Stories I’ve Found, 5/10/2013

The Syrian Bishops are still captives and there is no reliable word of who’s holding them or why.

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

In Proposals Abound for a Franciscan Reform of the Vatican,  John Allen surveys the first month of the new papacy and summarizes what’s happened and what’s likely next.

The USCCB’s office on Child Protection speaks out on how recent failings by Bishops are hurting their credibility.

Why Notions of Attractiveness Poison our Society  is a provocative essay by Robert Christian that uses the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” ad campaign as a starting point. A great quote here: “It is not simply that common cultural standards of attractiveness at this moment in American history are wrong and harmful, but that any embrace of standards of attractiveness—the rating, sorting, and objectifying of human persons based on their physical appearance—is incompatible with respect for the dignity and worth of the human person and stands as a serious obstacle to the common good.”

I will contest one statement he makes: “Our society glorifies disconnecting people’s physical appearance from their spiritual, intellectual, and emotional natures in order to objectify them so that they can be used instrumentally as sexual objects or observed, classified, and rated like pieces of art or inanimate objects.” If we treated each other as works of Art, humbling look up at the beauty God creates in each person, we would be treating people better, and our value of them would be closer to God’s value of them. Our society objectifies people in order to make them into commercial commodities, a mild form of prostitution, and consumers driven by unrestrained desire rather than wisdom or morality.

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz comments on a recent Vatican process and suggests changes. 

The report on Pope Francis’ meeting with the women’s superiors in Rome. 

Bill Tammeus asks What Radicalizes People of Faith?

Michael Gerson provides a thoughtful post on the common good. I love the quote from John Paul II, defining the Common Good as: “. . .good of all and of each individual, because we are really responsible for all.”

A Pennsylvania reporter shows how to apologize for a mistake.

The Dalai Lama visits the University of Maryland, making a great impression and offers his thoughts on non-violence.

In his post Pro-Life: Culture War or Not,  Michael Sean Winters offers a tour through the evolution of his Pro-Life attitudes, and a meditation of how the “Seamless Garment” standard of Cardinal Bernadin could be brought forward to persuade people that support different issues, such as those against the Death Penalty and those against Abortion, to a consistent view on the dignity of all human life.

George Handley shares Four Lessons From a Suicide. Worth reading.

Cardinal Giovanni Ravasi speaks out on the Mexican cult of Santa Muerte, labeling it blasphemous.

David Gibson ponders the ramifications of Mark Sanford’s return to politics. It seems interesting how serious certain moral transgressions are judged, and how little dishonestly like his is pushed aside. After all, President Clinton was impeached for lying about an affair. The statement that South Carolinians are like the French about voting for candidates with sexual transgressions in their past is an interesting one, and makes me wonder how many other secret French are out there.

Leah Libresco channels her inner C.S. Lewis as she asks what it would be like to have more than two genders.  I think we would truly be in the realm of alien psychology for this one.

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