It has been seventeen years since my friend Leon Wieseltier wrote an essay, “After Memory,” for the The New Republic to commemorate the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Unfortunately, TNR had a problem with its electronic archives a few years back, and you may need to trot to the library stacks to find it. It will be worth the effort.
Edward N. Peters, who has held the Edmund Cardinal Szoka chair in faculty development at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit since 2005, has been appointed to serve as a consultant to the church's highest court, the Apostolic Signature. That's the Vatican court headed up by Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke.
When the innocence of children is “trampled upon, broken, sullied, abused, and destroyed,” then “the earth becomes arid and the whole world sad,” the Vatican’s top sexual abuse prosecutor said this morning in Rome.
tMonsignor Charles J. Scicluna indirectly critiqued the clerical culture in which abuser priests were routinely given second chances.
Vietnam: Day Six
The interfaith delegation to Vietnam, of which I’m a part, concluded our week by meeting with a variety of officials in Hanoi, the capital. Invariably, Vietnamese government officials and the leaders of various non-governmental organizations greeted us warmly, thanked us for coming, served us the traditional tea and welcomed our efforts to enhance U.S./Vietnamese partnership over the issue of Agent Orange/dioxin.
Law professors, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, wrote a recent book titled, "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture."
They suggest that "church shopping" is contributing to the polarization of the country.
They begin this essay with a shocking paragraph about Catholic women and abortion (see below), but the real nut of their research is here:
The difference in viewpoints between traditionalists and modernists is profound -- and has dramatic effects on today’s culture wars.
CNN reports today that about a dozen Italian women have posted an open letter to the pope on the internet in which they claim to have had intimate relationships with priests and urge the church to abolish celibacy for Catholic clergy.
Vietnam: Day Five
How does one translate the human suffering we’ve witnessed into new policies and modes of cooperation between the peoples and governments of Vietnam and the United States?
That is the challenge of days five and six in Vietnam. We’ve seen and hugged the children with distorted limbs and enlarged heads and other birth defects that cry out for healing. We’ve walked on the toxic earth where the U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange/dioxin during the Vietnam War. As people of faith, we can easily describe our task as confessing “social sin,” and making reparations.
But such language does not work well in the world of diplomacy, especially when one party (the United States) refuses to accept responsibility for the effects of the toxin.
The President listed many steps he is taking to prevent another catastrophe like the one occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which make sense. But, the central difficulty the past few weeks, and the President knows this better than anyone, is that he government charged with protecting our shores lacks the technology to stop the oil gushing from the broken well, and must rely on the same company whose willingness to cut corners created the mess in the first place. None of the steps the president outlined address this difficulty.
Catholic priests, Fr. Marcial Maciel -- the "efficacious guide to youth," founder and beloved patriarch of the Legionaries of Christ and sexual predator -- Bernie Madoff and others have employed "affinity fraud" to prey on those in a similar religious or ethnic class, as I've previously written.
Today the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a purported money manager, his New York City-based investment company, and two of his associates with conducting an affinity fraud and Ponzi scheme that specifically targeted investors living in the Caribbean and African-American communities of Brooklyn.
Affinity fraud is real and its dangerous. Be alert.