Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Overdose Deaths Have Surged During the Pandemic, C.D.C. Data Shows by NY Times: “More than 87,000 Americans died of drug overdoses over the 12-month period that ended in September, according to preliminary federal data, eclipsing the toll from any year since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s.”

Everyone is tired. We need to give ourselves an actual break. by Christine Emba: “So instead of snapping back to normal once we’ve had our shots, we should take our newly recognized existential tiredness as an indication that it’s time to change course — to realize that we need to give ourselves an actual break.”

Log Off and Know that I Am God by Tish Harrison Warren: “Our habitual online discourse often trains us to undervalue the vast mystery of God—with all the wonder and worship it inspires—by immersing ourselves in sociological and theological commentary and debate. These conversations matter, of course. But we are in peril of replacing transcendence with immanence. We miss the deeper things of God for the Christian controversy du jour.”

Can Civics Save America? by George Packer: “By intent or blunder, the left and right are colluding to undermine the noble, elusive goal of giving American children the ability to think and argue and act together as citizens.”

Why personality cults and democracy don’t mix by Brian Klaas: “Poland’s authoritarian slide shows what can happen when devotion to lies becomes central to partisan identity. Republicans would be wise to keep that in mind — and voters would be wise to vote against a party that purges politicians for telling the truth.”

Overwork Killed More Than 745,000 People In A Year, WHO Study Finds by NPR: “People working 55 or more hours each week face an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to people following the widely accepted standard of working 35 to 40 hours in a week, the WHO says in a study that was published Monday in the journal Environment International.”

The Professional Women Who Are Leaning Out by men choosing part-time work—and loving it. by Olga Khazan: “Feminism, these women decided, doesn’t have to be all about work. Sometimes, in fact, it can mean relaxing a bit, especially in the middle of a global emergency.”

Child care has bipartisan support. But the culture war could wreck that. by Elliot Haspel: “Americans do, in fact, want a dizzying variety of care setups: secular child-care centers, faith-based options, home-based day cares, public prekindergarten, minding by relatives, care from a parent. These preferences can shift with children’s ages and family circumstances, and vary among demographics. While Biden’s child-care proposals are optional and inclusive of all types of external care, they are silent on stay-at-home parents.”

How to Pay Attention (an Unofficial Guide) by Ellen Koneck: “Attention fatigue. Exhaustion from the strain on my eyes and mind of focusing so long at the blurry sameness, trying to glean meaning from it day after day. Trying to attend to the things at hand despite the monotony and trying to attend to what matters most despite the disruption.”

“Forever wars” obscures more than it clarifies“Forever wars” obscures more than it clarifies by Brian Katulis: “The real forever war is the struggle against simply shrugging our shoulders, looking for simple answers, averting our eyes from how these conflicts impact people, and glibly declaring ‘bad stuff happens.’”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Should a Child Benefit Be Based on Marital and Employment Status?  by Amber Lapp: “The relationship between a cash benefit and marriage and employment rates is worth examining very thoroughly. It would be tragic if, in trying to encourage self-sufficiency and stability, we withheld support that could help families reach those very goals.”

Rosie Could Be a Riveter Only Because of a Care Economy. Where Is Ours? by Anne-Marie Slaughter: “Today, we have the chance to see care work as the essential work that it is, the work that makes other work possible, the work that develops young brains and determines the extent to which our children will be able to learn and live up to their potential for the rest of their lives, the work that determines who we really are as a society when it comes to the frail and vulnerable among us. It is work we all hope will be performed as well as possible when our turn comes to depend on caregivers at the end of our lives.”

‘Rerum Novarum’ is 130 years old. What would Leo XIII say about today’s gig economy? by Kenneth R. Himes: “The threatening possibilities of the gig economy as the future of work for many persons is a moral challenge for theorists and practitioners of the Catholic social tradition. The plight of the precariat and their experience of human work is a reminder to us today that 130 years ago, Leo XIII was right to see the nature of work and justice for the workers as key to the entire social question.”

Black hair is beautiful by Gunnar B. Gundersen: “Not only was hair an important part of the Civil Rights discourse in the 1960s, but it has also been recognized now as a key way White Supremacy makes Whiteness seem like an objective standard. This attack is a direct assault on the well-being of Black people today.”

How to confront systemic racism? Heed the call of Martin Luther King. by Michael Gerson: “People for whom the system works have a hard time understanding the lasting, disastrous economic consequences of centuries of stolen labor, or the continuing legacy of disenfranchisement and voter suppression, or the fear generated by policing that targets and dehumanizes minorities.”

The reason many Guatemalans are coming to the border? A profound hunger crisis. by Kevin Sieff: “Guatemala now has the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. The number of acute cases in children, according to one new Guatemalan government study, doubled between 2019 and 2020. The crisis was caused in part by failed harvests linked to climate change, a string of natural disasters and a nearly nonexistent official response. Supply-chain disruptions then led to a spike in prices.”

A Debt of Honor by George Packer: “But there is still something that the U.S. can redeem from the sacrifice. It can fulfill its responsibilities to Afghans who put their trust and lives in American hands.”

A Christian Vision of Social Justice by David Brooks: “This vision begins with respect for the equal dignity of each person. It is based on the idea that we are all made in the image of God. It abhors any attempt to dehumanize anybody on any front. We may be unjustly divided in a zillion ways, but a fundamental human solidarity in being part of the same creation.”

This is what the death of the two-state solution looks like by Tamara Cofman Wittes: “A two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is indeed a distant prospect — but the horrific alternative is now clear. It is time for leaders in Israel, in Palestine, in the region, and around the world to take that lesson to heart, and commit to assiduous efforts to get Israelis and Palestinians back on the long, arduous path toward a negotiated resolution.”

Survivors Of 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Share Eyewitness Accounts by NPR: “During emotional testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Fletcher, who is now 107, recalled her memories of the two-day massacre that left hundreds of Black people dead.”

Joe Biden teaches ‘Fratelli Tutti’ Economics 101 by MSW: “President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill follows in the footsteps of his American Rescue Plan. It is an example of Catholic social doctrine in action. Taken together, they represent not only a repudiation of Reaganomics, but the introduction of a new kind of social policy we could and should call Fratelli Tutti economics!”


Around the Web: Articles on Racial Justice and Reform

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

It’s Not Enough to Preach Racial Justice. We Need to Champion Policy Change. by Esau McCaulley: “As pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders who participate in America’s public square, we don’t remember King rightly by pulling a few disconnected words about justice out of context and plastering them all over social media. We remember him rightly by taking an honest assessment of ourselves as a country. This involves both lauding the progress and looking toward the future. And it involves a robust commitment to understanding the link between injustice and economic disenfranchisement.”

The Forgotten History of Black Prohibitionism by Mark Lawrence Schrad: “America’s most vocal prohibitionists weren’t privileged white evangelicals, but its most marginalized and disenfranchised communities: women, Native Americans and African Americans. Indeed, temperance and prohibitionism worked hand-in-glove with other freedom movements—abolitionism and suffragism—that fought against the entrenched system of domination and subordination. Consequently, nearly every major Black abolitionist and civil rights leader before World War I—from Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany and Sojourner Truth to F.E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington—endorsed temperance and prohibition.”

Stories of Slavery, From Those Who Survived It by Clint Smith: “Recently, I’ve become convinced of the need for a large-scale effort to document the lives of people who lived through America’s southern apartheid; who left the land their families had lived on for generations to make the Great Migration to the North and West; who were told they were second-class citizens and then lived to see a person who looked like them ascend to the highest office in the land. Their stories exist in our living rooms, on our front porches, and on the lips of people we know and love. But too many of these stories remain untold, in many cases because no one has asked.”

‘The Separate and Unequal Health System’ Highlighted By COVID-19 by Leila Fadel: “But at this hospital in Willowbrook, an unincorporated part of South L.A. neighboring Compton and Watts, the pandemic is preying on the inequities that disproportionately hurt Latino and Black communities. The neighborhoods are densely populated and multiple generations of families live together, making it hard to isolate. It’s a place where most people are on public health insurance and where chronic illnesses are much more prevalent because there is a systemic lack of access to quality health care. Add COVID-19 to that mix and it’s a deadly but predictable disaster.”

Why every Catholic should make a pilgrimage to Elmina Castle in Ghana by Shannen Dee Williams: “For more than 300 years, hundreds of thousands of kidnapped and enslaved Africans traveled through Elmina on their way to America’s slave societies. At the height of the slave trade, approximately 30,000 enslaved Africans passed through Elmina annually where they encountered a host of European traders, priests, soldiers and families who denied their humanity and subjected them to unspeakable acts of trauma and violence.”

The Magazine That Helped 1920s Kids Navigate Racism by Anna Holmes: “The express purpose of The Brownies’ Book was to show children that being Black is normal in a world determined to convince them that it was not. But to say that Black childhood was normal was not to say that it was the same as white childhood.”

A hole in the heart of antiracism training by Chloé Valdary: “To transform external, systemic structures that teem with racism, what is needed is for folks to see the whole human being with all of her complexities, idiosyncrasies, and intricacies.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

How Climate Change May Affect Your Health by Jane Brody: “But what if I told you that no matter where you live or how high your socioeconomic status, climate change can endanger your health, both physical and mental, now and in the future? Not only your health, but also the health of your children and grandchildren? Might you consider making changes to help mitigate the threat?”

Trumpism is American fascism by Michael Gerson: “Much about the United States’ political future will depend on shaping a compelling, responsible American conservatism as an alternative to the Trump temptation. This may or may not happen within the GOP. But for American democracy to fully function, civic republicanism will eventually need a home on the political right.”

On abortion, both Biden and the pro-life movement lack moral consistency by Michael Sean Winters: “I tremble for our country when I think of how God and history will judge us for getting the abortion issue so wrong, for failing to craft and support a feminism that cherishes each and every human life. I tremble, too, when I contemplate the backlash that awaits on the morrow of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe or Casey.”

The Seamless Garment must be properly understood  by Pedro Gabriel: “When we ignore or dismiss the importance of giving legal protection to the unborn, we put seams in the Seamless Garment. When we set aside the goal of supporting pro-life initiatives and legislation, our ethic of life is no longer consistent. The Seamless Garment must be properly understood, if it is to be adequately implemented. This is just as true today as it was before: the Seamless Garment is indeed the Catholic position.”

The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship by Amanda Mull: “The pandemic has evaporated entire categories of friendship, and by doing so, depleted the joys that make up a human life—and buoy human health. But that does present an opportunity. In the coming months, as we begin to add people back into our lives, we’ll now know what it’s like to be without them.”

Eternal memory belongs to God. Embrace each moment now. by Don Clemmer: “It’s God’s job to hold on to everything in eternity, the ultimate remembering Father. The real gift of those zillion snapshots that comprise the flipbook movie of parenthood is that the sheer deluge of experiences forces us to give up on trying to grasp every fleeting thing and just live it, gratefully, in the moment. Most of it will be forgotten, deleted, swept away, and that’s OK. It is a firehose of gift and a chaotic crash course in how to receive.”

WandaVision Is Trying to Teach Us Something About Grief by Josh Noem: “I had someone once describe the “work” of grief to me as making sense of your story in a new way. You thought you were in one story with a certain set of characters. And then one of them — a crucial character, someone without whom you’ve never imagined life — is suddenly gone. The work of grief in that situation is to figure out how your story goes on without that person.”

How Catholic media should cover Biden by Heidi Schlumpf: “But the media’s job remains the same: to tell the truth, uncover what may be hidden and hold the powerful accountable. Sure, we can now exhale, because power rests in the hands of someone who is clearly saner and more responsible than the previous office holder. Joe Biden does not get some kind of pass because he is a fellow, practicing Catholic. But our shared faith means we can draw on that tradition and those values in our coverage of him.”

Bill to require fathers to pay 50% of pregnancy costs advances through Utah House committee by Taylor Stevens: “A biological father could be responsible to pay half of the out-of-pocket pregnancy costs for the woman carrying their unborn child under a new bill that passed a House committee on Wednesday.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Face the Bitter Truth by George Packer: “Tens of millions of Americans love MAGA more than they love democracy. After four years of lawbreaking and norm-busting, there can be no illusions about President Donald Trump. His first term culminated in an open effort to sabotage the legitimacy of the election and prevent Americans from voting. His rallies in the final week of the campaign were red-drenched festivals of mass hate, autocratic self-absorption, and boredom, without a glimmer of a better future on offer—and they might have put Trump over the top in Florida and elsewhere. Even as “freedom-loving people” came out in unprecedented millions to vote, their readiness to throw away their republican institutions along with their dignity and grasp of facts suggests that many Americans have lost the basic qualities that the Founders believed essential to self-government. There is no obvious way to reverse this decline, which shows signs of infecting elements of the other side as well.”

The wrong people are in charge of protecting our children from sexual abuse by J.D. Long-García: “With the publishing of the McCarrick report, we undoubtedly learned that the church still has a lot of work to do regarding sexual abuse. These lessons are long overdue. Yes, we do need lay supervisory boards. And yes, we need transparency. And yes, we need accountability and recompense. But as a layperson, and as a father, I cannot continue to make myself dependent on ordained men. Not for this.”

The boy who assaulted me watched porn since he was 7. Can the Eucharist help us fight this evil? by Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo: “We have to realize that we cannot consume images without them changing our appetites and prospects for a good life, individually and collectively—whether we are the consumers or the consumed. And once a culture’s desires are shaped into darker forms, it is very difficult to return from that, to relearn what we should long for and to restructure our relationships, norms and expectations accordingly.”

What Did the Democrats Win? Michael Tomasky : “The election demonstrated, more intensely than any other before, that Americans inhabit two different moral universes. In our personal lives, we may share broadly similar ideas about what constitutes right and wrong: how to raise children, how to be responsible friends and family members. But on political matters, we see two opposite realities.”

A Dangerous Bishop by Mike Lewis: “In many cases, Pope Francis’s decision to remain silent over an outspoken critic or rogue bishop has been justified. In the case of Bishop Strickland, however, decisive action is, arguably, long overdue. First of all, as a diocesan bishop, he has the authority to impose obligations on the faithful. Unlike retired or sidelined dissenting bishops like Cardinal Raymond Burke, there are everyday Catholics under his authority. There is a real danger that he may put their physical and spiritual health at risk. Secondly, his influence is growing. Ignoring him appears to only have emboldened him. Popular Catholic apostolates like Catholic Answers and associations have given him global platforms. His invitation to address the Napa Conference suggests that he has backers among wealthy and influential Catholics.”

Working It Out by Katie Daniels: “Millennials joined the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; we’re deeply in debt (an estimated $37,000 per debtor); and we live with a sense that to get into college, find “good” jobs, and maintain our value in society, we need to be, as Jia Tolentino puts it, “always optimizing.” Little wonder we’re so tired.”

No one talks about how difficult breastfeeding is. That’s hurting all moms. by Stephanie Murray: “Kristin Tully, a breastfeeding and infant-sleep expert at the Center for Maternal and Infant Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says a better understanding of the varying challenges nursing mothers face could help foster more empathetic and supportive environments.”

Europe’s Highest Court Gives Its Approval to Attempts to Outlaw Jewish and Muslim Life by Yair Rosenberg: “This is how anti-Semitism, among other bigotries, has often operated: as cost-free virtue signaling that enables the majority to claim that it cares about a moral problem, while scapegoating minorities for it and never sacrificing anything themselves.”

The Bronx vs. Manhattan by David Leonhardt: “For Democrats to do better with the working class, they probably need to moderate their liberal image on social issues — and double down on economic populism.”

I’m a Catholic who’s struggled with eating disorders. You aren’t alone if you do, too. by Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg: “I had hoped to find solace in my faith as a teenager, but I quickly learned that even faithful Catholics believed the concept “your body is a temple” meant “your body is a temple if you are a size 4, have thin arms, and thighs that don’t touch.” As I grew older, this same message was tangled up in the women’s talks I heard at conferences and retreats, in the speakers who were chosen to speak at those events and in the narrow way Catholic women around me talked about “body positivity.””


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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The New Integralists by Timothy Troutner: “The book should alert a complacent Catholic theological establishment that ideas once thought dead and buried are resurgent. Integralism clearly breaks with Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty and expresses a commitment to the political disenfranchisement (or worse) of women, sexual minorities, and non-Catholics. That might tempt some to dismiss the book as hopelessly “illiberal” or “outdated,” confident that others will react with the same justified horror—a response that Bouyer anticipated. “Such a reaction is no threat to us,” he imagined these skeptics saying about integralism. “It has become impossible.” But he insisted that this attitude only plays into the hands of reactionaries. It leaves their claims to represent Catholic tradition unchallenged, and it ignores the appeal integralism has to younger Catholics searching for meaning amid the shallowness of modern life. Instead, integralism can only be defeated on theological grounds—by offering a deeper, more expansive narrative of Catholic political thought to counter integralism’s bold but unjustified claims to authenticity.”

Deep State, Deep Church: How QAnon and Trumpism Have Infected the Catholic Church: “Donald Trump has pinned his 2020 hopes, in part, on dissident Catholics who view the church as compromised, the pope as an unorthodox interloper, and their theology as not just compatible with, but spiritual backbone for conspiracy theories like QAnon. What happens after Tuesday, in the Church and in this country, in some ways will mirror this battle.”

Even If Trump Loses, Republicans’ Authoritarian Ambitions Will Live On by Jonathan Chait: “The 2020 election is the first presidential contest since perhaps 1864 in which the principal question is democracy itself. The reelection of Donald Trump, unlikely but terrifyingly possible, would hasten America’s evolution into an oligarchy along the lines of Hungary, Turkey, and Russia, whose illiberal leaders Trump admires and who are, in some cases, working to help him secure a second term….In its original form, the GOP was a radical anti-slavery party, but it abandoned its progressive impulses and has evolved into a wildly reactionary and increasingly authoritarian formation.”

What the election is telling us about the church in this country by Michael Sean Winters: “This election is teaching us all a great deal about our neighbors and their political preferences, about the fragility of our democracy when faced with foreign threats and domestic demagoguery, and about where our democracy is downright sick; for example: the Electoral College. The election is also teaching us all a great deal about our church and how corrupted our own theology of political life has become.”

Catholic encounters with Muslims frame ‘Fratelli tutti’ by Jordan Denari Duffner: “Just days into his papacy, Pope Francis announced that dialogue with Muslims would be one of the priorities of his pontificate. Since then, he has visited numerous majority-Muslim countries, met with Muslim families and leaders, spoken prophetically of the need for Catholics to treat Muslims — particularly those who are migrants — with respect, and performed meaningful gestures that speak to the church’s esteem for Muslims declared at the Second Vatican Council. Though his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, never once mentions the words “Islam” or “Muslims,” it is part of the broader legacy that Francis will leave the church on Catholic-Muslim relations, as well as interreligious relations more broadly.”

I testified against Colorado’s extreme abortion law. We deserve better. by Anna Keating: “I didn’t want to explain to them that in Colorado, babies of the same gestational age, who in one part of the hospital would be receiving round-the-clock care from a team of highly trained professionals, could in another part of the hospital be killed without pain medication, simply because they are unwanted or have a disability or because their life, like any of our lives, might be shorter than others.”

What the Church Owes Families by Annie Selak: “The joy of the family cannot be the joy of the Church if employees of Catholic organizations are unsupported in family life. Catholic schools, parishes, nonprofits, and even the Church hierarchy have the potential to model what truly pro-family paid leave might look like—one that goes beyond complying with our current inadequate national policy.”

How my obsession with being different prevented me from being myself by Stephanie Murray: “There is, of course, a real danger in the pressure to conform, and it is good that we encourage children to resist it for the sake of self-acceptance. But if Merton is correct, focusing too much energy on proving to the world that they are different from everyone else can distract them from that very goal.”

The American ‘way of life’ is unsustainable for so many. Is it time to build radical forms of community? by Emma Green: “But the pandemic has also revealed the extent to which a good life felt elusive for countless Americans far before any of us had heard of Covid-19. This is not just a matter of money or resources. In my reporting, I constantly find evidence that Americans feel isolated and unmoored from their communities, unsure of their place in the world.”

Teens Did Surprisingly Well in Quarantine by Jean Twenge: “Surprisingly, teens’ mental health did not collectively suffer during the pandemic when the two surveys are compared. The percentage of teens who were depressed or lonely was actually lower in 2020 than in 2018, and the percentage who were unhappy or dissatisfied with life was only slightly higher.”

Seeing beyond Roe by Julia Hejduk: “For all the money, time, and energy expended on limiting abortion access, the reality is that women have the ability to procure chemical abortions whether or not they are legal, and that ability will only increase as time goes on. This means we need to be far more intentional about reducing the demand for abortion, even as we continue to work to restrict the supply.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice by Michael Sandel: “Building a politics around the idea that a college degree is a precondition for dignified work and social esteem has a corrosive effect on democratic life. It devalues the contributions of those without a diploma, fuels prejudice against less-educated members of society, effectively excludes most working people from elective government and provokes political backlash.”

How Climate Migration Will Reshape America by Abrahm Lustgarten: “Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? To answer these questions, I interviewed more than four dozen experts: economists and demographers, climate scientists and insurance executives, architects and urban planners, and I mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years.”

Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires? by Kendra Pierre-Louis and John Schwartz: “But while California’s climate has always been fire prone, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable. “This climate-change connection is straightforward: warmer temperatures dry out fuels. In areas with abundant and very dry fuels, all you need is a spark,” he said.”

Abortion isn’t the only issue on the presidential ballot by Michael Gerson: “For some, treating the 2020 election as a referendum on abortion is a way to live with Trump’s moral ugliness. If there is only one issue on the ballot, then only one policy position counts, not Trump’s character as a man and a leader. This has the virtue of simplicity and the drawback of complicity in grave wrongs.”

As repression mounts, China under Xi Jinping feels increasingly like North Korea by Anna Fifield: “Over the past four years, the Chinese government has detained more than 1 million Uighurs in reeducation camps designed to strip them of their culture, language and religion. They’ve had to shave their beards and uncover their hair. They’ve been made to pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. Children have been taken from their parents and put into orphanages.”

Biden must fix Obama’s biggest foreign policy failure by Josh Rogin: “There are no easy answers in Syria, but letting Assad off the hook will not bring peace or keep us safe. Biden’s promise to use U.S. leadership and leverage to force better outcomes there is the correct one to make — and the Syrian people’s only hope.”

Colleges Are Fueling the Pandemic in a Classic Market Failure by  Sarah Cohodes and Susan Dynarski: “Competitive, free markets work when individuals and institutions pursuing their own interests converge, making everyone best off. In the case of colleges reopening, self-interested action has instead led to a predictable market failure: fueling viral spread.”

The Integralism of Adrian Vermeule by Jason Blakely: “Vermeule’s plan for regime change at home, however, is not just practically dubious, a recipe for destructive ideological crusading. It relies on premises that often clash with the Church’s basic theological and philosophical precepts.”

What Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Mean for Global Warming by Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer: “President Trump has made dismantling federal climate policies a centerpiece of his administration. A new analysis from the Rhodium Group finds those rollbacks add up to a lot more planet-warming emissions.”

Trump, Orbán, and Putin Are Forming an Authoritarian Alliance by Jonathan Chait: “What draws these leaders and their regimes to Trump is a shared contempt for liberal democracy. Putin, Orbán, Duda, and Trump all rose to power in democratic systems and have turned them toward authoritarianism. They are joined in a common project to discredit liberal democracy.”