Stories I’ve Found, 2/14/2014

Interesting Stories I’ve Found:

We Bind Ourselves to the One Who, in the Binding, Sets Us Free.  Melissa Musick Nausbaum tells the story of a conversion to Judaism which has resonance for the full commitment to religious life. The title sounds like a paradox, but it’s the only reason to make the commitment.

Vatican’s Doctrinal Congregation Isn’t So Supreme Anymore.  Thomas Reese tells the history of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. In the past year, this Congregation has received 5 different public rebukes from different cardinals, which would be unthinkable in the recent past. Follow the link to Pope Francis’ address to them for his vision of their ministry.

How the UN report on Vatican and Sex Abuse may hurt the reform cause. Bully pulpits hold all kinds of preachers.

John Allen writes in his new paper in this interview with Cardinal Sean O’Malley on Pope Francis.  The Cardinal says the Pope is softening tone, not stance, and looks at what’s being discussed in the Church.

Pope Francis says that going to Mass should be a life changing event.  It changed mine and continues to.

This global survey about the attitudes of Catholics reveals some deep divides.  What jumped out at me is how different American, Europe and Latin American are from Africa and the Philippines. This type of division has emerged in the Anglican communion, and should be on the radars of all Christians.

One deep divide among Catholic bishops worldwide is attitudes toward anti-gay legislation. David Gibson outlines this rift.  I hope the Synod of Bishops takes this up later this year, at least, or Pope Francis will weigh in on the matter soon.

The idolatry of money is alive and well. Jonathan Merritt looks at the Sochi Cadillac commercial and how it promotes materialism.  He also laments that his evangelical tradition isn’t offering a whimper of objection, in spite of the damaging effects of workaholism on family life, which would have come undoubtedly if sexuality had been used to sell the product.

Michael Sean Winters lays out some economic myths, particular how a commentary on Evangelii Gaudium relies on one.

At Millennial Journal, Brian Keaney asks Is Porn the Biggest Threat to American Families?   I would agree with him: porn is horrendous and dehumanizing, a symptom of deeper wounds, however the fact many men work so many hours per week that they have no time for family life, and the economic hardships facing many, many families shows there’s a bigger threat by far.

Dennis Coday reflects on the difference a year makes.  I think he’s nailed it: there was a weariness that’s now gone.

A Catholic author gets her voice back.  Sr. Elizabeth Johnson has written a new book on the relationship between God and non-human creation after a deep exploration of Darwin. Her new book, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love comes out March 15, and will go on my reading list.

A Life Without Regrets: Jack Ford explores the problem with this statement and the positive effects having some regret in our lives can have.  Even the Chairman of the Board sang about having a few regrets whilen “Doing It My Way.”

Some exciting new research brings forth a new stem-cell method, which provides an alternative to embryonic research.

The story of a remarkable women, Catherine Hamlin, a Nobel Prize nominee. She’s still performing surgery at the age of 90 without eyeglasses.

Omid Safi speculates what Islam would be like if Mohammed had been born in a snowy climate.  Almost every major world religion has come from the desert in one way or another. The picture of the Dome of the Rock in the snow is a great one.

Martin Marty gives us his memories and fondness for the pipe organ, and how it serves as a sign for those in niche markets.  My doctorate is in organ performance: I am part of that happy niche and would gladly see it grow.

An important guide for today’s times: How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian.

A report on Pope Emeritus Benedict one year after his monumental announcement. It sounds like he’s enjoying his retirement; something we should all aspire to.

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