Happy Advent. Last year, at this time, I ran a post on “The War on Advent,” making the case that we Catholics must resist the dominant culture’s desire to start Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and forget all about Advent. Everything I wrote then rings, regrettably, even more true this year than last with all the countless stories about “Black Friday Sales” being extended into Thanksgiving Day itself.
Over at RNS, Mark Silk on Southern Baptists stepping away from their prior support for immigration reform lest they offend their Republican friends. I was not a fan of Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention since he ducked a question I posed to him at a National Press Club event a year ago. His comments on President Obama's immigration order put him yet further down the scale.
This study by two Stanford psychologists may be the most depressing thing you will read all week, all month, all year.
Growing up, I had fleeting experiences of gratitude, all of them self-referential and tied to a strange, I think quintessentially American, or at least modern, understanding of blessings as something in the plural and something that was the result of human effort. I felt gratitude when I made it through “Schmucke Dich” in the one and only organ recital I ever gave, a not particularly complicated piece, but one in which all the notes are so exposed, and so perfectly knit together that not only a wrong note, but a missed one, would have been hideously obvious.
Over at Religion News Service, Mark Silk calls attention to new research from the Public Religion Research Institute that shows Latino Catholics are far more concerned about climate change than Anglo Catholics. He gives the numbers and then asks a question that should make the bishops stay up at night: "It’s as if Hispanic Catholics and white Catholics belong to different churches.
William Oddie, at the Catholic Herald, gives more evidence of older son syndrome, acting like the aggrieved older son in the parable of the prodigal.
Yesterday, I called attention to an article by Pat Archbold at the National Catholic Register, now owned by EWTN, in which he not only criticized the bishops' stance on immigration but ranted about the issue in a way that was, to put it charitably, not recognizably Catholic.
Last night, District Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that a St. Louis County grand jury had declined to vote a true bill of indictment against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The announcement was followed by episodic violence, out of all proportion to the grand jury decision: The violence was episodic. The injustices our criminal justice system perpetrates on black Americans is systemic.
How many hours of talk radio and Fox News were spent discussing the "scandal" of Benghazi? Well, the House Intelligence Committee report came out Friday night, and guess what? Nothing you heard rumored turned out to be true. Will there be even a minute of Fox tonight dedicated to correcting the record?
Every Sunday, the Washington Post's Outlook section takes on "5 myths" about a given person or subject. Yesterday, it was Pope Francis' turn and the Post turned to Professor Maryann Cusimano Love, who is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University, to explode the myths. Great job!