  Here it is good to remember that faith is not the constriction of reason by blind dogma, as our own time so often views it.  Rather it is the...

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Sunday, 26 March 2017 16:00

Giggling into the Abyss

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imageThere was a certain inevitability in existentialism’s decline, but at least the early existentialists were serious.  I count four stages in the philosophy's devolution.

1.  One must choose between hope and despair.

Soren Kierkegaard, 1847:  “To relate oneself...

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Sunday, 19 March 2017 16:00

Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics

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My new book, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics,is coming out from Cambridge University Press on April 30, and you can preorder right here.  I wish the cover design were finished, because the cover image is lovely (nope, it’s not the one above).

By the way, my...

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 16:00

A Question for the Teachers of the Church

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Why doesn’t the social witness of the Church have more influence than it does?  With respect, I suggest that perhaps one reason is that sometimes those who represent the Church speak as though they don’t believe her social doctrine.

Case in point:  The social doctrine of...

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Sunday, 05 March 2017 15:00

An Answer to My Question

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imageA reader protests:

This last blog [of yours] concerning the recent election seems little more than a petty swipe at the community to which you once belonged.  It is an act of discord being neither an act of unity or of fellowship.

For myself regarding this election, Trump is a base and...

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 15:00

A Question for Evangelicals

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imageShortly after the election, I wrote that the president-elect would do well to remember that his election represented not so much a “Yes” to him, as a “No” to what preceded him.  Perhaps I overstated the point, because some did say “Yes” to him.

In...

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