At the Boston College magazine, William Bole has a splendid article about two researchers (one, the happily named Professor Pontiff), who looked at POW records to determine with the strict military hierarchy that works so well on the battlefield worked equally well in the changed circumstance of a POW camp. Turns out, not so much. You can read the whole, typically fascinating, story by Bole here.
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli was the often controversial Secretary of State who engineered the Ostpolitik between the Holy See and various communist regimes. He also turned out to be a holy priest who spent time visiting the imprisoned at the Casal del Marmo where Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Vatican Insider has the story, a story that proves the Vatican Curia was not always filled with those who ambitioned only for their own prestige.
I mentioned the on-going danger of Pelagianism in my post this morning on the Triduum. Then, about an hour later, I read the Holy Father's sermon at this morning's Chrism Mass (h/t to Rocco), and, lo and behold, he mentioned Pelagianism too! The entire homily is worth reading. Very beautiful. And, I hope his description of what makes a good priest will guide his selection of new bishops!
Today, we commence the Triduum. Last year, I wrote essays for each of the three days and remain sufficiently pleased with them so as not to try a repeat. This year, as well, my understanding of the Triduum has been immeasurably deepened by reading the second volume of Pope Benedict’s Trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth which deals with the events of Holy Week.
Father Michael Jacques calls the recently passed GOP House budget "shameful" in this essay at a New Orleans alternative paper, the Lens. I had expressed the hope that Congressman Paul Ryan's stated desire to enflesh more Aquinas than Rand would begin to show up in his numbers but as Fr. Jacques points out, we are still getting an essentially Randian view of government's obligations to the poor which is to view them with contempt.
Here is a provocative essay by Michael Stafford in which he analyzes the "cult of the self" and the ways it can be confronted by Christian faith. He makes many interesting points, and I admire his trenchant writing style. I would only say that when we attack modernity, as attack it we must, we are more persuasive and convincing when we recognize the many wonderful things modernity has accomplished as well as pointing out its ugly side. Advances in modern medicine deserve a shout out.
I've said it before and will say it again: When I grow up, I want to be able to write like Leon Wieseltier. In his latest commentary at The New Republic, Leon eviscerates the next big idea, the "Big Data" claims put forward by those whose understanding of the human person is, as he demonstrates, crimped beyond recognition.
None of us wishes to be judged by our worst moment, our worst decision, or our worst blog post. But, this blog post by Father Zuhlsdorf, with a link to a post by canonist Ed Peters, is a perfect example of what makes me crazy about the Catholic right.
The Catholic world continues to be intrigued by the person of Pope Francis. At this early stage, everyone is trying to interpret the small decisions he has made and discern greater significance in them. Already, some are voicing the fear that this breath of fresh Argentine air known as Pope Francis may limit his capacity for change to mere symbols, as if a symbol can ever be “mere” to a Catholic.
Democrats for Life of America has filed an amicus brief in two cases relating to the HHS mandate and, specifically, the inclusion of abortifacient drugs on the list of those preventive services that must be covered. I am agnostic on whether these drugs are truly abortifacients, having read articles on both sides of the issue that made sense to my biology-challenged brain.