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.
Over at NPR, a great story on Pope Francis and his views on the economy. It included some quotes from yours truly. I would note that the accompanying written article has different content and is also worth reading.
Tracey Rowland, who is one of my favorite theologians, has a great article up at Religion & Ethics about Comunione e Liberazione (CL) and the influence their founder Father Luigi Giussani had on both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, and why that influence is critical to understanding Francis' position vis-a-vis liberation theology. Great stuff.
Yesterday, I issued the plea that both sides in the debate about same sex marriage be respectful of the good intentions of each other, and resist the urge to hurl the epithets like “bigot” or “civilizational threat.” Of course, the discussion in front of the Supreme Court today will not be a political discussion but a legal one. So, let us look at the role of the law in adjudicating this issue.
Last Friday, I participated in the "on-the-record" conference call with Melissa Rogers, the new head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Like my colleague, Mark Silk who blogged about the call here, I was disappointed that Rogers was kept on such a short leash by the White House Communications team. In the end, however, what matters is that Rogers is allowed to speak up at policy-making decisions within the White House, not what she can say to a gaggle of reporters.
Regular readers will know of my almost visceral dislike for former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and his ilk: These denizens of Wall Street have no place in policy-making positions in the kind of Democratic Party I was reared to admire. So, I especially enjoyed Noam Scheiber's look at how the comically inept politics of Cyprus nonetheless achieved a better bargain for the people of their country than Geithner achieved for ours.