Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

What the Left and Right get wrong about Pope Francis by John Gehring: “While Catholics check off boxes on our ideological scorecards, Pope Francis is calling the Church to a profound spiritual conversion. His foes are clericalism, legalism, and anything that gets in the way of the joy of the Gospel. This is not a flashy corporate re-branding or a mere tinkering with tone. It’s a return to the radical values at the root of Christian faith.”

Immodest proposal: Withdrawal of Church from Civil Marriage Business by Mary Ann Walsh: “Unfortunately the culture wars continue and the sacraments, to some, look like an arsenal. Sadly, some have used the Eucharist in cultural skirmishes, treating Communion, for example, as a reward for a correct political position on abortion. Some have urged withholding baptism from children of same-sex couples. Pope Francis suggests that might amount to ‘a vaccination against faith.’ The denial of the sacraments in both instances seems unholy. Considering marriage as part of a weapons stockpile in the same-sex marriage battle seems equally profane.”

The perils of weak-kneed ecumenism with Russia by John Allen: “The 5 million strong Greek Catholic Church is an important pro-democracy force in Ukraine. Speaking in the Vatican’s synod hall, Hilarion demanded that the Greek Catholics stop complaining about Russian foreign policy, and stop protesting support for Russian incursions in their country voiced by Russian Orthodox leaders. Astonishingly, there was no protest by the Vatican, no demand for an apology, no threat to suspend or curtail dialogue.”

Chasing Away the Democracy Blues by Larry Diamond: “The authoritarian spirit cannot speak to the fundamental human aspiration for freedom, dignity, and self-determination. We need to find new ways, new energy, and new self-confidence to turn that to our advantage. Most of all, we need to promote the spirit of democracy.”

At L’Arche, those at the margins find love at the center by Michael Gerson: “This small community accomplishes many outsize things. It vindicates the ideal of human dignity, which does not depend on normal measures of human accomplishment. It lays bare the illusion that ability means superiority. It displays the lavishness of grace, which, in Christian theology, is needed by and granted to us all. And it shows — amazingly, inspiringly, accusingly — that the beloved community might be created on any suburban street.”

What No One Is Saying About Marijuana By Patrick Kennedy: “At the end of the day, legalizing and marketing marijuana is making drug use acceptable and mainstream. Just as Big Tobacco lied to Americans for decades about the deadly consequences of smoking, we can’t let ‘big marijuana’ follow in its footsteps, target our kids and profit from addiction.”

Child poverty in the U.S. is among the worst in the developed world by Christopher Ingraham: “In the richest nation in the world, one in three kids live in poverty. Let that sink in.”

The Midterms: Is There a Catholic Angle? by Michael Sean Winters: “Does a holistic Catholic vision have the potential to create a sane center in the electorate, capable of standing down the extremes in both parties?”

Addressing Inequality by Eric LeCompte: “As people of faith, we must advocate for change in the policies that perpetuate inequality and extreme poverty.”

Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa by Angélique Kidjo: “Yes, some parts of Africa are still underdeveloped socially and economically, and that must change. But Africa is much more than emaciated children and poverty. Africa is first and foremost a continent of culture, beauty, art and, of course, music.”

On Brunch and Business by Marina Olson: “So people go to brunch: for the socialization, for the routine, for the idea that something matters in this world beyond a corporate existence. And yet, brunch itself as a young urbanite institution is a band-aid solution to a society that is increasingly inimical to communal institutions as well as to communal ties.”

From Wine to Blood: On Alcoholism and the Eucharist by Vincent Birch: “Faith doesn’t work instantaneously. It demands us to assent that there’s a greater reality than we can experience in an instant. The love of God poured out in the Blood of Christ points me toward that reality and invites me to heal and forgive in a way I only can with the help of God.”