Stephen Colbert on Suffering: God Does It Too, We’re Really Not Alone

Stephen Colbert discusses suffering, loss, empathy, gratitude, Christianity, and more with Anderson Cooper:

How Having a Child with Down Syndrome Transformed Caterina Scorsone’s Understanding of Love

Millennial editor Robert Christian writes:

On the Motherly podcast, actress Caterina Scorsone of Grey’s Anatomy describes how she came to realize that she was loving everyone, including herself, for “absolutely the wrong reason.”

“I was loving people for their external qualities and not for their essence,” she said. She had believed that she loved her first daughter, Eliza, so much because she was beautiful, clever, and funny — for her qualities.

Then her second daughter, Pippa, was born with Down syndrome. Not knowing much about Down syndrome, Caterina wondered what traits Pippa might or might not have — and then she suddenly realized the error in thinking about love this way. It transformed the way she loved her daughters, her husband, and herself.

It is so easy to slip into thinking that we are only worthy of love if we look a certain way or are the life of the party or because we are able to rapidly fire off witty quips. The businesses that profit from our culture of consumerism want us to feel this way. They need us to feel this way. Their message is clear: you can buy love — all you need is our product that makes you worthy of it…

Yet with real love, there is always something ineffable or incomprehensible. Whether it is romantic, fraternal, parental, or any other form of authentic love — if you can describe precisely why you love a person, you are probably actually describing why you like them or enjoy their presence.

Love extends beyond this. When we love someone, we love who they are at their absolute core — the most unchanging and immaterial part of the person. We encounter this core or essence of a person, as Caterina calls it, when we break through surface-level impressions and assessments. This authentic encounter opens the door to joy, love, and communion.

Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “Prayer frees us from the burden of worldliness, and teaches us to live joyfully, to distance ourselves from what is superficial, in an exercise of true freedom.  Prayer draws us out of our self-centredness, from being reclusive in an empty religious experience; it leads us to place ourselves, with docility, in the hands of God in order to fulfil his will and to realize his plan of salvation.  And prayer teaches us to adore. To learn to adore in silence.”


Pope Francis: “We Hear Speeches That Resemble Those of Hitler in 1934”

via La Stampa:

Your Holiness, you hope that “Europe might once again be the dream of the Founding Fathers.” What are your expectations?

“Europe cannot and must not break apart. It is a historical, cultural as well as a geographical unity. The dream of the Founding Fathers had substance because it was an implementation of this unity. Now, we must not lose this heritage”….

Identities: how important are they? Can an excessive defense of identities lead to a risk of isolation? How do we respond to identities that generate extremism?

“Let me give you the example of ecumenical dialogue: I can’t do ecumenism if I don’t start from my being Catholic, and the other who does ecumenism with me must do so as a Protestant, an Orthodox… Our own identity is not negotiable, it integrates itself. The problem with exaggerations is that we isolate our own identity instead of open ourselves. Identity is a wealth – cultural, national, historical, artistic – and each country has its own, but it must be integrated with dialogue. This is crucial: starting from our own identity we must open to dialogue in order to receive something greater from the identity of others. Never forget that “the whole is greater than the parts.” Globalization, unity, should not be conceived as a sphere, but as a polyhedron: each people retains its identity in unity with others”.

What are the dangers of sovereignist ideologies?

“Sovereignism reveals an attitude toward isolation. I am concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934. “Us first, We…We…”: these are frightening thoughts. Sovereignism means being closed. A country should be sovereign but not closed. Sovereignty must be defended, but relations with other countries, with the European community must also be protected and promoted. Sovereignism is an exaggeration that always ends badly: it leads to war”….

What is the right path to take when it comes to migrants?

“First of all, never neglect the most important right of all: the right to life. Immigrants come here above all to escape from war or hunger, from the Middle East and Africa. On war, we must commit ourselves and fight for peace. Hunger mainly affects Africa. The African continent is the victim of a cruel curse: in the collective imagination, it seems that this continent should be exploited. Instead, part of the solution is to invest there to help solve their problems and thus stop the migration flows”….

On what common values should the EU be relaunched? Does Europe still need Christianity? And in this context, what role do the Orthodox play?

“The starting, and restarting, point is human values, values of the human person. Together with Christian values: Europe has human and Christian roots, history tells us that. And when I say this, I don’t separate Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants. The Orthodox have a very precious role for Europe. We all share the same founding values”.

Alt-Catholics’ Connections to the White Nationalists of the Alt-Right

Franklin Strong writes:

On April 30th, far-right Catholic author Taylor Marshall and his cohost, author Timothy Gordon, posted a YouTube video as part of their regular #TnT chat series called “Why do Secularists and Mohammedans Unite?” The plan, Marshall explained, was to speak about what they saw as a strange alliance between “politically correct secularists” in Europe and North America and the Muslims Marshall and Gordon believe aim to destroy the West.

Citing the murder of hundreds of Christian churchgoers in Sri Lanka, Marshall and Gordon spent most of the episode attacking Islam, which Gordon called “our bloodthirsty enemy” and Marshall called “just a corrupt, foul religion.”…

Not long ago, I looked up the Twitter “follow” lists of Marshall and Gordon, along with those of Michael Voris, the head of ultra-orthodox media outlet Church Militant, and OnePeterFive writers Steve Skojec and Stefanie Nicholas. These are members of what Washington Post writer Michelle Boorstein calls “an influential and tightly knit conservative Catholic digital media network.” They also identify as “traditionalists,” or “trads,” devotees of the Traditional Latin Mass, fans of veils on women at church, and vociferous critics of Pope Francis and what they see as the modernist destruction of the Catholic Church. Who do these people listen to? I wondered. What is their media diet?…

Marshall and Church Militant follow Paul Joseph Watson, the Infowars personality and conspiracy theorist; Marshall, Nicholas, and Skojec follow Stefan Molyneux, the “race realist” who uses dubious scientific data to suggest that some races are less intelligent and more prone to criminality than others. Marshall, Nicholas, Gordon, and Church Militant all follow Faith Goldy, the “ethnonationalist” who rails against immigration and frequently bewails the declining proportion of white people in Europe, the U.S., and her native Canada. Goldy is the only Catholic (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) of the three and has close ties to the Catholic Right. Marshall and Gordon have each appeared on her YouTube channel, and Nicholas has interacted with her tweets more than 100 times since 2017.

Of course, following someone on Twitter does not necessarily indicate agreement with their ideology. But these traditionalist Catholics don’t just follow leading alt-right figures, they share, like, and comment on their ideas — even the most controversial…

While rightwing Catholics might say their positions are about ideology and culture, for Goldy, Molyneux, and Watson, those same positions are all about race. For example, consider an interaction between Goldy and Catholic podcaster Patrick Coffin. Goldy tweets out statistics showing the declining share of white people (“People of European ancestry”) among the world population. “These are the statistics of a vanishing race,” she writes. Coffin responds, “European: n. an ethnic heritage group member addicted to abortion and contraception. #Islamistsneednobombs.”

Coffin might argue his point is about abortion or contraception or even Islamist ideology (apart from Islam), but by piggybacking his comment onto the racist lament of an avowed white nationalist, he reinforces her.

Archbishop Gustavo Calls Out Trump’s Hatred and Racism

Christopher White writes:

One U.S. prelate has gone where none have dared to go before: Directly condemning President Donald Trump for racism.

In a series of tweets on Monday evening, San Antonio’s Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller pleaded with Trump to “stop hate and racism, starting with yourself.”

In several follow-up messages, the Mexican-American archbishop directly called out the president saying: “President stop your hatred. People in the US deserve better.”

“President you are a poor man, a very week [sic] man. Stop damaging people. Please!” Garcia-Siller wrote in another.

“Stop racism!!!! Stop!!!” he tweeted. “Starts with leadership.”