Mark Silk at RNS writes on the differences between French and American attitudes towards language about religion, but rightly concludes that Bill Donohue of the Catholic League gets it wrong, blaming the victim in the case of Charlie Hebdo. What I do not get, what I have never gotten, is that satire only works when it is outrageous and, just so, not believable, although it succeeds when it touches on a deeper truth. This was the core issue in the famous case Falwell v. Flynt.
If you are looking for a place to get really smart, always fair, commentary on Mideast politics, a question I am frequently asked, I would recommend starting with Markaz, the blog run by policy experts at the Brookings Institution.
Here at NCR, we pick a "Catholic of the Year." At Our Sunday Visitor, they pick several Catholics of the year, and their list this year is a fine one.
In the past year, NCR has published several articles written jointly by Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. and Ra’fat Aldajani all of which treat the subject of relations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The articles share a bias so extreme as to warrant the harsh designation that they are tendentious at best and inflammatory at worst.
Here is a survey from some of those articles that prove the point.
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.