Humanum: Issues in Family, Culture, and Science

Humanum is a quarterly review of books published by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, DC. It is published as a free service, and new issues on particular themes are posted online at regular intervals through the year.

As the name Humanum indicates, we are about “the human”: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and how to rescue our humanity when this is endangered. Our aim is to sift our way with discernment through the flood of publications (some good, some confused, some pernicious) that claim to tell us about ourselves, about family, marriage, love, children, health, and human life.

There is a need for this, because while there is no shortage of voices telling us our danger, there are relatively few telling us who we are. And yet, to paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, there are a thousand ways to fall, and only one way to stand up straight. Our dangers are many, but there is only one way to become truly human, and it is the way of love. With the eyes of faith, Christians see in Jesus Christ a revelation of how we may share in the mystery of love.

Faith is not opposed to reason; rather it challenges reason to expand and deepen its investigation of man. Thus, while human reason could not have concluded on its own that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) or that God wills man for himself, once we have read the riddle of man in this light, human reason has no problem accepting the conclusion–-that man finds himself only through self-gift. It is, after all, a truth that makes sense of our experience.

Humanum is therefore a work of critical reason, having a particular concern with issues that directly affect the poor and the vulnerable in our society.

Previous year-long themes have included: childhood, home and family, health and medicine, and education.