Stories I’ve Found, 2/1/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

A late addition: Pope Benedict says Faith and Charity are inseparable.  This is something that should be obvious, however it can be easily forgotten in the rush of debate.

Papal Theologian Wojciech Giertych explains why women can’t be priests. He’s a Dominican, and his job the papal household is to double check the pope’s speeches and texts for doctrinal errors. I will let the reader disgest the main thrust of the article for themselves, and will highlight a quote later in the article: “The mission of the woman in the church is to convince the male that power is not most important in the church, not even sacramental power. . .What is most important is the encounter with the living God through faith and charity.” To say power isn’t the most important thing in the Church is an extremely important affirmation in my book.

Catholics Raise the Issue of Guns Amid Call to End Abortion is a story about how congressmen and senators who vote Pro-Life should also be in favor of gun control. Being for life means protecting life after birth as well as before birth; Cardinal Bernadin talked of the “Seamless Garment”, and Pope John Paul II spoke of life as an absolute value from beginning to end in Evangelium Vitae. Some of our representatives who profess being Pro-Life also have a A rating from the National Rifle Association.  I remember a candidate once told me he was: “Pro-Life and Pro-Gun.”  I didn’t vote for him (well, he was a candidate in a primary I didn’t vote in).

Isolation Leads British Muslims to Act Like Idiots is a warning for us all. The problem with isolating any minority group is it radicalizes both the minority and the majority, promotes stereotyping and misconceptions, and deepens prejudice. People living walled off from each other usually don’t co-exist in peace, harmony and justice.  It’s not only Muslims who’ll act like idiots when cut off from the rest of the world.

The Vatican as issued a strong response to the stance of the Society of St. Pius X that Jews are the “enemies of the Church.”  This article unpacks the entire current relationship between Jews and Catholics, as well as the dissedent group’s rejection of Nostrae Aetetae. Bishop Lefebvre was one of the extreme few bishops at Vatican II to vote against the document.  I think the SSPX gets way too much media attention.

Mark Silk makes a brief comment about a court case in Colorado in Pro-Lifers Need More Than a PR Adjustment.  A Colorado Catholic hospital was able to have a wrongful death suit dismissed by arguing Colorado law doesn’t recognize a fetus as a person. Mark’s point about putting your money where your mouth is, even if it means arguing your principles against your material interests, is well made. We aren’t moral people because it’s convenient or profitable. For the record, the Colorado conference of Catholic Bishops is reviewing the litigation.

Leah Libresco unpacks her Ideological Turing Test at the Chicago Ideas Week conference from last October. (Yes, this is a rare time I’m asking you to watch a video.) I find this concept of argument appealing and wish more of our debates would be like this. I love her quote: “If the answer is up yours, it doesn’t matter what the question was.”

If you want more, there’s a link here that will guide you to the Ideological Turing Tests she’s conducted. If you want to set up one of these in my neighborhood, let me know.

Lewis Richmond, a Buddhist writer and teacher, presents the question: Is Meditation Narcissistic?  His discussion of motivation is excellent, and I’m particularly struck by the quote in the second paragraph, when Gautama (who will be the Buddha) dismisses Mara the tempter with this line: “You are not interested in the welfare of the world.” Right motivation is as important to Christian spirituality as it is to Buddhist practice, as is the welfare of the world.

A Republican Solution to Poverty For Our Age brings out some forgotten wisdom from a former President of the United States. I was too young to remember this President, and he isn’t remembered very much today. Perhaps that should change.

In the category of trying to find the whole story, I found this essay by Professor Ilana Gershon entitled A Samoan Hoax, describing a lot of background of the Manti Te’o fictional girlfriend story. This piece helps unpack the situation, showing how modern technology doesn’t always work well with traditional communication and social standards of some cultures.

GetReligion unpacks some good approaches for all of us to read and listen to new stories about religion. What they have to say is applicable to any news story on any outlet.

Mark Silk shares his thoughts on What Would Jesus Pack?  and remembers the reason for militias in the first place. President George Washington led state militias against the Whiskey Rebellion, a western Pennsylvanian anti-tax movement.

Rowan Atkinson re-interprets Jesus’ First Miracle. I’ll be doing some research to find his version of the Bible.

Pope Benedict XVI released a dove at a Holocaust remembrance moment as a sign of peace. It was promptly attacked by a resident seagull. I guess nature doesn’t want to give peace a chance, either.


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