Is there a Catholic angle on next week’s midterm elections? There has not been as much focus on the role of religion in this election cycle as there has been in recent years. Still, the issues the candidates have chosen to run on is interesting and points to what might, repeat might, be a positive long-term development not just for Catholic concerns but for a diminishment of ideological extremism in both parties.
Elisabeth Dias, writing at Time magazine, correctly notes that much of the mainstream media showed an almost willful lack of knowledge about the Catholic Church's long-standing teaching on the compatibility of the scientific theory of evolution with the Christian doctrine of creation. NBC was the worst, calling Pope Francis' recent comments "a theological break from his predecessor Benedict XVI, a strong proponent of creationism." Yeesh.
In this morning's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne on the stakes in the Kansas Governor's race.
Yesterday, I began an examination of the book Saint Cicero and the Jesuits: The Influence of the Liberal Arts on the Adoption of Moral Probabilism by Robert Aleksander Maryks. Today, I will conclude this examination.
Over at America, Bishop Robert McElroy on income inequality and the Pope's vision for a more just, and a more Christian, culture. +McElroy is one of the rising stars among the U.S. bishops, extraordinarily smart, very pastoral and, as this piece indicates, on board the Pope Francis bandwagon.
Over at America, Chris Ruddy, one of my favorite young theologians, has a reflection on one of Pope Francis' most repeated themes, accompaniment.
Derek Jeffreys, from the University of Wisconsin on Green Bay, discusses his study of solitary confinement, prisons, and spirituality in this C-Span video. This is an issue that will be very difficult to address politically, but the horrors he describes deserve attention. And, obviously, his book ties in clearly with the Holy Father's comments against life imprisonment last week.
Pope Francis’ frequent references to the history of the Church to explain current challenges, such as when he refers to neo-Pelagians, are a key to the Holy Father’s worldview. If he looks to history to discern the situation of the Church today, perhaps we should look to that same history to better understand his own thinking. And, as I have noted before, one frame for interpreting this first Jesuit pope is to see him as battling the Jansenists of our time as previous Jesuits did in the late sixteenth century.
According to this report at Patheos, the Archbishop of Monrovia, Liberia, declares that Ebola is God's punishment for homosexuality. He should re-read the Catechism on the innate dignity of all human persons. Blaming people for a dread disease is not exactly an expression of respect for the dignity of gay people, nor an indication of respect for the intelligence of everyone else.
At CatholicMoralTheology.com, Matthew Shadle looks in depth on the question of how the early Church struggles with Novationists and Donatists have relevance for the current discussion about the Church's ministry to the divorced and remarried.