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An Online Eudaimonist

Catholic philosopher explores the good, the bad and the beautiful


With his first child due in December and amid the demands of pursuing a doctorate in philosophy, Andrew Haines would not seem to have time for other activities. Yet he is president and cofounder of a new online think tank called the Center for Morality in Public Life, which highlights leading experts writing on the day’s hot cultural topics.

Studying at some of the best Catholic institutions in America, Haines holds a bachelor’s from Pontifical College Josephinum, a master’s from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is enrolled in the doctoral program at The Catholic University of America.

He lives in Herndon, Virginia, with his wife, Kathleen, and their unborn baby.

Fathers for Good caught up with Haines to talk about his home and professional life.

Fathers for Good: Describe your thoughts about becoming a father.

Haines: Being a new father is the single greatest gift the Lord has given to me, hands down. And I’m still quite busy unwrapping it!

Before I was married, I often wondered how anything could be more beautiful and attractive than the love of one’s wife; but now that our love has helped to create a new human person, I’m beginning to see how. Having a baby has made our love for one another even more intense, and it’s added an entirely new dimension to it.

Watching my wife grow is, I think, a more mystical experience for me than it is for her (I don’t have to contend with morning sickness and headaches). But because of those sufferings, I look to her very much in developing a deep and “Catholic” love for our baby. Her constant, physical relationship with our child draws me closer and closer to both her and the baby — and to the Trinity.

FFG: What’s the mission of the Center for Morality in Public Life?

Haines: The Center for Morality in Public Life is a very new project. In fact, we just recently received our nonprofit status in Virginia, and are just finishing up our 501(c)3 incorporation. You can visit our website at www.cfmpl.org.

The mission of the Center is to help advance positive, serious scholarship on topics in bioethics, economics, politics, and law in a way that is both well researched and accessible. All of our commentary is in line with a natural law perspective on human life and dignity, which is a position fully endorsed by the Catholic Church.

The Center was founded as a response to the widespread cultural idea that morality and good citizenship are two separable realities. Basically, we aim to reach college-aged and college-educated Americans — people shaping society on the “front lines” — and provide them with well-written, balanced, and honest positions on the importance of the common good, human dignity, and genuine happiness.

FFG: What are your duties as president?

Haines: As president and cofounder of CFMPL, I work with a number of collaborators to get initiatives off the ground. In a start-up organization there’s quite a lot to do! Plus, I’m also pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, so the workload is pretty demanding.

Recently, I’ve been working quite a bit with our executive officers in planning the schedule for some upcoming publications. Thankfully, we have a great team of professional scholars who’ve volunteered to sit on our editorial board: Patrick Lee and Jonathan Sanford of Franciscan University, Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame, Francis Beckwith, Christopher Tollefsen, Gerard Nadal, Andrew Trew — all great men, and authorities in their fields.

FFG: Do you have publications, seminars, conferences? How is the center funded?

Haines: The way we communicate our message at CFMPL is primarily via online publications and local presentations. Currently, we are working hard to promote our blog, Ethika Politika, which includes daily updates from a number of established and up-and-coming authors. It’s our quick-hit forum, designed to be highly readable, diverse, and consistent.

We are also working to release two other publications very soon: an online magazine, The Eudaimonist, and an organizational journal (something a little more “academic” that will feature the scholarship of our editors and outside writers). In addition to written publications, we’re also hoping to “take our show on the road” in the near future in the form of conferences, seminars, speaking engagements, etc.

The Center for Morality in Public Life is funded entirely by the generosity of like-minded individuals, who realize the crisis of culture in America today, and want to help effect real change in the hearts and minds of citizens across the nation. We are always in need of benefactors for everything from marketing costs to publication expenses.

FFG: What do you hope the center achieves in the short and long run?

Haines: As a start-up, CFMPL is only as effective as its business model. So, right now, our short-term goal is to establish a consistent readership, and a solid donor base to help with launching new, farther-reaching initiatives. Long-term, our hope is that we’ll be able to significantly affect the popular understanding of human life and dignity by providing a reasonable perspective on the integration of freedom, flourishing and true happiness.