Interesting Stories I’ve Found:
Never Be Afraid of Tenderness, Pope Francis’ Christmas interview with La Stampa. His homily for December 20 is also profound: “Pride makes us barren; Humility makes us fruitful.” A friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says the retired Pope is on the same wavelength as his successor in many ways.
Cardinal Raymond Burke made the news this week, both for his interview with EWTN and for his removal from the Vatican Congregation of Bishops. There’s a lot of reactions to these events, and in charity I’ll point you to a partial transcript of the EWTN interview with Raymond Arroyo. As a seeker of truth, I prefer to rely on primary sources as much as possible for the unfiltered story, and unfiltered stories should always be accessible.
From 2009, Rocco Palma gives this look at Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who just replaced Cardinal Burke on the Congregation for Bishops. I love the quote: “I have yet to see where the canonical approach has changed anyone’s heart.” John Allen processes this news of the Congregation of Bishops shake up, and Michael Sean Winters adds more material to this portrait as well has his take on The Shake Up in Rome.
Social Justice controversy comes to campus: dozens of Catholic leaders are protesting Catholic University of America’s decision to accept a large donation from the Koch brothers. CUA answers its critics and says accepting the grant is fully consonant with Catholic teaching. Is Catholicism Compatible with Libertarianism? Michael Peppard says it amazing the question is still asked. According to Catholic Social teaching and the pronouncement of every Pope who’s addressed economic issues, the answer is no. Don’t Call Us Marxist Because We Critique Capitalism provides some background on the Christian response to poverty in the past century, including a forgotten figure that Martin Luther King, Jr. studied.
Righteous Enemies: Philip Jenkins tells a story of the Holocaust, where many Italians did what they could to help Jews evade Nazi persecution.
The spiritual side of agriculture is unpacked in this fine interview.
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson has been removed from the program over anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ. I wonder what network executives expect: in a reality show about rural, evangelical Christian folks, what would you expect their prejudices and worldviews to be? If it’s a reality show, why are you bothered by what they’re saying, as long as it’s honest? Phil is held up as a righteous, homespun, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, and then slammed because his attitude toward gays is consistent with how he grew up and what he is. Even though these folks are presented as God fearing people, the reason they’re in the public view is in service to the Golden Calf, which is wrong. The only morality of Golden Calf worshippers is making money, which includes elevating people like Phil as well as Miley to super status. Expecting Golden Calf morality to be internally consistent is like collecting Fool’s Gold.
Why GQ would interview him also stretches my mind, except in service to the Golden Calf.
Omid Safi has a lovely reflection on the meaning of Christmas, based on the Yoda ornament he hangs on his Christmas tree. I know some folks would be surprised that some Muslims celebrate Christmas, but if you read the article, you’ll understand.