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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.

Related Articles, Excerpts, & Interviews:

The Illusion of Freedom Separated from Moral Virtue | Raymond Dennehy
Contraception and Homosexuality: The Sterile Link of Separation | Raymond Dennehy
Peanuts and Thomists | Raymond Dennehy
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

Raymond 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, and cloning.

He is married to Maryann Dennehy, has four children and eleven grandchildren.

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