EDITORS: Margaret Harper McCarthy (US) and Léonie Caldecott (UK)

EDITORIAL BOARD: Stratford Caldecott (Founding Editor); Joseph C. Atkinson; David S. Crawford; José Granados DCJM; Michael Hanby; Nicholas J. Healy; Antonio López FSCB (Dean, John Paul II Institute); Paolo Prosperi FSCB; D. C. Schindler; Jeanne Heffernan Schindler; David L. Schindler; Kenneth Schmitz; Mary Shivanandan.


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: there is no subscription fee. New issues on particular themes will be posted online at regular intervals through the year.

The great advantage of an online journal such as this is that the date of publication does not mark a final cut-off point, making further revision impossible. In fact because each issue of Humanum is themed, new reviews can be added over time, making it a place to return to again and again for advice and guidance.

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.

How it works

Each issue has a main theme around which the reviews and articles cluster, and these themes progress as follows, with four issues per year. We began with an issue on THE CHILD, because this revealed the foundation of our perspective on humanity: the child is the purest revelation of man and his relationship to Being. Then, in a cycle of four issues under the heading of “Recovering Origins” we focused on Adult Children of Divorce, Artificial Reproduction, Same-Sex Unions, and Absent Fathers. In this way we tried to examine some of the most challenging developments in modern culture and their impact on human life and meaning. In the second year-long cycle of issues we focus on “Home and Family”, including A Mother's Work, Technology in the Home, and Home and Neighborhood, before moving on in the following year to the theme of “Health and Medicine,” followed by "Education" and then by "Ecology."

The articles and reviews on offer in these electronic pages are intended as a service to help you in your work of research and discernment. We hope you will find them useful, whatever your field of interest or line of work, whether you read as a parent, a health-care professional, a marriage counselor, a scientist, a teacher, or a student. If you are interested in humanity, then Humanum is for you. We welcome your interest, your involvement, and your advice.