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Stephen Heaney

Associate Professor


  • Education
  • BA, College of the Holy Cross (1979)
    PhD, Marquette University (1988)

  • Expertise
  • Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, Ethics and Public Policy


  • Member Archdiocesan Bioethics Commission
  • Member Archdiocesan Faith in Action Board
  • Member Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Program
  • Member of Board of Curatio, a lay healthcare apostolate

Selected Presentations

"The Alien Visitor: An Approach to Questions of Personhood" at the "The Value of Human Life" Conference, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH, Oct. 23-25, 2009.

"Aliens Look at Sex and Marriage" at Men's Breakfast Club at Church of St. Helena, Minneapolis, MN, January 23, 2010.

"How Should Catholics Vote?" at University Faculty for Life Conference, Villanova University, Philadelphia, PA, June 2-4, 2006.

Presentations to the meetings of the profession of Kinlein, October 2002 through April 2006: "Who Am I, and What Difference Does It Make?" Parts I-IV "Natural Law and the Family" "Natural Law and Society"

"Is the Catholic University a Safe Haven for Its Faculty? Academic License vs. Academic Freedom" at conference entitled Joy in the Truth: The Catholic University in the New Millennium, at University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2005.

"Separating Philosophy from Law: On the Purely Legal Status of the Unborn," at annual meeting of Minnesota Philosophical Society, October 1990.

"Establishing Ethical Foundations: A Commentary on the Vatican Instruction Respect for Human Life," at Loras College Sesquicentennial Bioethics Conference, Dubuque, IA, April 1990.

"Aquinas and the Early Embryo" at philosophy colloquium, College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, November 12, 1988.

"Aquinas and the Moral Status of the Conceptus," at conference of the Society of Christian Philosophers; Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 13-15, 1988.

"'You Can't Be Any Poorer Than Dead': Difficulties in Recognizing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration as Medical Treatments," at bioethics conference "Life Sustaining Treatments: Ethical and Religious Perspectives"; Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, June 8-11, 1988.

Publications: Books

Abortion: A New Generation of Catholic Response. Braintree, MA: The Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center, 1993.

Publications: Articles

“Speculative Knowledge, Practical Knowledge, and Apprehending the Good: Reflections on Interpretations of Aquinas and the Natural Law.” Reviewed, Under Revision

“On Good and Evil in the Things That Afflict Us.” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, November 6, 2017, http://www.hprweb.com/2017/11/on-good-and-evil-in-the-things-that-afflict-us/

“Fundamental Inclinations and Sexual Desires.” Nova et Vetera (English) Vol. 15, no. 1 (2017): 37-52.

“Going Public: The Reasonable Role of Religious Faith in Law & Society.” Touchstone Magazine, March/April 2016.

“Of Hortas and Humans: Meditations on a 50-Year-Old Television Show.” The Human Life Review. Vol XL, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 31-36.

“Two Questions on Administering Nutrition and Hydration.” The Bellarmine Forum, vol IV, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 11-14.

“The Visitor.” The Human Life Review vol. 36, no. 2, Spring 2010.

“Protecting Conscience in Health Care: A Road Not Traveled.” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Winter, 2008.

“How Should Catholics Vote? Bringing Moral Principles to Life” in Life and Learning XVI: Proceedings of the Sixteenth University Faculty for Life Conference, ed. Joseph W. Koterski, SJ. Washington, DC: University Faculty for Life, 2007.

“The Dangerous Confusions of Goodridge” in The Human Life Review, Fall 2004.

"Prolife Voting: More Than a Hill of Beans" in The Human Life Review, Summer 2000

“The Catholic University Project: What Kind of Curriculum Does It Require?” in Wilcox and King (eds.), Best Practices: Enhancing Religious Identity at Catholic Colleges and Universities (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Univ. Press)

Articles in NaProEthics Forum:

“The Law of Gradualness and the Moral Demands of Marriage,” March 1997

“Reproductive Technology and Consistency,” March 1998.

"'You Can't Be Any Poorer Than Dead': Difficulties in Recognizing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration as Medical Treatments" in Linacre Quarterly, September, 1994.

"Aquinas and the Presence of the Human Rational Soul in the Early Embryo," The Thomist, January, 1992.

"Ethical Foundations of Respect for Human Life", Homiletic and Pastoral Review, April, 1991.

"On the Legal Status of the Unborn," in The Catholic Lawyer, vol. 33, no. 4, 1991.

"Aquinas and the Moral Status of the Conceptus" [Revised] in Human Life Review, Winter 1989.

Publications: Public Interest

“The Dark Spirit in Our Institutions: Catholics, Take Heed” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, September, 2019.

With Dianne Johnson, Sarah Spangenberg and Patrick G. Spencer, “The Abandonment of Professional Ethics, Individual Nurses, and the Patient.” Public Discourse, April 10, 2019. https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/04/51161/

“Running the Church on Hail Marys” Crisis Magazine, August 22, 2018. https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/running-the-church-on-hail-marys

“LOL: No Laughing Matter.” Public Discourse January 23, 2018 http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2018/01/20803/

“It Stinketh: On the End (and The End?) of the Modern University.”
Public Discourse, January 22, 2018 http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2018/01/20079/

“A Proposal for the Healthcare Professions: It’s Time to Refuse to Deal In Death.” Public Discourse, October 31, 2017 http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/10/20154/

“When Our Memory Fails Us,” in Crisis, July 12, 2016 http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/when-memory-fails

“Stump Speech for a New Candidate,” in Public Discourse, July 12, 2016.

“On #NeverTrump (and #NeverHillary),” in Public Discourse, June 21, 2016

“Keeping the Spotlight on Planned Parenthood.” Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good. Online Journal of The Witherspoon Institute. September 14, 2015. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/09/15670/

“Cats and Dogs and Marriage Laws.” Public Discourse, Ethics, Law, and the Common Good. Online journal of The Witherspoon Institute, April 3, 2013. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/04/9716/.

“Marriage Vote: For the Children,” [sic: not my title!] Star Tribune, October 16, 2012. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/174479341.html

“Two Steps From Reasonable About Marriage.” Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good. Online journal of The Witherspoon Institute, May 7, 2012. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/05/5263.

“The Zero Sum Games.” Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good. Online journal of The Witherspoon Institute. March 20, 2012. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/03/4875.

Commentary, “Define the Meaning of Marriage in Minnesota Constitution.” Star Tribune, March 8, 2012.

“Personally Opposed, but Sleeping with the Enemy.” Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good. Online journal of The Witherspoon Institute. February 6, 2012. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/02/3940

2011-2012 Blog Posts, marriagematters.mncc.org

  • Mar. 27, 2012: Public Discourse on Marriage http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2012/03/public-discourse-on-marriage/
  • Feb. 7, 2012: So What, Exactly, Is Marriage? http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2012/02/so-what-exactly-is-marriage/
  • Jan. 27, 2012: Deeper Than Desire http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2012/01/deeper-than-desire/
  • Jan. 12, 2012: Promises of Marriage and the Self http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2012/01/promises-of-marriage-and-the-self/
  • Dec. 20, 2011: Love + Commitment vs. A Commitment to Love http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2011/12/love-commitment-vs-a-commitment-to-love/
  • Nov. 29, 2011: How I Misunderstood Marriage http://marriagematters.mncc.org/2011/11/how-i-misunderstood-marriage/

“Catholic Church: Freedom of Conscience Is Under Assault” StarTribune, Nov. 18, 2011

“Abortion, Divorce and Same-Sex Marriage: No Blood, No Foul?” at Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute, Oct. 11, 2011. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/10/3676)

With Teresa A. Collett, “Let Minnesotans Vote on the Definition of Marriage,” Pioneer Press, May 18, 2011.

“Just the Facts, Ma’am,” at Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute, Nov. 29, 2010. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/11/2099).

“A Marriage Tail,” at Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute, Aug. 13, 2010. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/08/1507)

Articles in The Healing Word:

  • “Naturally Deaf?” Summer, 2009
  • “The Natural Law: Not Just for Catholics,” Spring, 2010
  • “Acceptance or Despair?” Fall, 2010.

Exchange with columnist Craig Westover on abortion following Supreme Court decision in Carhart v. Gonzales, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, June 27. 2007

Article on same-sex marriage in Pioneer Press, February, 2004.

Counterpoint piece in StarTribune, “Stem Cell Research IS Frankenscience,” July 2001.

Counterpoint piece in StarTribune, “Human Sexuality Is About the Body,” August 2000.

With Anne M. Maloney (College of St. Catherine), "Lying in Wait": An Open Letter to the Producers of “PrimeTime Live,” in Human Life Review, Spring 1992.

Various short essays in Sisterlife (newsletter of national Feminists for Life), and The Minnesota Feminist (newsletter of Feminists for Life, MN).