Next week, our friends at Communion & Liberation host their annual New York Encounter, 3 days with 27 events, and boatloads of intellectual and spiritual stimulation. You can find out more about the events by clicking here and, if you are in the area, you should make the effort to attend.
The Tablet celebrates its 175th birthday this year. As readers know, I serve as one of their U.S.correspondents and I can say that my association with this venerable magazine has been entirely wonderful. Also strange, because I have yet to meet any of my colleagues on that side of the Atlantic. But, in our frequent emails and occasional phone conversations, I am always impressed with their intellectual rigor, their journalistic inquisitiveness and their deep, deep commitment to strong writing. So, to Catherine, Elena, Abigail, James and the rest of the Tablet Team, ad multos annos.
After a barrage of articles attacking Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, which has not yet been issued, here is a thoughtful analysis at The Jesuit Post of some of the themes we can anticipate when the letter is finally released. I think items #4 and #5 are especially important: Look for the pope to link concern for the environment with concern for the poor and, as well, to treat the issues of human and natural ecology as a whole.
It is rare these days when a bit of political news makes my heart leap, but the news that Sen. Barbara Boxer is retiring made my heart leap. Unfortunately, as welcome as her departure from the Senate is, it also presents the Democrats with a conundrum. How do they hold on to that seat in the Senate in 2016?
Okay. It is pretty difficult to believe that there is not an organized effort among Catholic conservatives to rebut in advance whatever Pope Francis might say in his forthcoming encyclical on the environment, what we might call a "prebuttal." I mentioned four such articles in the past two days. Here is a fifth, and probably the clumsiest, from Kishore Jayabalan, who directs the Acton Institute's Rome office.
Yesterday, I was pleased to speak with Ann Fisher at Ohio Public Radio, for her program "All Sides with Ann Fisher" about Pope Francis. Here is the link.
The depth of identification with Charlie Hebdo and its staff, are a moment of much needed candor in assessing what used to be called “the war on terror.”
When you want to understand the changing demographics of religious identification in the United States, you turn to Mark Silk. He has two posts up, one about the decline of Catholicism in the Northeast and another about the rise of the Nones. Both are must-reads that can prevent a lot of foolishness in the discussion about secularization.
Not sure how other people conceive of heaven, but for me, I hope I get to be the kid in this video:
Yesterday, I put up a link to an article by Dennis Prager that amounted to a preemptive strike against Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical on the environment. His article was more of a rant than an argument so I only posted it with a brief comment. Within minutes, friends besieged me with two other articles that warrant a more detailed reply, but which amount to the same thing, a preemptive effort to downplay or contradict an encyclical precisely no one yet knows will say.