Around the Web

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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Pope shining a light on Mexico’s margins by Austen Ivereigh: “Pope Francis will be spending almost all of his time in Mexico’s margins, in four dioceses never visited by previous popes, to be with those for whom he has made clear he has come: prisoners, the sick, the immigrants, the indigenous peoples, the victims of violence, as well as the young and the unemployed. In each case, he will be illustrating the way God saves humanity by opening himself to misery in all its forms. He will also show where he wants the Church to be — in the midst of that misery, rather than standing with its arms crossed among the wealthy.”

Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me by Kate Bowler: “The most I can say about why I have cancer, medically speaking, is that bodies are delicate and prone to error. As a Christian, I can say that the Kingdom of God is not yet fully here, and so we get sick and die. And as a scholar, I can say that our society is steeped in a culture of facile reasoning.”

How Scalia’s Death Will Change the Supreme Court, America, and the Planet by Jonathan Chait: “The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a sad and tragic event for his loved ones, including 28 grandchildren and a large network of admirers. The political stakes for the country, its governing institutions, and, yes, the planet dwarf them in scale….Modern conservative legal doctrine has moved toward a form of aggressive judicial activism, devising — or, more precisely, resurrecting — theories that allow the Court to strike down vast swaths of laws conservatives find objectionable. Activist Courts require a majority. That is now gone.”

The Post-Secular Life by Michael Driessen: “By naming and chronicling the ways in which Christians can live deeply embedded, immanent lives in a world strongly marked by secular humanism, Mr. Taylor’s project aims to show how they can, at the same time, empathetically and credibly offer a witness to Christian love. The key word to the project is kenosis, the self-emptying and powerfully performative witness that Christians provide when they embrace radical, suffering-servant lifestyles in solidarity with all the marginalized peoples of the planet.”

Pro-Life or Social Justice: a False Catholic Dichotomy Fr. Matthew Schneider: “Like many things, in the choice between pro-life and social justice, the Catholic position is not an either/or but a both/and. We need to be Catholics who are immensely concerned for justice: both for the life of the unborn and food for the malnourished child. Jesus doesn’t ask us to choose who we see justice for but seek justice for all human beings.”

Catholic Vote’s Socialism Freakout Highlights the Necessity of Clearly Defined Terms by Joseph Antoniello: “Senator Sanders is advocating something more akin to the Nordic model, a social democracy – a market economy with a strong welfare component. His use of the term democratic socialism is as sloppy as Fugate’s use of socialism, though it is more levelheaded and decidedly more defined. Fugate fails to realize that Senator Sanders is not advocating the totalitarian version of socialism.”

How Pope Francis shakes up what it means to be ‘pro-life’ by John Gehring: “It’s long past time for a better debate over what it means to stand up for life. Politicians who proudly tout their “pro-life” credentials while doing the bidding of the gun lobby, slashing Medicaid, and turning their backs on refugees fleeing violence shouldn’t get a free pass.”

40,000 people are starving to death in South Sudan by AFP: “At least 40,000 people are being starved to death in South Sudan war zones on the brink of famine, the United Nations said Monday, in a plea to rival forces to let aid in.”

Science, Faith, and Horror in Flint, Michigan by John Slattery: “We would be served to remember that science did not create God, morality, hope, faith, or love.  Science did not create compassion, empathy, fear, bravery, or mercy.  While many scientists embody these virtues, science did not create virtue. As we work to solve the real and present problems of today, beginning with Flint, let us educate the leaders of tomorrow not simply in “physics,” “chemistry,” and “biology,” as if these words connote a world of ideals and beauty and justice.  Let us educate others to do science mercifully.  Compassionately.  With love, and with faith.”

Don’t Forget Darfur by Eric Reeves: “Darfur may have dropped out of international headlines, but that does not mean the region enjoys peace. Far from it. A renewed escalation of violence by the Sudanese government against non-Arab ethnic groups threatens to compound a humanitarian disaster that, according to United Nations estimates, over the past 13 years displaced more than 2.7 million people in Darfur and an additional 380,000 refugees to eastern Chad.”

As pope and Russian patriarch meet, Ukraine fears a ‘shaky’ Vatican by Rev. Andriy Chirovsky: “In the end, the sad fact is that the Russian Orthodox Church is alarmingly subservient to the government. It is therefore impossible to imagine so momentous a move as the first meeting with the Pope of Rome to have been made without the explicit blessing of Vladimir Putin. So the question must be asked: what’s in it for Putin? Could it be that the international isolation of Russia after its Crimean and Donbas adventures, coupled with the disastrously low price of Russia’s economic mainstay, oil, along with a badly disguised bombing campaign to prop up Bashar Al-Assad and establish a Russian fact in the Middle East, are all taking their toll and Putin needs to come out of this scenario with some shred of credibility as a kind of “champion of persecuted Christians”?”

Death Toll From War in Syria Now 470,000, Group Finds by Anne Barnard: “The report from the Syrian Center for Policy Research said that at least 470,000 Syrians had died as a result of the war, almost twice the 250,000 counted a year and a half ago by the United Nations until it stopped counting because of a lack of confidence in the data. Life expectancy has dropped 14 years, to 56 from 70, since the war began, with an even deeper plunge for Syrian men, says the report, which the group compiled from its longtime base in the capital, Damascus.”

Hey, candidates: Don’t forget about Africa by Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo: “Encouraging economic growth and discouraging violent extremism will be difficult without democracy and the rule of law. For all the free elections that are being held and peaceful transitions of power that are being conducted, too many African presidents are still bending or breaking their countries’ constitutions to hold onto power indefinitely.”

Young, white Americans are addicted to this (and what Catholics should do about it) by Joan Frawley Desmond: “Whites who do not finish high school are much more likely to die from a drug overdose than college graduates, according to data published in this month’s New York Times story. But this same demographic, the influential sociologist and best-selling author Charles Murray has pointed out earlier, is also less likely to marry, attend church or take part in other forms of civic engagement, and that leaves them more vulnerable to the ravages of drug addiction.”

What We Expect by Terrance Klein: “What was the second major cause of stress in affluent young people? They feel remarkably isolated from their parents. Everyone is so busy succeeding. No one finds time for God’s goodness. Faith takes time, yet faith creates time because those who trust can get off the treadmill.”