Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says by NY Times: “American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.”

There’s No Going Back to ‘Normal’ by Ekemini Uwan: “We are not going back to normal; we are pushing toward a new normal—one that is more sustainable and equitable than the one we left behind, one in which everyone might flourish.”

Failure Is a Contagion by George Packer: “Trump’s aspiration to rank among the world’s strongmen has always been hindered by his own weaknesses of character—laziness, ignorance, lack of self-control—and the ineptitude of his henchmen. For a year, Barr seemed to be the most competent of them. Spinning the Mueller report as an exoneration of Trump with some success was a masterpiece of propaganda disguised as legal reasoning. But in the past two months, Barr has made mistake after mistake.”

How a Raise for Workers Can Be a Win for Everybody by Seema Jayachandran: “Supporters of raising the minimum wage usually make their case based on fairness and equity. That rationale is important, but the central finding of these studies — that a higher minimum wage can boost work force productivity and save lives — is a powerful one, too.”

Romano Guardini: A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis by Daniel Amiri: “Like Guardini, Francis understands the human person in terms of “I-Thou.” As he writes in Laudato Si’, if we get relationships right, then, and only then, can we get the world right (cf. LS, 119).”

Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book by Josh Dawsey: “At the same meeting, Xi also defended China’s construction of camps housing as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang — and Trump signaled his approval. “According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.””

Stop Firing the Innocent by Yascha Mounk: “These cases do not negate the good that can, and hopefully will, come from America’s newfound determination to root out racial injustice. Given the gravity of police misconduct in this country, there is little doubt in my mind that the overall thrust of the changes set in motion by the protests over the murder of George Floyd is highly positive. Nevertheless, it would be a big mistake—especially for those who deeply care about social justice—to dismiss the fate of people such as Cafferty, Shor, and Wadi as a minor detail or a necessary price for progress.

30 Years Ago, Romania Deprived Thousands of Babies of Human Contact Here’s what’s become of them. by Melissa Fay Greene: “Glimmering through the data was a sensitive period of 24 months during which it was crucial for a child to establish an attachment relationship with a caregiver, Zeanah says. Children taken out of orphanages before their second birthday were benefiting from being with families far more than those who stayed longer.”

A three-step plan to become a contemplative-in-action by Elise Italiano Ureneck: “I am confident that creating the space and silence for God to speak is a crucial first step in discovering what’s mine to do. Maybe you’ll join me. There is certainly no shortage of rough and difficult corners that need his grace and healing touch.”

Slowing the Coronavirus Is Speeding the Spread of Other Diseases by Jan Hoffman and Ruth Maclean: “As the pandemic lingers, the W.H.O. and other international public health groups are now urging countries to carefully resume vaccination while contending with the coronavirus.”

New St. Louis archbishop connects with a pope who ‘connects the dots’ by Don Clemmer: “I oftentimes say that Pope Francis is the pope who connects all the dots. I remember as a kid, and you probably remember this too, there were different puzzle books that had numbers, and you connected the dots. And when you connected the dots, you got a picture. That’s how I feel Pope Francis preaches the Gospel. He connects the dots. He relates issues together with the Gospel. And then he points the way how to effectively deal with those issues.”

Trump has raised the white flag in the fight against covid-19 by Michael Gerson: “Being pro-life means placing additional moral and legal emphasis on the lives of the weak and voiceless. It means speaking up for human beings who are often regarded as expendable in utilitarian calculations — particularly human beings at the very beginning of life, human beings with intellectual and physical disabilities, and human beings near the end of life.”

The sycophancy of Raymond Arroyo by MSW: “To be sure, many American Catholics, on both right and left, place their partisan loyalties ahead of Catholic moral and social teaching when they enter the voting booth. But those many American Catholics are not lead anchors on a television network that claims to present “trusted Catholic news.” Here is where the bishops must recognize in Arroyo no mere man with a poorly formed conscience, but a direct threat to the integrity of the teachings of the church.”


Freedom is Not License. Wear a Mask.

At NCR, Mike Jordan Laskey  writes:

Many people who have resisted restrictive measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus object to what they see as government overreach, causing an unjust curtailing of essential freedoms….

As a Catholic committed to the common good, these arguments drive me crazy. To me, it’s pretty straightforward: stay home as much as possible, wear a mask and practice social distancing to protect the lives of those who are most vulnerable to the virus….

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lovely section on human freedom, believe it or not.

“The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes,” reads paragraph 1733. “There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just.”

That word “just” at the end of the passage catches my eye. Justice is all about strong, positive relationships between individual people and communities. Or, as philosopher and theologian Cornel West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Choices that show love for others — especially those who are most vulnerable — are instances of real freedom. On the other hand, choices rooted in a desire to do what I want, when I want it, without regard for how my decisions might impact others are not what freedom looks like….

The Catholic vision of freedom is countercultural in our individualistic, consumerist society. And it often feels like we cede the concept to those who argue that freedom is the liberty to do what you want. I think we should be proud of our own vision and proclaim it more boldly. It’s a compelling invitation to faith: God gave us this beautiful gift of free will and we have the privilege to use it to make the world better. It’s demanding of people, yes, but the sort of demand makes life meaningful.



Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “God created us for communion, for fraternity. Now more than ever the pretense of focusing everything on ourselves, making individualism society’s guiding principle, has proven illusory. We have to be careful! When the emergency is over we can easily fall back into this illusion.


Bernice King on Pope Francis, Her Father, and Living Together As Brothers and Sisters

via Vatican News:

L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican News interviewed Bernice Albertine King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. regarding her dedication to equality, the culture of peace and the value of nonviolence. A passionate human rights activist like her father, and president of the King Center in Atlanta, Bernice Albertine feels there is a strong sense of harmony between her father and Pope Francis whom she met with twice in 2018….

“I think that building a “revolution of tenderness,” as Pope Francis called it, or a “revolution of values,” as my father said, is contingent upon us realizing that there’s learning involved in the revolution. We have to learn more about each other, learn more about the condition of humanity, learn how to, as my father said, “live together as brothers and sisters,” so that we don’t perish together as fools, and learn a way of engaging and destroying injustice and inhumanity without destroying each other.”