Around the Web

UntitleddddddCheck out these recent articles from around the web:

At 3-year mark, Francis is a both/and pope in an either/or world by John Allen: “He’s a reformer, because that was part of the electoral mandate he received from his fellow cardinals three years ago. He’s struggling to inject transparency, accountability, and professionalism into Vatican operations, beginning with finances. Yet he’s also a revolutionary, though at the level of pastoral practice rather than doctrine.”

Pope Francis at Year Three: Renewal is the Revolution by John Gehring: “The pope is a reformer not because he wants to break with tradition or toss doctrine into the Tiber River. He doesn’t want to go left or right. He asks us to go deeper into the heart of the Gospel.”

The Slipperiest Slope of Them All by Tamara Cofman Wittes: “The United States is a global power, one that moreover roots its global power in a set of universal moral claims. As such, America’s choices (whether to do, or to not do) have global implications, and carry moral responsibility. One cannot avoid the moral responsibility for these choices by citing the Hippocratic Oath, or by creating some idealized set of criteria, the total fulfillment of which are necessary to justify even a limited use of American military power.”

Learning to Say Help by Timothy O’Malley: “Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving is not ultimately about self-control. It is not learning skills that will enable us to succeed in other areas of life. Instead, these are practices that enable us to move beyond self-control, self-creation, self-improvement to the dying of ourselves unto new life.”

The Middle East Is Unraveling—and Obama Offers Words by Hisham Melhem: “Obama ignores those states seeking tepidly to implement reforms and fight terrorism. He coldly and correctly diagnoses the ills of the majority of Arab states: predatory autocratic regimes, violent Islamist groups, diminishing civic traditions, rampant sectarianism and tribalism. But he does not see any ray of hope or promise in this bleak scene. It is as if the Arab world is inhabited only by angry Arab youths “thinking about how to kill Americans,” and totally bereft of decent Arab men and women, like those millions who marched and struggled against tyranny and called for freedom, empowerment, dignity, and modernity.”

Empty Promises and Dead Children by Kevin Watkins: “Every year, more than one million children die the day they are born, and another million die within their first week of life. Almost half of all child deaths occur in the neo-natal period (the first 28 days) – and the share is rising. The vast majority of these deaths could be averted. Yet, if progress continues at its current rate, there will still be some 3.6 million such deaths per year by 2030. To jump-start progress, we must develop health-care and other interventions that address the poverty, vulnerability, and inequality that place so many children, and their mothers, at risk.”

Pope’s Russian outreach stirs anxieties by Jonathan Luxmoore: “In the weeks following Pope Francis’ meeting with Russia’s Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Cuba, predictions are still being aired about the wider impact on Catholic-Orthodox ties. But some church leaders are worried about the implications of the new closeness, and seek reassurances from the Vatican.”

Gorbachev Sings! And Denounces New Stalinism by Anna Nemtsova: “The Kremlin once again is promoting loyal-to-power journalism, putting pressure on the last few independent media outlets, persecuting political critics, and condemning them as enemies ruled from the West. Not only is history repeating itself, the Stalinist cult, which Gorbachev’s Perestroika worked so hard to destroy, is creeping back into view all over the country: Stalin’s busts, Stalin memorials, and Stain museums have popped up in provincial towns one after another.”

American Demagogue by David Remnick: “Pull the camera back, and Trump can be viewed as part of a deadly serious wave of authoritarians and xenophobes who have come to power in Russia, Poland, and Hungary, and who lead such movements as the National Front, in France, and the Independence Party, in the United Kingdom. Vladimir Putin and Trump have expressed mutual admiration. It’s not hard to see why. Putin has obliterated the early shoots of Russian democracy as evidence of weakness and obeisance to the West; his eighty-percent popularity rating is built on arousing nationalism and a hatred of minorities (ethnic and sexual), the suppression of dissent, and a bare-chested macho image. Trump says approvingly, “At least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.””

South Sudan: Women raped ‘as reward for fighters’ by BBC News: “The scale and type of sexual violence committed in South Sudan constitute some of the most horrendous human rights abuses in the world, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.”

Pot Smokers May Face 5 Times Greater Risk of Alcohol Abuse by Steven Reinberg: “People who smoke pot may be five times more likely to develop a problem with alcohol, such as addiction, a new study says. Marijuana users who have an alcohol problem may also be less likely to quit drinking, the researchers said.”