Distinctly Catholic

MSW in WSJ

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The Wall Street Journal asked a group of Catholics to answer the question: "The next pope should be....?" I was happy to be included in the group and answered that the new pope should be among the poor. I was frankly shocked at the coarseness of George Weigel's reply that the new pope should be a culture warrior, specifically one devoted to shoring up modern democracy. Huh? The papacy is, last time I checked, not a constitutional office.

A Man Had Two Sons

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Laetare. The word even sounds like what it signifies. In the midst of Lent with all its somberness, its awareness of the power of sin, its call to conversion which is never an easy call, we hear this word and it awakens in us the sense that the darkness will pass. Laetare Sunday is like the light a half hour before sunrise, starting to push back the darkness, but not yet.

 

Wieseltier Tackles the "Darwinist Mob"

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No one has done a better job exposing the hubris of scientism, as opposed to science, than Leon Wieseltier. So, it is unsurprising that he has decided to take on the "Darwinist mob" that has attacked a new book by Thomas Nagle. I do not share Wieseltier's sentiments about heresy, but his phrase "the soulfulness of reason" is more than compensation.

You can find his essay here.

Lott is Wrong

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Jeremy Lott is the influential editor of RealClearReligion, and he has penned an essay expressing his ardent desire that the next pope not be an American. His argument is hard to discern, but the essence of it is that the Church in the U.S. is in shambles, the American cardinals preside over the U.S. Church, ergo, a U.S.-born pope would be bad for the universal Church.

Contra My Colleagues

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Feeling feisty this morning, so I am going to take on two of my colleagues, Tom Roberts and John Allen. Let me start by saying that both men are friends as well as colleagues, indeed, Tom Roberts has become my indispensable friend in the past few years, the person with whom I chat on the phone nearly every day and with whom I consult on virtually every issue more important than planning dinner. And, it goes without saying that both men have been at this longer than me, have better sources, and know more than I do about the workings of Holy Mother Church.

Silk's Sound Advice on SSM

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Mark Silk, at RNS, calls attention to an amicus brief filed by the American Jewish Committee in the Supreme Court cases on same sex-marriage. Silk notes that the brief is the work of three scholars, one Protestant (Doug Laycock, of UVA who is second-to-none on religious liberty issues), one Jew (Marc Stern of the AJC) and one Catholic (Tom Berg, of the University of St. Thomas Law School and someone whose commentaries on these issues have taught me a great deal).

Vargas Llosa in English

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A reader, Oswald Sobrino, generously took me up on my request that someone translate the essay I linked to yesterday by Mario Vargas Llosa on Pope Benedict. My views of the now Pope-Emeritus are less sullen than the great poet's, but I think he captures the essence of Benedict in a way few Catholics have, and why Benedict's writings pose a challenge not just to Catholics but to the entire culture of the West. Thank you Mr. Sobrino for so generously translating the article and sending it on so I can publish it here.

“ The Man Who Disturbs”

by Mario Vargas Llosa

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In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016

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