University Faculty for Life

Rev. John Conley’s America Column

In January, UFL member Rev. John J. Conley, SJ, titular of the Henry J. Knott Chair of Philosophy and Theology at Loyola University Maryland, began work as a monthly columnist for America, the Jesuit weekly magazine of opinion. Many of his subsequently published essays have dealt with pro-life themes.

An Unwelcome Anniversary” (February) dealt with achievements of the pro-life cause since the Roe decision (the strengthening of the case against abortion through new genetic knowledge and the routine use of the sonogram) and the setbacks (the rise of physician-assisted suicide and academic apologies for infanticide.)

A New Consistent Ethic?” (March) explores how a new emphasis on the rights of conscience of health-care workers, institutions, employers, and taxpayers has created a consistent ethic-of-freedom paralleling the older consistent ethic-of-life.

Dignity in the Dock” (April) examines the effort by influential American philosophers to remove the concept of dignity from ethical and political discourse. Such a removal is part of a broader campaign to justify abortion and euthanasia.

Coining Perfection” (June) critiques the new search for the genetically perfect child as a lethal assault upon the disabled and as a tragic abandonment of the moral perfection once prized by the sage and the saint.


Robert Gotcher is a dogmatic and moral theologian and long-time member of UFL who received his Ph.D. from Marquette University. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin.