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December 23, 2012

As a blogger, I have two cardinal rules. The first is, “do not repeat that which you have already said”; the second, “do not repeat that which you have elsewhere read.” Since I resurrected this blog last January, the majority of posts have circled back to a few key topics: contraception, same sex marriage, the HHS mandate, religious liberty, and so on.

Part of why I was drawn to these topics is that it seems to me there is a dearth of constructive criticism of Catholic sexual ethics out there. In orthodox circles, you get unquestioning obedience to Humanae vitae with little to no attempt to explicate the encyclical for its skeptics (or, I suspect, to wrestle with it oneself). Amongst so-called liberal Catholics, you get a knee-jerk reaction to the Vatican coupled with a watered down secular ethos. So I’ve attempted in my own small way to think through this stuff and grope toward a “third way” that rejects a false dichotomy between blind adherence to the traditionalism of John Paul II, on the one hand, and to the libertinism of Dan Savage, on the other.

At the same time, I have said all I have to say about these issues and am, frankly, tired of quarreling with the Catholic bishops. Quarreling endlessly with the Catholic Church is what Protestants do, and I am ultimately not a Protestant, but a Catholic–though admittedly a very bad one! We liberals too readily forget that there is more to Catholicism than a list of sexual prohibitions. I do not wish to fall into the trap of monomania. Nor do I wish to violate my first maxim by simply repeating myself over and over and over and over.

Here is the other thing. I don’t want to write about public policy–or, at least, not in the way that Ezra Klein, Simon Johnson, and countless others already do so well. There are plenty of places online for that type of commentary and I have no desire to violate my second maxim, which is not to rehash the commentary of others.

Now, I realize that clearly articulating what one does not want to say is only a starting point. What I need to determine is where to go next. So that is a new year’s resolution. I can’t exactly when, but I do intend to get back in the saddle at some point in 2013.

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