This year the American Dream turns eighty years old.
It's actually hard to imagine that the words "American Deam" have a birthdate, a creator, an inventor. But they do. Over the years, these words have become very elastic -- meaning whatever the speaker wants them to: a new home, a new car, a new life, a chicken in every pot.
But "American Dream" first was coined in 1931, by historian James Truslow Adams, in his book, "Epic of America." He was writing as the Great Depression gathered full steam, here at home and around the developed world. This is how he put it, in excerpts you can find at Wikipedia, as honestly, directly, and succintly as only an inventor can:
This year the American Dream turns eighty years old.
On this day in 1793, in the place de la Révolution, today's place de la Concorde, the National Convention of France guillotined King Louis XVI.
Henry Essex Edgeworth de Firmont, the priest who said Mass for the king on the morning of his execution, heard his confession, gave him a last blessing, and accompanied him to the scaffold, described the event in Memoirs of the Abbé Edgeworth; Containing His Narrative of the Last Hours of Louis XVI, edited by C. S. Edgeworth. (Start on page 54.)
Ex-priest named state homeless czar, former vicar general
A Vatican delegation is in India to discuss the role of Indian theologians in the context of global theology. Cardinal William Levada meets with 28 bishops and 26 leading theologians from India.
Nova Scotia: Abuse victims reach deal with Catholic Church
St. Louis: Catholic Charities cuts 12 jobs
Catholic Healthcare West and Mercy Foundation have awarded $1,183,907 in funds to 35 nonprofit organizations in Nevada, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties.
The following press release came across my desk today from "Equally Blessed," a Catholic gay support coalition.
“We are all sinners, but in this instance, the sin lies not in gay and lesbian Catholics, but in those who describe children of God in such demeaning language,” said Frank DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an Equally Blessed partner.
“The notion that homosexuality is an illness similar to alcoholism or addiction to narcotics finds no support in psychological literature,” DeBernardo added. “You don’t need an advanced degree to understand that the fruits of lifelong, committed, monogamous relationships are quite different than the damage and heartache done by chemical dependencies.”
Bono, the lead singer of the band U2 and a co-founder of the advocacy group ONE and (Product)RED, and contributing columnist for The New York Times, offers this reflection on the life of Sargent Shriver:
Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a prestigious institution sometimes called “the Vatican of the Islamic world,” today announced it is suspending its long-standing dialogue with the Vatican in protest over Pope Benedict XVI’s recent demand for protection of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
The decision by the university’s Islamic Research Academy was reported this morning by the Catholic media agency “Asia News.”
The move by Al-Azhar, a state-sponsored institution widely seen as close to the Egyptian government, comes after Egypt also recalled its ambassador to the Holy See in protest over what it called “interference” by Benedict XVI in the country’s internal affairs.
The chill in relations between Egypt and the Vatican could have broad implications for Catholic/Muslim relations. As recently as late November, for example, the country’s state-appointed Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, was a featured speaker at the New York launch of a major research project at Notre Dame titled “Contending Modernities.”
On this day 50 years ago, John Fitzgerald Kennedy became President of the United States.
In the morning, he attended Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. He walked through the snow from his house at 3307 N Street. It was the Feast of Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, Martyrs.
A few hours later, President Kennedy delivered his Inaugural Address.
As this story in today's Washington Post illustrates, the conflicts between Catholic bishops and their hospitals are affecting a debate in Montgomery County, Md., where a Catholic hospital is competing with another institution for permission to expand.
Reproductive-care restrictions at Catholic hospitals spark conflict, scrutiny
See Commentary on this article at Distinctly Catholic.
Boston:Diocese abuser list long awaited Lawyer criticizes ‘culture of secrecy’
On this week’s Interfaith Voices, we deal with a number of topics: the religious dimensions of the Arizona shooting tragedy (a wonderful conversation with EJ Dionne), a rundown of the religious composition of the new Congress, and a special look at Eric Cantor, the new House Majority Leader, who is –- religiously speaking -– a rare species: a Jewish Republican. We probe why most Jews are democrats.
But our final interview is with Lewis V. Baldwin, author of a new book: Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin is a Professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, and this is the third book he has written on King.
King is someone who inspired me as a young person to become involved in social justice and peace. Since his assassination in 1968, we have heard a great deal about King’s activism, his speeches and sermons. But this is the first work published on his prayer life. And it probably reveals the source of his inner strength.