Weekly Rewind

The power of ‘thanks’ by Chuck Leddy (Harvard Gazette)

Chuck Leddy notes the findings of a book by Harvard Business School associate professor Francesca Gino, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, which (among other subjects) tackles gratitude and its motivating effect on others.  Based off of several studies, the book explores how people’s sense of self-worth and motivation are positively impacted by expressions of gratitude in both the workplace and in day-to-day life, showing the practical implications of doing something our parents always tried to teach us to do: say “thank you.”

Freed of a Secret’s Burden, a Soccer Player Looks Ahead by Sam Borden (The New York Times)

Sam Borden interviews former US national soccer team player Robbie Rogers, who recently retired from soccer after coming out.  Rogers describes himself saying, “I’m a Catholic, I’m a conservative, I’m a footballer and I’m gay.” Rogers expresses his relief that he could finally be honest to the people in his life and discusses the possibility of returning to professional sports, saying, “’Maybe I will go back. Right now, I’m just happy to be out and being honest with people. But just because I’m out doesn’t mean I’m 100 percent healthy. It’s been 25 years that I haven’t been myself. Twenty-five years of lying. That’s really, really hard.’”

Unfolding drama of Pope Francis’ new papacy is worth watching closely by John Gehring (National Catholic Reporter)

John Gehring is hopeful that Pope Francis will breathe new life into a church rocked by scandal and an ineffective bureaucracy, especially since he has already made himself known as a pope for the poor.  While some may be saddened that this pope is not likely to overturn the Church’s stances on birth control, homosexuality, and women’s ordination, there is also reason to believe that he will take a more moderate tone that will lead to more unity and less division.  Ultimately, it is an opportunity for the renewal of the Church as a whole.  As Gehring says: “One man alone can’t renew a global church of 1.2 billion Catholics. Pope Francis will need a stiff wind at his back stirred up by priests, nuns and lay Catholics who love our church and realize the treasures of a 2,000-year faith tradition must be held in creative tension with a modern, pluralistic world.”

For Catholics, a new kind of pro-creation by Christiana Z. Peppard (The Washington Post)

Christiana Peppard lauds Pope Francis for bringing renewed attention to two major right-to-life issues that go beyond the traditional ones – poverty and the environment.  As she points out, “In his Palm Sunday homily, Francis lamented the preponderance of ‘Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation!’ These exclamations nestle theology squarely into the thorny nexus of economic globalization, environmental degradation, and global poverty.”

Priest deplores ‘shameful’ Ryan budget, lauds Landrieu for her opposition by The Rev. Michael Jacques (The Lens)

The Rev. Michael Jacques is disgusted by the recently-passed House budget put forward by Paul Ryan, which includes drastic cuts to programs for the most vulnerable in our nation, and applauds an alternative budget proposal put forward by Senator Mary Landrieu.  Jacques believes that a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility need not exist independent of a strong commitment to the common good, saying “It may have taken a miracle for Jesus to feed a crowd of thousands with only a few pieces of bread and fish, but Congress doesn’t need divine intervention to make sure responsible deficit reduction spares the elderly, children and struggling families.”

In my twin sister’s rape, there were many victims by Christa Parravani (The Washington Post)

Christa Parravani opens up about how her twin sister’s rape really affected everyone who loved her sister, and ultimately everyone that loved Christa herself as the pain trickled down in waves and affected not only their lives but the lives of many around them.  As shocking as the statistics are (one in three women are assaulted worldwide), statistics don’t paint the full picture, as many, many more people who may not have been raped themselves have had to face repercussions of a loved one’s rape.  Parravani shows that rape ultimately affects us all, saying, “When you hear or see a story about rape or read a statistic about sexual violence against women, multiply the number of people harmed. Be conservative, if you must. Assume that two other women loved or depended on each woman or girl who was violated. So, for one rape, three are injured.”

A Special Vocation: To Show People How To Love by Paul Gondreau (Catholic Moral Theology)

Paul Gondreau writes, “Pope Francis bestowed an extraordinary Easter blessing upon my family when he performed such an act (a small act with great love) in embracing my son, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy.”  And this moment has touched countless people around the world.  Gondreau describes the lesson that can be drawn from this experience, saying, “The lesson my disabled son gives stands as a powerful testament to the dignity and infinite value of every human person, especially of those the world deems the weakest and most ‘useless.’ Through their sharing in the ‘folly’ of the Cross, the disabled are, in truth, the most powerful and the most productive among us.”  Why?  Because they move us to love and show us how to love.