“Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom.”

—Pope St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor

The Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life exists to bring faithful Catholic scholarly reflection to bear on the most pressing ethical questions in contemporary culture—questions of marriage and sexuality, war and peace, life and death, as well as economic and social justice.

Through research, writing, and academic conferences, the Veritas Center seeks to combat what Pope Benedict XVI described as “the dictatorship of relativism,” promoting the natural moral law, illuminated by the light of faith, in order to defend both human freedom and dignity in the public square.

Our Associates
Stephen Krason
Jacob Wood
Anne Hendershott
Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR
Timothy Williams
Fr. Dan Pattee
Kevin Miller
Regis Martin
Patrick Lee

Hendershott: “Reaping What We’ve Sown”

The recent research revelation that sperm counts for men living in the West have plunged by 60 percent since 1971 provides readers of P.D. James’ great dystopian novel, The Children of Men, with a prediction of an unsettling future for a society that can no longer reproduce.  Set in Britain in 2021, James’s frightening fiction described a world of mass infertility among males – a world in which no children have been born in more than twenty-five years.

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Krason: “The Charlie Gard Case Portends a Frightening Future”

The case of Charlie Gard, the British baby afflicted with the rare mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome who a London hospital would not discharge to his parents so they could take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment, brought together a number of increasingly portentous trends and realities that have come to define our age.

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Wiker: “Pray for Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire and Repent”

You may have heard that Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy may soon retire. Please pray that he does. Have all your friends and friends’ friends do it as well. This is a man who is singularly responsible for the destruction of all law, all rationality, and even all sanity.

And while you are praying for him to retire (and very soon), pray for him to repent of the damage he’s done. He is, by the way, a Catholic—so we are told.

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Wiker: “With Climate Change, Caution is Not the Same as Apocalypticism”

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has just issued (yet another) dire, apocalyptic warning: the US pullout from the Paris Accords could very well be the thing that pushes Earth into a hothouse meltdown. In his words, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulfuric acid.”

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Hendershott: “Why are more women choosing to put fertility “on ice”?”

When Apple and Facebook announced in 2014 that they would extend their fertility and surrogacy benefits for employees to cover the costs of egg freezing, Bloomberg Businessweek pronounced that the procedure would do more to “change family and career planning” than the birth control pill. Claiming that access to egg freezing would enable women to “kiss the Mommy track goodbye,” Businessweekasked readers to imagine a world in which life isn’t dictated by a biological clock.

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Wiker: “Why Jesus Wants You to Hug Trees”

A less provocative title might have been, “Why Catholics Need to Be at the Forefront of the Environmental Movement,” but that probably wouldn’t have caught your eye. So, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s make the case for a Catholic Ecology.

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Lee: The Soul: Not Dead Yet

We agree that human beings are both animals and persons, but it is important that the Christian (and Jewish, and Muslim, and classical) description of the soul not be reduced to a caricature. Indeed, properly understood, the traditional philosophical and theological concept of the soul is indispensable in integrating what the empirical sciences reveal about the world and ourselves with what we know about ourselves as rational and moral beings.

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Martin: A Pope Turns Ninety

In the long march of the Church’s history, stretching all the way back to a certain failed fisherman called Peter—whom Christ himself caught with the bait of eternal life—few occupants of the papal chair have evinced as lofty a level of erudition, existing in happy combination with ardent and uncomplicated piety, as the Bavarian Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Who, God willing, turns ninety on April 16, this Easter Sunday.

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Krason: Ideology and the Crisis of Integrity in American Politics

While politics is not known as a field that exactly encourages integrity—though that isn’t inevitable and wasn’t so at the time of our Founding Fathers, who despite imperfections were men of genuine character—the advance of ideological rigidity has substantially pushed it out of the picture. This has come mostly from the political left, as it has taken increasingly uncompromising and unreasonable—even irrational—positions, and the right has simply responded to it.

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Martin: Thoughts on Suicide

It takes only four seconds to reach the water, the experts tell us, hitting it at a speed of about 75 mph. Death is usually instantaneous, although a few have survived the trauma, some of them even returning to get it right the second time. And while the death toll is impressive, what really catches the eye is the fact that, almost without exception, they are all pointing West, hurling themselves into the black expanse of the night.

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Hendershott: Political Partisans Within The Ivy-Covered Halls

In her address last month at CPAC 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos strongly criticized the nation’s college campuses for trying to indoctrinate students. She claimed that the faculty — “from adjunct professors to deans” — are telling students “what to say, and more ominously, what to think. On many college campuses, if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community.”

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Hendershott: President of Catholic university in D.C. attacks Kellyanne Conway

In a normal world, university presidents are grateful for their graduates. They invite them back to campus, honor their achievements, and celebrate their accomplishments. University presidents know that the alumni are the most faithful constituency they have, and most avoid doing anything that might offend them. So, why would Patricia McGuire, the President of the Catholic Trinity Washington University, accuse Kellyanne Conway—one of Trinity’s most accomplished graduates—of “spreading a skein of lies” in her work as a senior advisor to President Donald Trump?

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Martin: Wallace Stevens and the Limits of Poetry

Stevens had been busy keeping that candle going for forty some years, beginning with his first published poem, “Sunday Morning,” which burst like a meteor upon the literary world in 1915, with its gorgeous images of a life spent without the least intention of wasting it on God or the world to come.

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Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR: A Bout With Cancer Reminded Me Not to Worry

What did I learn during those very worrisome and anxious months? Simply, know what you know; and what you don’t know, you do not know – PERIOD. Stick to the facts. Don’t catastrophize, creating your own dragons of unknown fears. And remember to BREATHE!

Too quickly, we jump into the dark lair of catastrophe and fear-dragons, presumptions and assumptions; we choke on our worries and anxieties.

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Krason: Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . The Trump Executive Order, National Security, And The Imperial Judiciary

The imperial American judiciary has struck again. This time it has taken upon itself the prerogative to enter a domain that historically it shied away from: national security.
A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Washington State stopped the implementation of President Trump’s executive order temporarily halting entry into the U.S. from seven Islamic-majority countries.

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Hendershott: Can Sociology Be Saved?

In its most recent “Two Minutes Hate” on President Trump, The Nation magazine’s hyperbolic headline warned, “Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination.” Claiming that if signed, the president’s order “would create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion and trans identity, The Nation predicts that the order would “exceed the authority of executive branch,” and “risk violating the Establishment Clause of the first Amendment to the Constitution.”

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Krason: The Judiciary’s Lawless Response to Trump’s Executive Order

The imperial American judiciary has struck again. This time it has taken upon itself the prerogative to enter a domain that historically it shied away from: national security. A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Washington State stopped the implementation of President Trump’s executive order temporarily halting entry into the U.S. from seven Islamic-majority countries.

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Martin: A Small Parenthesis in Eternity

Like most people who inhabit planet earth, the world I know is a place where things are perceived in a pretty uncomplicated way. When I leave the house in the morning, for example, and drive a half-dozen miles to work, the sun shines brightly upon my brow. And when, at day’s end, I turn the car around and head home, I am once again facing the sun. What

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