Cathleen Kaveny

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

By this author

Animal Ethics--Next Questions

Thanks to everyone for commenting on the post "The Status of Animals"  below  I was about to try to focus the question, but Jean Raber has already brilliantly and incisively done the work. So I am reposting her comment as the focus for a new thread:

I'd like to see less heat and snark in this discussion and more people addressing what I see as these larger emerging questions:

The status of animals

This is Molly Kaveny. She is a two-year-old labradoodle who lives in the house I grew up in, with my parents and sister—about an hour away from my house now. 

Over the past several months, I have been increasingly convinced that Mollyis a person—a non-human person, but a person nonetheless. She has emotions. She has moods. She has reason, and will. She has goals—and she pursues them with astonishing success. 

This picture offers an example. I had come home for a weekend visit. Wandering into the bedroom, Molly nuzzled into my partially zipped suitcase, and removed a pair of (clean) stockings. She then padded into the den, and over to me, rightly figuring that of the five or six people in the room, I would have the most interest in them. She is presenting me with a choice: Either I can chase her round and round the chair, as in a crazy cartoon sequence, or I can ransom the stockings immediately with a treat. Either way, from Molly's perspective, it is all good.

Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics--Theme: Law and Christian Ethics

The Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics, a professional society of approximately one thousand people who teach and write and work in the areas of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology, will meet next week at the Palmer House in Chicago. The SCE, which includes members from a wide variety of traditions within Christianity, meets annually in conjunction with the Society of Jewish Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics.

Because I am the president of the SCE this year, I got to set the theme: Law and Christian Ethics. And I am so delighted with the result!

As you can see if you peruse the program, we have a great set of papers to hear, on topics related to the theme and on other topics as well.

The two plenary sessions should be fascinating.

Rougeau on Ferguson

Vincent Rougeu, the dean of Boston College Law School, and author of Christians in the American Empire, has written a very perceptive and nuanced pice on Ferguson. He touches upon issues of class as well as race, and also highlights the role played by the American culture of g

Migration and Politics : Why isn't the Sun Belt Blue?

I was thinking about what the mobility in our society does to its political complexion: If Florida is full of transplanted New Yorkers and New Englanders, why isn't it bluer?

Nate Silver, as always, explains the issue from every angle. 



The King of Glory . . . rides . . . On Eagle's Wings

As several astute commentators have pointed out, I very likely mis-remembered singing "On Eagle's Wings" at my confirmation, becuause the song had not be published yet.

I repent of my mistake, and as proof of my repentance, offer Stephen Colbert's rendition of "The King of Glory." Word has it that some at First Things may have some doubts about his Catholicity. This should settle the matter. 



May Eternal Light Shine Upon Her. . .

Our fellow blogger, Ann Olivier, passed away last week. She was a remarkable woman; she earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and taught at Xavier University in New Orleans for many years.  Through many threads on many conversations, she enlightened, challenged, and pressed us all to recognize the complexity of God's creation. In fact, when I hear the words, "complexity, complexity," I thing of Ann. She was not only brilliant, she was unfailingly gracious.

Pope Francis and the Next Generation of Theologians

School is beginning again. . . and I was asked a question to which I am not sure I know the answer.

Will the example of Pope Francis attract peple with different sorts of interests and ways of viewing the Church to graduate studies in theology than did the examples of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI?

I myself didn't go to a Catholic college, so don't remember thinking much about who the Pope was (a youngish JPII) when I decided to go on. It was the questions in the field broadly construed --Catholic, Protestant, secular, that I found realy interesting. 

'A Minefield'

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, where religious exemptions to the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act were extended to a private for-profit company, has produced jubilation among those who regarded the mandate as a grave threat to religious liberty and consternation from those who think access to no-cost contraception should be a fundamental component of health care for women.