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Liberal Democracy as a Culture of Death: Why John Paul II Was Right | Dr. Raymond Dennehy | Ignatius Insight
"To claim the right to abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and
evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom." -- John Paul II, The Gospel of Life
Pope John Paul II's encyclical The Gospel of Life is the locus classicus for the claim that a culture of death is enshrouding the modern world. His
identification and critique of what he calls the "culture of death" directly challenge liberal democracy, particularly on its separation of freedom from truth. This
essay will focus on that challenge. The first part offers an analytic introduction to the term "culture of death," the second part unfolds the late pope's argument, and the
third part advances a defense of it. ...
Download and read the entire 33-page essay in PDF format.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Telos.
It has been made available by the kind permission of Telos and the author.
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Human Sexuality and the Catholic Church | Donald P. Asci
The Truth About Conscience | John F. Kippley
Pope John Paul II and the Christ-centered Anthropology of Gaudium et
Spes | Douglas Bushman
John Paul the Great | William Oddie
The Dignity of the Human Person: Pope John Paul II's Teaching on Divinization in the
Trinitarian Encyclicals | Carl E. Olson
The Case Against Abortion | An Interview with Dr. Francis Beckwith
What Is Catholic Social Teaching? | Mark Brumley
Introduction to Three Approaches to Abortion | Peter Kreeft
Some Atrocities are Worse than Others | Mary Beth Bonacci
Personally Opposed--To What? | Dr. James Hitchcock
Dennehy is Professor
of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco.
After serving from 1954-58 as a radarman in the U.S. Navy aboard the heavy
cruiser, USS Rochester in the Pacific Theater of Operations, he attended
the University of San Fransisco, obtaining a B.A. in philosophy. He studied
philosophy in the graduate school of the University of California, Berkeley,
finally getting his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto.
He is the author of Anti-Abortionist
at Large: How to Argue Intelligently about Abortion and Live to Tell About It and, most recently, a novel,
Soldier Boy: The War Between
Michael & Lucifer (2007). His previous books are Reason and Dignity
and an anthology he edited, Christian Married Love. He is frequently
invited on radio and television programs, as well as university campuses,
to speak and debate on topics such as abortion, physician-assisted suicide,
He is married to Maryann Dennehy, has four children and eleven grandchildren.
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