In last Sunday's Outlook section, Rachel Held Evans argues that millennials are not looking for flashy, high-tech worship services: They want substance, especially ancient substance. A thoughtful piece and an encouraging one, although I quibble with the premise. Why would anyone ask someone under 30 what they want?
Yesterday, the Republican presidential primary contest became a whole lot less serious and a whole lot more fun. Two candidates railing against “the political class” announced their candidacies with variations of the “I am not a politician” meme which was, with its utterance, no longer the case. Dr. Ben Carson and Ms. Carly Fiorina are now officially in the field.
A group of priests have started a petition to the Synod Fathers, asking them to uphold the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage and human sexuality. This effort mimics a similar petition drive in the UK. The difference? The U.S. version has been signed by four bishops, +Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, +Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, +Kagan of Bismark, North Dakota, and +Finn, formerly of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. More on this tomorrow.
Last week, I participated in a conference at the University of Notre Dame entitled “Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal.” The conference featured an array of presenters and participants and followed the “see, judge, act” model of analysis, describing the wounds, judging their sources, and looking towards a remedy or remedies.
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker. Radio Vaticana has a report on Pope Francis' comments about St. Joseph and the dignity of work. I hope that those churchmen who look the other way when their Republican friends try and push through right-to-work laws will consider the Holy Father's comments and stop looking the other way. The Church's teaching on work and workers is rich and unambiguous.
Yesterday, I began examining the book The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students about Vocation by Tim Clydesdale, which examines and evaluates the effects of Lilly Endowment grants given to religiously affiliated colleges and universities to develop and implement purpose exploration programs.
In the late 1990s, the Lilly Endowment had the kind of problem we all wish we had: too much money. In keeping with the original religious intentions of the organization’s founder, and in tune with the interests of the group’s leaders at the time, Lilly worried about the increasingly prosaic, utilitarian status of higher education. In post-modern America, the “collapse of cultural authority embedded in American popular norms” had left a vacuum of meaning and purpose regarding higher education.
Mark Silk, at RNS, on the GOP's lack of historical perspective on their claims about religious liberty. Constraints on religious freedom today may or may not be advisable, but they are not unprecedented.
John Gerstein at Politico on the oral arguments in yesterday's Supreme Court oral arguments over same sex marriage.
Yesterday, I began looking at Building Catholic Higher Education: Unofficial Reflections from the University of Notre Dame by Christian Smith and John Cavadini. I only got as far as Smith’s survey of the relevant official and unofficial statements about Catholic higher education from the university. Today, I will look at how Smith examines the implications for those statements as well as Cavadini’s closing chapter on the role of theology at a Catholic University.
At Politico, James Hohmann looks at the performances of GOP presidential hopefuls in Iowa last weekend. He seems surprised about the attacks on corporate America, but I am thinking that in a room full of social conservatives the GOP contenders have one message and a different message from what they deliver at their fundraisers.