by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

This article was first published April 24, 2006 at National Catholic

The word martyr conjures up images of Christians being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum and Nero burning Christians for torches at his garden parties.

But it is possible for us to give compelling witness to the faith without blood being actually shed.

In this sense, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts was martyred last month, when the bishops decided to stop offering adoption services, rather than deny the faith. While no one was killed, the Church suffered publicly: world-wide negative publicity, mass resignations by the lay board members of Catholic Charities and lost opportunities to serve the children of Massachusetts. (more…)


by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

This article was first published August 14, 2006 at National Catholic

The Catholic Church has recently had several opportunities to reiterate its traditional teaching that homosexuality is disordered.

The U.S. bishops expressed their opposition to same-sex “marriage.” The Vatican issued its guidelines for seminaries, directing that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies be barred from holy orders. And the Archdiocese of Boston has shut down its 100-year-old adoptions program rather than place children with same-sex couples. Although the Church has taken heat for each of these positions, there is increasing evidence that the Church is more humane and realistic than her opponents. (more…)


by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate is his contribution to the course of Catholic Social Teaching. Many commentators seem to read this document as if it were a think tank white paper, and ask whether the Popes endorse their particular policy preferences. I must say that I surprised myself by not reflexively reading it in this way. After all, I spent many years teaching free market economics. I distinctly remember reading Centesimus Annus for the first time, and mentally checking to see if I agreed with it. (more…)


by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

This article was adapted from a speech Jennifer Roback Morse gave on January 21, 2006 for the Acton Institute Lecture Series Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

When John Paul II published Centesimus Annus in 1991, the encyclical opened new vistas for the understanding of the relationship between markets and morals, between respect for private property and consumer habits tempered by Christian moderation. He called for exploring new ways to combine the operation of the market with the support of the weak. John Paul’s challenge is even more urgent today when people understand that communism is not a viable strategy for achieving either economic growth or solidarity with the poor. (more…)


by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D

The following is taken from Catholic Social Teaching on the Economy and the Family: an alternative to the modern welfare state, delivered on January 21, 2006, at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

People unfamiliar with Catholic social teaching may be surprised to learn that the church has consistently condemned socialism. The Catholic Church has never embraced “equality” the way socialism has. The church is not indifferent to the poor. Rather, the church proposes an alternative principle for helping them. Instead of “make everyone equal” as a guiding premise, the church proposes “defend the weak” as the appropriate posture toward the poor. These approaches have different factual foundations and distinct policy implications, especially with regard to society’s most basic institution, the family. (more…)