CERC WEEKLY UPDATE - April 24, 2013
Note from the Managing Editor:
We have the prologue (just five pages) from George Weigel's book, Evangelical Catholicism courtesy of Basic Books. The reviews have been over the moon. My wife couldn't put Weigel's book down and read the whole thing in a weekend.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing — as in the aftermath of the violent and unexpected death of innocent people at any time — the question arises, "If God is both all-loving and all-powerful why didn't he prevent this terrible event from happening?"
That's the "problem of pain" as identified early on by St. Thomas Aquinas, described by C.S. Lewis in his book of that name, and referred to by Peter Kreeft as the strongest argument against the existence of a good God. Curt Lampkin of The Catholic Thing has some reflections in "The Boston Bombings and the Problem of Evil."
Earth Day was celebrated on April 22. Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, and now Pope Francis have a rich and counter cultural understanding of what Earth Day and environmental awareness in general should mean. See "Earth Day 2013: The Papal Edition" below.
"The Paradox of Moral Relativism" by Edward Sri is a masterpiece of simplicity.
Then there's Father Tad explaining the problem with same-sex parenting. And Dan Doyle making clear why we all need "meaning" in our lives.
I've listened to Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation interviewed on the subject of marriage on CNN, Piers Morgan, and several other shows. On not all, but on most of those shows it's been just appalling how this brilliant sincere young man has been treated, how he is continually interrupted, shouted down, and refused the courtesy of a fair hearing for his views. "Gay marriage: a case study in conformism" by Brendan O'Neill explains it. - J. Fraser Field
Quote of the Week:"What is to give light must endure burning." - Viktor E. Frankl
• "You Are Pastors, Not Functionaries" - Whispers
• 6 Ways to Defeat the Campus Censors - Minding the Campus
• Who is Responsible for College Seniors? - Cardus Daily
• Schoolchildren Support Seminarians Through Letter Campaign - NCRegister
• The Empress Is Naked - Crisis
• Where Flannery Became Flannery - Writer's Houses
• Scandal at St. John's University: Corruption, Apostasy, and Death - Crisis
• The Good Fortune of the Ivy League Reject - The Chronicle of Higher Education
• Christian Scholarship and the Crisis of the University - Acton
• A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice - Acton
Do not be afraid - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman - Parochial and Plain Sermons
Doubt not, then, his power to bring you through any difficulties, who gives you the command to encounter them.
An invitation to Evangelical Catholicism and Deep Catholic Reform - George Weigel - prologue from Evangelical Catholicism
"A rare book that can transform culture and communities from the inside out." - Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
The Boston Bombings and the Problem of Evil - Curt Lampkin - The Catholic Thing
Theists often maintain that God permits the evils we see in the world for the sake of greater good.
The pronouncements of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis about the environment are challenging, even counter-cultural.
Whose rights are protected in a relativistic culture?
In March, 2013, the British paper The Independent ran an article entitled, "Children in gay adoptions at no disadvantage: Research confirms same-sex couples are just as good at parenting as heterosexuals."
Suffering comes into every life.
Anyone who values diversity of thought and tolerance of dissent should find the sweeping consensus on gay marriage terrifying.
The first step to giving your children the gift of poetry is to give yourself to Mother Goose — and the gift that Mother Goose gives is Beauty.
To feed the lambs or cut their throats - Father George Rutler - From the Pastor
The misuse of reason can rationalize contempt for life.
"You Are Pastors, Not Functionaries" - Whispers
In his first turn at the Vatican's observance of this "Good Shepherd Sunday" — for the 50th time, the church's annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations — this morning Pope Francis ordained ten new priests, sending them forth with some pointed words of his own amid the ritual's script.
At an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, Pope Francis said many people say they believe in God, but what kind of God do they believe in exactly?
Pope Francis: Tough Talk about Vatican II - Catholic Culture
John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis call for the implementation of the real Vatican II.
If the capacity to disrupt ordinary traffic patterns is one sure sign of celebrity, then Pope Francis has already solidified his credentials as a star on the Roman scene.
Writing in his archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles called immigration reform "the civil rights test of our generation."
Argentine Rabbi Skorka believes that his friend, Pope Francis, will open the wartime file on Pius XII to put an end to controversies.
Eminent bioethicist Leon Kass on the dangers of a world increasingly indifferent to matters of human dignity.
In a break with tradition, Pope Francis has decided not to issue a special bonus to Vatican employees at the beginning of his pontificate.
The man who pioneered in vitro fertilization also stirred deep unease about what he was doing.
USCCB: pray, fast for conscience-protection legislation - Catholic Culture
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has asked Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on April 19 "for the approval of laws which will protect health care professionals from being forced to violate their consciences.
The Vatican doctors approve the miracle to make Wojtyla a saint - Vatican Insider
The medical council has recognized one healing as inexplicable If the theologians' OK were to arrive, John Paul would become a Saint only eight years after his death.
At a teleconference hosted by staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), three prelates spoke in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.
Cardinal O'Malley's Sunday homily deplores that the widespread "individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death."
Even Violent Drug Cartels Fear God - New York Times
Damien Cave meets an American prison chaplain ministering to members of one of Mexico's most brutal drug cartels.
Catholic religious order abuse files may go public - Seattle Times
Just months after the L.A. Archdiocese released the files of priests accused of sex abuse, religious orders are being asked to do the same.
American Church: The Dark Joy of Exclusion - On the Square
There is an irony in that often the very same people who decry American exceptionalism as a political conceit seem to embrace that conceit when it comes to American Catholicism.
What Few Deny Gay Marriage Will Do - First Things
It is no longer uncommon for advocates of redefining marriage to acknowledge that the effect — for them an entirely desirable effect — of redefinition will be the radical transformation of the institution.
I was that Girl that Could Not Say No - One Billion Stories
'God pierced my soul when I was all alone, wandering in the darkness.'
A Reformed (and Re-Formed) College of Cardinals - On the Square
The recent papal interregnum and conclave underscored the importance of re-forming, and reforming, the College of Cardinals.
A Vatican official responsible for the sainthood cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador announced Sunday that the cause has been "unblocked" by Pope Francis, suggesting that beatification of the assassinated prelate could come swiftly.
Scientology: The Story - New York Review of Books
Not to be read home alone on a stormy night: Going Clear, Lawrence Wright's scary book about Scientology and its influence, with its accounts of vindictive lawyers and apostate captives confined in the "Hole," a building that held dozens of people at a time.
Postmodern prudes - NRO
In the age of relativism, popular morality hasn't so much disappeared as become schizophrenic.
Keeping the Faith on College Campuses - NCRegister
A new wave of Newman student housing may help breakup the hookup culture at America colleges and universities.
6 Ways to Defeat the Campus Censors - Minding the Campus
It's no longer a matter of much debate that America's college campuses are not the beacons of free and open discussion they were intended to be.
Who is Responsible for College Seniors? - Cardus Daily
This is the season for thick and thin envelopes.
New Jersey State Council of the Knights of Columbus sponsors a Catholic grade-school project for students to send words of encouragement to men studying to be priests.
The Empress Is Naked - Crisis
The matronly administrator instructed 1000 students through a microphone in her thick accent "you better clap boys and girls; you could be up there some day."
Where Flannery Became Flannery - Writer's Houses
I showed up at Flannery O’Connor's childhood home in the middle of a crashing thunderstorm on a July evening.
Barraged by headlines like the New York Post's "St. John's Dean of Mean, Cecilia Chang, Commits Suicide," most New Yorkers remain bewildered by the facts surrounding a sordid story of money, power and status seeking at St. John's University.
The Good Fortune of the Ivy League Reject - The Chronicle of Higher Education
As Weiss and tens of thousands like her bemoan their Ivy League rejections and gear up for state-school educations, I'd encourage them to appreciate what they stand to gain.
Given the bleak outlook for the traditional approach, both financially and vocationally, perhaps it is time to question the necessity of the university and entrepreneurially re-imagine educational institutions for a globalized and digital age.
A new report by Greg Forster of the Friedman Foundation finds that of all the "gold standard" research on children who utilize school vouchers, 11 of 12 studies conclude all or some of those students achieve better educational outcomes.