The Surprising Origins of (and Problem with) the Vatican’s View of Sex and Gender

Father Krysztof Charamsa with his partner Eduard at a news conference this past weekend: "I am a gay priest. I am a happy and proud gay priest."

It’s a grabby headline: “Vatican sacks gay priest as Pope opens Synod.”

Indeed, when Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, one the Vatican’s chief theological gatekeepers, openly celebrated his homosexuality and love for his partner as the “will of God” on the eve of the Synod on the Family, he both got himself fired and stirred a chorus of controversy—perhaps beyond his reckoning.

Might it rile an intransigent “hell-no” chorus or empower liberals to face the Church with its own “We’re here, we’re queer. So, deal with it” chorus? Will it expose the brittle historicity (and thus fallibility) of the church’s long naturalized theological anthropology? Can we expect the Vatican to examine its most fundamental notions about sex, sexual identity, and gender?

Along with gay Catholics, keen Catholic feminists also relentlessly point out the oddities of the Church’s vision of the sexed human person. Could this be their moment, too? Indeed, timed for the Synod, the Paulist Press’ publication of an anthology of essays—Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Tableexposes how very weird, and not so wonderful, the official Vatican view of sexed human nature is.

Excerpt from Ivan Strensky’s article in the University of South Carolina’s Religion Dispatches- Read more.


Being Human in a Digital World

crowd of people

Moving toward a more people-centric era of computing Second-generation Australian anthropologist Genevieve Bell is a vice president and research fellow at Intel Corporation. Previously a professor at Stanford University, Bell wound up at Intel because, as she explained in a well-attended session during the opening morning of NRFtech 2015, “I met a man in a bar.” He introduced her to some people at Intel, who offered her a job helping the company explore the human side of the technologies it was pioneering. It seemed like a good idea, Bell said, until she was told by her new boss that Intel needed her help with two things. One was women. “‘We want to know what they want,’” she was told. The other thing was described as ROW — the rest of the world, i.e. everything that isn’t the United States. – See more at:


Pope Francis Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

Pope Francis in Washington DC

He encourages us to think beyond partisan divides

In America these days, we tend to view everything through the prism of transient popularity or politics–who’s up, who’s down, who’s supporting the Democrats or the Republicans. But in Pope Francis, we find someone who transcends the trends or usual divides, and who has used his pulpit to encourage action on the issues that truly matter, informed by nothing but his faith and communion with God.

Excerpt from Adam Schiff’s article in Time- Read more and see video. 


What does it mean to be human?

How we see ourselves is the foundation for our values, our choices, our relationships with each other, and our relationship with the rest of nature. Here, we offer a space for those who wish to take on a serious challenge: to critically examine the assumptions of ourselves and others regarding what it means to be human. Our contributors share their insights. We invite you to share your own.

Excerpt from humans and Read more

The Conversation: Spirituality and religion

Last Sunday’s Conversation delved into the trend that more people are proclaiming to be spiritual while fewer identify with traditional religions, and what was behind this shifting view. We asked: How would you describe yourself in terms of being spiritual or religious, or both?


man on hill

\Here is a clip from my latest book, “Liberty’s Secrets: The Lost Wisdom of America’s Founders” – currently No. 1 in books on political freedom at Amazon – about the ultimate reason the Founders were able to set up our country for success:

“There is no special providence for Americans, and their nature is the same with that of others,” remarked [John] Adams. And his fellow Founders shared the same sentiments, which is one of the reasons they put so much emphasis, as we will see, on virtue, knowledge, and a unique conception of liberty that would act as a preservative of the American experiment. They were under no delusions that Americans were any less subject to the imperfections of human nature,

Why Traditional Manhood Is Killing Us


A battle is being fought for the right to define what modern manhood is. People are being killed. And let’s not be squeamish about saying why things often turn violent. Some men and women who would enforce what is called “traditional manhood” are attacking those courageous souls who refuse to conform.

People are being beaten and sometimes even murdered for not doing manhood “right.” Those who assault these boys and men do it in the name of tradition, religion, patriotism, community, and god help us all, they do it in the name of their children.

Excerpt from Mark Greene’s article in the Huffington Post– Read more

UN-backed documentary ‘Human’ aims to capture the world

UN-backed documentary ‘Human’ aims to capture the world

The film, which compiles the extraordinary stories of ordinary people from more than 60 countries, will be screened for the public at the Venice Film Festival tomorrow

Image Credit: AP

With wars, atrocities and the desperation of refugees dominating the daily news, it’s easy to feel despair about human nature.

French filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand hopes to restore movie-watchers’ faith — or at least awaken their compassion — with Human, a documentary that compiles the extraordinary stories of ordinary people from around the world.

Arthus-Bertrand, the aerial photographer behind bestselling coffee-table bookEarth From Above, interviewed hundreds of people from more than 60 countries, including Rwandan genocide survivors, American army veterans, Syrian refugees, Afghan farmers and the President of Uruguay. Victims and perpetrators tell stories of killing and vengeance, while other subjects speak of love, forgiveness and pride.

Excerpt from Gulf News article- Read more

Why do we need government anyway?

man on hill

Why do we need government anyway? It seems we argue about how government should be – smaller if Republican, bigger for Democrats – but we seem to ignore the greater question about the need for government in the first place. History and philosophy provide some of the answers.

The deeper question about the need for government goes back to differing concepts of human nature. Is it capable of great virtue and concern for the common good as the Greeks and Romans believed, or is it as Thomas Hobbes described it in his book “Leviathan”: “For amongst masterless men there is perpetual war, every man against his neighbor”?

Excerpt from Rich Elfers’ article in the Courier Harald- Read more

When Bad Things Happen: How to Survive, Thrive and Never Look Back

When Bad Things Happen How to Survive, Thrive and Not Look Back

Knockbacks, knockdowns and knockouts are an unavoidable part of full living. The number of times I’ve wished they weren’t – so desperately at times that it’s hard to believe it’s not enough to make those bad things disappear. When bad things happen, it’s up to us – and only us – to decide what happens next. It’s cliché (oh I know how cliché this is, but stay with me) – but by changing the way we experience the bad, we can emerge from the chaos and thrive, strengthened by an experience that could have just as easily floored us.

Everything we need for a rich, abundant life is in us but sometimes we won’t find what we need to flourish until we’re forced to look. Sometimes we find ourselves cracked open, wide open, and it feels like complete devastation. Heartache, loss, grief, fear – they can all feel like a form of destruction that pushes from the inside out. Sometimes though, we need to fall apart so that we can come back together in a way that’s unexpected and exactly as we need to be – stronger, wiser, more secure, more open and more fierce than before.

Excerpt from Hey Sigmund- Read more