Around the Web (Part 2)

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Friends of Merton by Dan Horan: “Thomas Merton continues to exercise an ‘apostolate of friendship,’ bringing people together across many divides. If you haven’t met Merton and his friends yet, I encourage you to do so.”

The Five Lessons of Good Friday by Fr. James Martin, SJ: “If we do something sinful or make immoral decisions that lead to our suffering, we could say that this suffering comes as the result of sin. But most of the time, particularly when it comes to illness and other tragedies, it is assuredly not. If you still harbor any doubts about that, think about this: Jesus, the sinless one, suffered a great deal.”

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus by Timothy Shriver: “In this man’s moments of his most extreme vulnerability, he was supported, sustained, and accompanied by one consistent friend: a woman, Mary Magdalene.”

Two Homeless People Freeze To Death Just Miles From The White House by Scott Keyes: “Though just an inconvenience for many, cold temperatures can be extremely dangerous for those with no shelter. Indeed, life-threatening hypothermia can set in even at temperatures well above freezing. Dozens of homeless people have died this winter from exposure to the elements, from New York to Chicago to California.”

A gesture of defiance by The Economist: “But in this election ordinary Afghans have sent a message: to their own politicians that stability is more important than sectional interest; to the rest of the world that their country is worthy of continued support; and to the Taliban that its claims to represent Afghanistan are hollow.”

Grisly torture photos from Syria stun U.N. officials by AP: “The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.”

The economic culture war over the minimum wage by Paul Waldman: “With the national debate over the minimum wage likely to intensify into 2014, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin has signed a law passed by the Oklahoma legislature that would forbid any municipality in the state from passing its own law setting the minimum wage higher than $7.25. Not only that, it forbids cities and counties from requiring employers to provide paid sick days or vacation days. Above all, this is a reminder that in many ways, the minimum wage fight is taking on the feel of a culture war. Call it an economic culture war.”

Why atheism doesn’t have the upper hand over religion by Damon Linker: “The fact is that there are specific human experiences that atheism in any form simply cannot explain or account for. One of those experiences is radical sacrifice — and the feelings it elicits in us.”

Republicans and Democrats Both Claim to Be Pro-Family. Here’s How They Can Prove It by Matt Bruenig and Elizabeth Stoker: “We calculate that a child allowance of $300 per month per child would have cut child poverty by 42 percent in 2012. Such a reduction would have lifted 6.8 million children out of poverty, plus another 4.7 million parents.”

Just Friends by John Conley, S.J.: “In discovering other human beings as mature friends, we give the lie to our society’s myth that other people exist only to fulfill our economic or sexual ambition. The path to a truly humane life, one built on virtue, disinterested service and an ungrasping praise of God, is suddenly open.”

Victims of bullying live with the consequences for decades by LA Times: “Victims of bullies suffer the psychological consequences all the way until middle age, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicide, new research shows.”



Around the Web (Part 2)

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The Compassion Gap by Nicholas Kristof: “There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach.”

Arizona’s SB 1062 by Michael Sean Winters: “This law has not been advanced at this moment to remedy a constitutional infirmity. It has been advanced by those who oppose gay marriage and wish to enshrine the right of a baker or a photographer to refuse service to a gay or lesbian couple that is getting married. The text of the law may not target gays. The political intent clearly does. And, that is why it was a mistake for the Arizona bishops to voice their support for it.”

A Letter to My American Sisters by Fawzia Koofi: “The women of my country and I also remain hopeful that the international community, including the United States, will not abandon our country and will help us a little more in fighting extremism, consolidating our gains, moving toward ending violence against women, and achieving something that all women around the world want: equality for both genders and for all.”

The right’s Ayn Rand hypocrisy by Elizabeth Stoker: “Rand’s entire notion of morality is predicated upon the idea that a sacrifice such as Christ’s would be morally wrong, which means all ethics that flow out of her work will contain in them that seed of conflict with the central message of Christianity. Whether conservatives like it or not, to advance a Randian political ethic is to further an ethic that fundamentally denies the goodness of the sacrifice of Christ, and thereby can never be brought to union with any serious Christian ethics.”

Surprisingly, Most Married Families Today Tilt Neo-Traditional by W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies: “Public policies and cultural norms related to work and family should be geared toward maximizing flexibility, rather than locking in approaches geared to serving full-time, dual-income families, and toward renewing the employment opportunities of poor and working-class men who have become less “marriageable” in recent years.”

Some Catholic leaders need to follow Pope Francis’ lead by John Gehring, NCR: “Pope Francis has brought an unexpected season of renewal and hope for the Catholic Church not because he is a liberal or a conservative. He is inspiring so many because he acts like a Christian should act. Not a bad starting point for Catholic clergy and anyone who tries to follow in the footsteps of Christ.”

Creating the Peace Corps and Finding a Saint by Jason Welle, SJ, TJP: “The founding director of Peace Corps and the person largely responsible for creating these life-changing possibilities was Sargent Shriver, the president’s brother-in-law. Shriver was a man deeply rooted in his Catholicism, and his faith – especially a commitment to social justice – motivated not only his involvement in the early years in the Peace Corps, but all of his commitments in life.”

The Protection of the Church by William Saletan: “This is what happens in many parts of the world. Even in the midst of religious war, religious institutions provide the moral strength to contain the violence. Faith in transcendent values counters sectarian hatred.”

God or the god of Riches? by Dan Horan: “Ultimately, I believe, the issue is between God and us, between serving the will of God or serving our own will. It is between putting our desires and interests first and putting first the Kingdom of God.”

Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda by Timothy Snyder: “Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

New Front in the Fight With Infant Mortality By Eduardo Porter: “Pregnant women, across the country and anywhere along the income spectrum, will for the first time have guaranteed access to health insurance offering a minimum standard of care that will help keep their babies alive.”

A Call to Moral Theologians: Biotechnology Needs More Attention by Brian Green, CMT: “Hurlbut’s overarching point of was the importance of moral reflection on our growing biotechnological power. Calling cloning and stem cells issues that have the genuine power to change the course of civilization, Hurlbut emphasized the importance of engaging these issues in the right way, because once a path is chosen we may effectively become locked in to the moral outcomes.”

High-School Sports Aren’t Killing Academics by Daniel H. Bowen and Collin Hitt: “Despite negative stereotypes about sports culture and Ripley’s presumption that academics and athletics are at odds with one another, we believe that the greater body of evidence shows that school-sponsored sports programs appear to benefit students. Successes on the playing field can carry over to the classroom and vice versa.”

Why Russia Is Growing More Xenophobic by Ilan Berman: “More and more, Russians from across the political spectrum are identifying with (and organizing around) a national identity tinged with racism.”

Lead Still Major Problem Worldwide by Kevin Clarke, America: “Even though lead poisoning is entirely preventable, lead exposure causes 143,000 deaths and 600,000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Vatican Insider Interview with Bishop Robert W. McElroy: “The statements, the actions and the gestures of Pope Francis have illuminated the scandal of global poverty not with harshness, but with a gentleness of truth that stirs the conscience to recognize realities that one already knows, but prefers not to recognize.”

Don’t abandon the women of Afghanistan By Paula J. Dobriansky and Melanne S. Verveer: “The international community must work to ensure that women’s gains in recent years are protected and that Afghan women continue to make political and economic progress. Any future support for the country’s government must be explicitly tied to continued defense of equal rights and continued progress of female citizens.”

Remembering Genocide in Kigali by Kerry Weber: “Perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of the Kigali Memorial Centre is its simplicity: a small fountain; a stone courtyard; some gardens, with water fixtures flowing through them. And the long, brown slabs of brick marking the graves of 250,000 of the men, women and children who died in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.”

Vatican’s media adviser offers ‘Top 10′ ways to understand Pope Francis by Carol Glatz, CNS: “No matter how some media may want to spin it, Pope Francis won’t fit into the political categories of left or right, and he will challenge everyone with the truth of the Gospel, said the Vatican’s media adviser.”

When We Don’t Feel Like Loving Our ‘Loved Ones’ by Michael Wear: “In some areas of Christian culture, our vision of loving the stranger is expanding while our vision of loving those closest to us is restricting.”

Assad’s War of Starvation by John Kerry: “The world already knows that Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons, indiscriminate bombing, arbitrary detentions, rape, and torture against his own citizens. What is far less well known, and equally intolerable, is the systematic denial of medical assistance, food supplies, and other humanitarian aid to huge portions of the population. This denial of the most basic human rights must end before the war’s death toll — now surpassing 100,000 — reaches even more catastrophic levels.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

A ‘Francis imprint’ on US bishops may take time by John Allen: “Arguably, nothing a pope does is more decisive in shaping Catholic culture than appointing bishops, and that’s especially true for one who wants change. Francis has sketched a beguiling vision of a more merciful and compassionate church, one less invested in the culture wars, but pulling it off will require finding bishops to match.”

Rich People Just Care Less by Daniel Goleman: “Since the 1970s, the gap between the rich and everyone else has skyrocketed. Income inequality is at its highest level in a century. This widening gulf between the haves and have-less troubles me, but not for the obvious reasons. Apart from the financial inequities, I fear the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes. Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy.”

Polio: A killer on the run by Michael Gerson: “Polio eradication is an enterprise now conducted at the frontiers of medicine and war — introducing vaccination into places that have never seen Western medicine and sometimes requiring negotiations with warlords and militias. In some places, the challenge is management; in others, security. The complexity can be frustrating. ‘It is like finishing a marathon,” one CDC expert told me, “and being told you have an extra mile to run.’ But these are struggles near the finish line of a landmark scientific achievement. And for those who doubt that any purpose of government can be essential, the daring, humane work of the CDC is a corrective.”

Pope Francis creates moments of connection on Assisi trip by Joshua McElwee: “The open-aired popemobile stopped Friday about a block northwest of the cathedral of this central Italian hamlet. Pope Francis climbed down and began to walk along a fenced area where people had gathered. He spent the next 10 minutes shaking hands and having short moments of conversation.”

Federal workers deserve a living wage by Simone Campbell, Naeem Baig, and David Saperstein: “Our faith compels us to address these fundamental moral and human rights issues. When workers toiling under the purview of the federal government aren’t making enough to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, the president ought to do something to lift these workers out of poverty.”

Do you consume information? Or does it consume you? by Matthew Warner, The Radical Life: “We’ve become information gluttons. Lacking the discipline to control our information appetite. Lacking the humility of our limitations. And lacking the faith to know that God has already given us the ability and grace to accomplish everything today in order to live an extraordinary life.”

A Long and Winding Road by Paddy Gilger, SJ: “So, that’s my best answer as to why it takes so long to be a priest in this Jesuit way. Because we need each year to chip away a little bit at the crust of ego and pride that prevents God’s grace from running through us smooth and clean.”

Here’s the Best Thing the U.S. Has Done in Afghanistan by Justin Sandefur: “The survey showed that from 2004 to 2010, life expectancy had risen from just 42 years—the second lowest rate in the world—to 62 years, driven by a sharp decline in child mortality. As a result, nearly 100,000 Afghan children per year who previously would have died now don’t.”

Francis’ ‘older son’ problem; red herrings; and pingpong on financial reform by John Allen: “There are an awful lot of such prodigals, of course, which helps explain the pope’s massive appeal. Yet there are also a few Catholics today who feel a bit like the story’s older son, wondering if what they’ve always understood as their loyalty to the church, and to the papacy, is being under-valued.”

The Gilded Age, Then and Now by Morning’s Minion: “Given that we are in a second Gilded Age, coming out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the time has come for a new direction. And with the papacy of Pope Francis, I am optimistic. I look forward to a shift backwards – toward an older way of thinking and acting. Some say the Church thinks in centuries, and certainly what it thought a century ago matters for today too. More than ever.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Florida bishops say use of death penalty ‘sanctions revenge’ by CNS

“Using capital punishment to show that killing is wrong ‘sanctions revenge,’ Florida’s seven Catholic bishops said in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott.”

Eucharist nourishes, sustains and should transform people, pope say by CNS

“In the Eucharist, Jesus makes himself the food that nourishes and sustains Catholics, even when the road gets rough, Pope Francis said before leading a Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Rome.”

I’m Gay, but I’m Not Switching to a Church That Supports Gay Marriage by Eva Tushnet

“For me the call to love takes the form of service to those in need, prayer, and, above all, loving friendship…Renewing this Christian understanding of friendship would help to make the Church a place where gay people have more opportunities for devoted, honored love—not fewer.”

Two-child limit imposed on some Muslims in western Burma by AP

“Authorities in Burma’s western state of Rakhine have imposed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the area and comes amid accusations of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of sectarian violence.”

Pope Francis spotlights social teaching with blunt calls for ethical economy by MSW, NCR

“U.S. Catholics on the front lines of social justice struggles expressed delight at Pope Francis’ frequent references to caring for the poor, his trenchant remarks about ‘savage capitalism,’ and his calls for government intervention to pursue the common good in the face of hostile market forces.”

The church in a land of climate change by Jonathan Merritt, RNS

“In America, climate change is a matter of debate, but in places like Malawi, it’s a matter of life and death.”

One man’s defiance inspires a region to stand up to the Taliban by David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times

“The insurgents here are hardly vanquished. But the Panjwayi revolt is perhaps the most significant of such local rebellions in Afghanistan. It has expanded and — so far — succeeded as a model of Afghan-driven security backed by U.S. combat power.”

Millennials get called out by Pope Francis:

 

And some wisdom from Pope Francis:


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

All the Lonely People by Ross Douthat

“As the University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox pointed out recently, there’s a strong link between suicide and weakened social ties: people — and especially men — become more likely to kill themselves ‘when they get disconnected from society’s core institutions (e.g., marriage, religion) or when their economic prospects take a dive (e.g., unemployment).’ That’s exactly what we’ve seen happen lately among the middle-aged male population, whose suicide rates have climbed the fastest: a retreat from family obligations, from civic and religious participation, and from full-time paying work.”

Europe Si, Acton No by Morning’s Minion, Vox Nova

“Yes, there are many economic problems with Europe that need urgent attention today – problems of incomplete integration, deep-rooted structural problems in the southern countries. The economic crisis is far from over.

To get beyond these problems, I believe that Europe needs the light of Catholic Social Teaching, urgently. But so does the US, which is even further away from that light.

For the evidence teaches us that the Catholic approach to economics is not just naïve wishful thinking. It can lead to better economic outcomes than its free market alternative. Thus libertarian economics is both morally and practically flawed. It is time for Catholics across the spectrum to start pushing back against the ruinous libertarian agenda and reclaim our full heritage.”

The ‘Mind’ and ‘Heart’ of Pope Francis on Ethics and Economics by John Carr, America

“Pope Francis takes on the secularism that suggests we can build the good society without God and the materialism that says we measure society by what we have or produce instead of how we care for one another, especially the poor and vulnerable. He takes on excessive individualism in both personal life where “choice” trumps almost all else and in economic life where “the absolute autonomy of markets” is the source of all power and wisdom. Worship of these secular idols undermines the common good and leaves the poor behind.”

Pope Francis on “rethinking solidarity” at Centesimus Annus conference by Vatican Radio

“The root causes of the current crisis are not only economic and financial, but ethical and anthropological, where the “idols of power, of profit, of money,” are valued more than “the human person.””

Proposed law to protect Afghan women faces backlash, Washington Post

“Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, Afghan women have made substantial gains in access to jobs, education and public life. But the position of girls and women in family life has remained weak and subservient, and they are vulnerable to abuse. Now, with NATO forces preparing to withdraw in 2014 and Taliban influence on the rise, there are growing concerns that the gains could be reversed.”