Stories I’ve Found, 3/1/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

John Allen Jr. has been writing several good articles about upcoming Conclave’s politics, so bookmarking his article page is a good idea.  I’ve been reading his Papabile of the Day series, and it’s in depth and balanced, presenting reasons pro and con for each cardinal/candidate.  Whispers in the Loggia has been providing some first class information as well (as usual).

This Op Ed piece by Frank Bruni from the New York Times sparked a controversy in his assumptions about the negative nature of celibacy.  There are bad things on the shelf of every cultural and commitment niche, closing up one shop won’t cure the ills of the whole shopping mall. I don’t think this guy understands very much about the subject from the inside, and leaps to some conclusions that are unwarranted.

James Martin, S.J. replies an excellent article It’s Not About Celibacy: Blaming the Wrong Thing for the Sexual Abuse Crisis.  Even with the overwhelming evidence that child abuse is a general problem of society that’s reared its ugly head in all faiths, all schools, all institutions that include young people, it’s amazing how much celibacy in the Catholic priesthood seems to get blamed for the entire problem. Our society is overdue for a huge conversation about the abuse of power in general.

Francis X. Clooney also comments in Reply To The Wages Of Celibacy from another viewpoint, incorporating ideas from Eastern monastic practice. His view that celibacy is different, not better or worse than marriage, is one I’d embrace.

Omid Safi gives us an excellent reflection on prayer in How To Pray: Presence In The Heart.  Reminds me of a quote from Hamlet: “My words fly up toward heaven, but my thoughts stay down here on earth. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”  When we pray, however we pray, our hearts do need to be where our feet are.

Nicholas C DiDonato gives us An Evidence Based Rethinking of the Religion/Science Conflict, debunking some common assumptions of how much science people of faith know. I daresay people of faith know more about science than vice versa.

Last week an article on George Washington’s faith, this week one on Thomas Jefferson’s.  Jefferson was a fascinating man, and his thoughts on religion were very different than many of his contemporaries.

It’s March Madness at Religion News Service! Take part in their Sweet Sistine bracket of the top 16 Papabile.  I’m just sorry Fr. Dougal MacGuire isn’t there.

The Dish presents Which Religions Are Most Chaste.  I’m sure there are people interested in this chart, although I’m not sure how they generated the data.

Marc Barnes gives us 5 Reasons To Kill Christian Music in the Bad Catholic blog at Patheos.  I agree with the last statement in this post: “Be Christian. Write Music”, but not much in the middle. There’s no way to kill a genre in music, whether you think it’s good, bad or indifferent, because labels like this don’t go away. Marketers label music because they think they can better sell stuff this way, and don’t usually respond to intellectual critique (some would say they never respond to intellect). Song writers usually go along with this because they want to get publicity.  K-Love will stay on the air because lots of people listen to it, and it’s supported. The quote he wants us to tattoo on our faces is far too long for almost any face (and you could only read it backward in a mirror if you did that). Once you give a piece of music to someone else, you have no control over it any longer, including how it gets tagged. So griping about how something is classified is usually pretty useless, unless you’re a librarian. I should know: I write music and I was once a librarian.

GetReligion uncovers the general ignorance of reporters in Why Is The Pope So Old (And Other Media Questions)?  The video included is cute even though it’s slightly inaccurate. I think the comment about the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting a point guard to improve their relief pitching is good characterization of seeing a reporter talk about an issue they know nothing about after consulting experts who aren’t.

In need of some wisdom, I found this charming piece recalling the Wit and Wisdom of Will Rogers. Having spent part of my childhood on a farm, I understood all the references, even though I never did all of them (especially the painful one).

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