Quick Hits: On Cancellation Courts, the Ahmari-French Debate, and [censored]


By Phil Lawler (bio – articles – email) | Sep 10, 2019

• Leila Miller, who has made important contributions to understanding the disastrous effects of divorce, has now turned her attention to diocesan marriage courts and the undeniable problems associated with routine annulment declarations. She posted a revealing interview with a seasoned court judge, who (speaking anonymously) recognizes the issues, not so much with the process as with the people who lead it:

… why are there so many canon lawyers ruling most marriages void? Difficult to say simply. In my experience, this is cowardice; an inappropriate sense of charity (ie it is more charitable to let John Doe return to the sacraments than not); arrogance.

• If you follow conservative political affairs, you are probably sensitive to the debate between Sohrab Ahmari and David French, sparked by Ahmari’s refusal to tolerate the “Drag Queen Story Hour” movement in public libraries. In Public speech, Ryan Anderson argues that Ahmari (which advocates clear moral standards of public decency) and French (which defends the right of everyone to express themselves in the public forum) have valid arguments, which should not be seen as contradictory . Conservatives, he writes, can recognize the function of government in promoting moral behavior (as Ahmari wishes), not to mention the danger of government intrusion into the realm of private conscience (as the French feared. ):

The task of all sound constitutionalism is to structure government power in such a way as to make it as likely as humanly possible to promote the common good, and to limit government in such a way as to make it as improbable as humanly possible that it undermines this. Good.

• Finally, for those interested in philosophical questions, my old friend Fran Maier, writing for First things, examines some recent comments by “progressive” Catholics, using the analytical framework provided by renowned Princeton philosophy professor Harry G. Frankfurt, the author of … And here I stop, because the title of l he book from Frankfurt contains a word which, according to our current editorial guidelines, may not appear on this site. It’s a title in two words. The first word is At– it’s quite simple. And the second word identifies something you might find in a pasture, or (according to Frankfurt) in a political campaign, or (according to Maier) essays in some Catholic journals.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for over 30 years. He edited several Catholic magazines and wrote eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is News Director and Senior Analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See the full biography.

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