Since its founding, Israel has been beset by war and violence, from the War of Independence in 1948 to the bombings of restaurants and buses in Tel Aviv. That violence has yielded certain lessons. The Yom Kippur War taught it that a small country, surrounded by hostile powers, can never again cede the great military asset of surprise to its enemies. The belated inaction of the West in response to the genocide in Bosnia taught the Israelis that while Western leaders would continue to mouth the words “Never again!” they did not really mean it.
As regular readers know, I am exceedingly hostile to the idea of any kind of voting in the Church, conclaves excepted. But, here is one time when readers can and should vote - in Religion News Service's "Pope Art Contest." You can vote by clicking here.
Catholic University's Department of History and the School of Theology and Religious Studies present “Catholic Teaching and the Jews — A Revolution?
The Washington State Catholic Conference, which represents the archdiocese of Seattle and the dioceses of Spokane and Yakima, has issued a pastoral statement on immigration reform to be included in all church bulletins. It is short, concise and powerful. Most importantly, in what we might call the mode of Papa Francesco, it starts with stories of real human beings. Let's hope other bishops throughout the country are issuing similar statements to their flocks.
There are many lessons to be drawn from the history of the twentieth century. One of the most obvious is this: There is a moral authority to Jewish alarm. Jews drew an additional lesson from the miserable history of the last century, a lesson that is more uncomfortable for us Americans to acknowledge: When it mattered most, time and again, the great Western democracies were weighed in the balance and found wanting. When the Nuremburg laws were passed, the West objected only with words. After Kristallnacht, again, nothing but words.
The Public Religion Research Institute has posted a paper by their CEO, Robert P. Jones, and Research Associate Juhem Navarro-Rivera, that examines why some people support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and others do not. As you might have guessed, the differences are rooted in differing values.
In this morning's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne pens one of his best columns ever, asking that the debate about whether or not to attack Syria be a serious and open debate, one that reflects the lessons learned not just from Iraq but from Bosnia and Kosovo too.
"After that, no one asked to burn any Jews." Thus, Cardinal Sean O'Malley on an episode from his early ministry, part of a wonderful speech he gave in Boston to a group of Jewish organizations. You can read the full text here. (h/t to Rocco!)
A few weeks ago, I had a brief debate with my colleague Claire Schaeffer-Duffy on the issue of divestment from Israeli companies. Rather than engage in the usual discussion about Israel and Palestine, that too often descends quickly into an endless recitation of atrocities to justify one’s position, I thought it better to take a step back and ask myself a question, and share the result with the readers of these pages. The question: Why am I a Zionist?
This morning, I review the book, On "Strangers No Longer: Perspectives on the Historic U.S.-Mexican Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Migration." This coming Monday night, September 9, there will be a panel discussion with many of the book's authors at Catholic University's Przybyla Center. The event is free and open to the public and is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. A reception will follow. Bishop John Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City and Chair of the Communications Committee of the USCCB, will begin the evening with a talk, followed by the several authors.