My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The month of July typically provides an opportunity for me to get away for a bit during the summer, some of it for vacation and some of it to attend out-of-town conferences. This year saw the resumption of several conferences that had been cancelled or postponed during the COVID pandemic of the past two years. Among those that I attended were the International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, which took place at Saint Louis University, and the Conference of the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists, which was held at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. The topics of discussion for experts on Medieval canon law and diocesan archivists admittedly take place in a rarefied atmosphere not frequented by most people. Maybe that is why I find these subjects so fascinating!
Perhaps the topic of greater interest to people in general and parents in particular was the conference I attended on dealing with the challenges of gender ideology. Presentations included speakers from CanaVox, which they describe as “a cheerful marriage movement that offers reading groups to friends who support the historic understanding of marriage.” Their website, canavox.com, includes readings lists on topics such as:
There are also several excellent videos on the CanaVox website, canavox.com/videos, on the following topics:
While traveling, I also had the opportunity to read some very informative books related to these topics. Among these books is Unraveling Gender: The Battle Over Sexual Difference, published in 2022 by TAN Books, and was written by John Grabowski, who is Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Professor Grabowski describes gender ideology as one of the greatest moral errors of our times, threatening the truth and meaning of human sexuality. It is essentially the mistaken notion that gender is not necessarily connected to the sex of the body, but is a personal construct. Noting that the Catholic Church in her wisdom has stood up to stem the tide of this harmful new attack, Professor Grabowski draws upon Scripture and Church teaching to equip parents, religious educators, and clergy with the information they need to confront this dangerous ideology with clarity, confidence, and charity. As gender ideology continues to spread its errors, infecting our culture like a deadly virus, this book provides a valuable resource to confront this destructive ideology.
Another highly informative book from my summer reading was What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics, published by Harvard University Press in 2020, and was written by O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, Professor of Law, and Concurrent Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the principal bioethics advisory body to Pope Francis. Inspired by the insights of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, Professor Snead proposes a vision of human identity and flourishing that supports those who are profoundly vulnerable and dependent, especially children, the disabled, and the elderly. To show how such a vision would affect law and policy, he addresses three complex issues in bioethics: abortion, assisted reproductive technology, and end-of-life decisions, situating them within his framework of embodiment and dependence. He concludes that, if the law is built on premises that reflect the fully lived reality of life, it will provide support for the vulnerable, including the unborn, mothers, families, and those nearing the end of their lives. In this way, he argues, policy can ensure that people have the care they need in order to thrive.
I hope some of these resources which I have found very helpful will also be of valuable assistance to you.
May God give us this grace. Amen.