Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

What’s on Pope Francis’ plate for the first part of 2016 by John Allen: “From foreign policy challenges to a potential turning point in Catholic/Jewish relations, from a six-day trip to Mexico that includes a stop at the US border, to a jam-packed schedule for his jubilee Year of Mercy, the opening part of the year promises to be full of drama.”

The Cowboy Mentality by Bishop Kevin Farrell: “President Barack Obama’s executive actions, though modest, are first steps in correcting gun laws so weak that they are ludicrous. Congress has unabashedly sold itself to the gun lobby.”

People Are Eating Insects And Dirt In This Syrian Town To Survive by Leticia Miranda and Mike Giglio: “Residents held in the besieged southern Syrian town of Madaya have been dying of starvation and have resorted to hunting stray dogs and cats for food, according to Syrian and international humanitarian activists.”

‘Defenders of the Unborn,’ by Daniel K. Williams by Kristin Dombek: “In “Defenders of the Unborn,” a deeply researched, evenhanded, accessible and surprising history of anti-abortion activism before Roe v. Wade, Williams gives us activists’ beliefs in their own words. He shares language from personal letters, diocesan newsletters, meeting transcripts, and Catholic and Protestant periodicals. And he tracks opinion polls across the 20th century to lend quantitative support to this book’s stunning central claim: For much of its history, the fight to restrict abortion was a progressive cause.”

This Is What It’s Like To Be Christian And Live Under ISIS by Mike Giglio and Munzer al-Awad: “From there, Kirbukiyle would experience the strange and precarious life of a Christian inside ISIS’s hardline proto-state. He witnessed some of the horrors the militants inflicted on their subjects — and saw the contrast between the Islam he’d known and respected from his neighbors and the alien barbarism ISIS practiced in its name. Along the way, he said he felt a jarring loss of dignity as a man suddenly exploited and oppressed — a personal struggle he’s still working to overcome.”

The World Can Eliminate Malaria by Joshua Keating: “The World Health Organization reported in December that global malaria deaths fell from 839,000 in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015. Around 200 million people per year still contract the disease, and many of those who die are children. But the once audacious goal, laid out by the United Nations and the Gates Foundation, of entirely eliminating one of the leading killers in human history by 2040 now seems ambitious but not unreasonable.”

For U.S. Catholic bishops, now is the time to speak up on gun violence by Michael Bayer: “When it comes to the epidemic of gun violence afflicting American society, the Catholic Church has been, for some time now, largely quiet. This needs to change.”

The Catholic story, conservative vs. progressive by Thomas Reese: “The fight between conservatives and progressives continued after the council, but it is false to portray it simply as conservatives promoting the documents while the progressives promoted the “spirit” of the council. In fact, the argument was also over the interpretation of the documents, which sometime were purposefully ambiguous.”

Pope leads a holiday season rich in references to the poor by John Allen: “To grasp a pope’s real priorities, sometimes it’s useful to look at what he does, not because it’s traditional or expected, but out of personal choice. If that’s the metric, then it seems clear what was foremost on Pope Francis’ mind over Christmas and New Year’s: The poor.”

Cardinal Turkson on Business Vocation by Michael Sean Winters: “In the last two decades of the last century, the world of business shifted from the stakeholder model to the shareholder model, in which the return on investment became the sole measure of success, and consequently, the driving force in all economic decision making. This has produced what I have called a “financialized economy” in which the power is no longer even exercised by the management of a company, but by the investor class and the Wall Street mavens who do their bidding.”

US bishops throw support to Obama’s gun control proposal by Michael O’Loughlin: “Catholic bishops gave a shot in the arm to President Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday that his administration will require all gun sellers to register as dealers and complete background checks on all buyers.”

How to End Homelessness in New York City by Alana Semuels: “Permanent supportive housing works for all sorts of people who have experienced homelessness, not just those with mental-health challenges or criminal records. It gives homes to people who have experienced the trauma of living on the streets, without asking much of them in return. The formerly homeless move into apartments and then have access to case workers and nurses and a community. They slowly acclimate and become part of that community, which in turn creates a network of people that help each other stay stable.”

Obama’s Speech on Gun Violence by Michael Sean Winters: “Only a sustained, political effort will denude the NRA of its power. The NRA is impervious to information or argument. It is undaunted by the slaughter on our streets. It will take a long time to defeat the NRA politically, but the effort to do so got a boost yesterday at the White House, and that is good news in itself.”