"There is nothing wrong with the human species today," wrote Fr. Matthew Fox, "except one thing, that we have lost the sense of the sacred." What does a society or world look like that has misplaced its radar for the sacred? Just look around, read the newspapers.
Keep a close eye in the coming weeks on Senate politics where all Republican senators recently expressed support for modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons.
Washington is negotiating with Russia to replace the START treaty, which expired last month. It is the central framework between our two nations for reducing nuclear aresenals.
It is important to remember that the U.S. bishops, in their Peace Pastoral of 1983, offered only limited conditional moral support to the U.S. nuclear deterrence system, as long as our nation is moving toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Modernizing U.S. nuclear wepaons takes us in the opposite direction.
Albany Bishop Howard James Hubbard has co-authored an opinion piece, supporting efforts to make sharp cuts in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. The next three months are critical in U.S. efforts to set our nation on the course envisioned by President Obama, a world free of nuclear weapons. But there are many powerful invested interests that would prefer we continue to build these weapons of mass destruction -- even if they make no sense to our nation's security posture.
Today is the feast of Blessed William Carter, 1548-1584, who was martyred in England for printing Catholic books. He was beatified in 1987 by Pope John Paul II.
To see the kind of books published in 16th-century London by William Carter and his contemporaries and his predecessors (including the famous Wynken de Worde), click here.
How well I remember: I’m in my 20s, seated on a picnic table at the park with a copy of the Bible in front of me — and a copy of Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father. I was reading through some Psalms, replacing mention of God as “He” with “She.” I saw myself as engaged in an experiment, a quest to find answers to questions that haunted me after reading Daly’s book.
Our friend John Gehring, who is the Media Director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, is always worth reading and today he has an important post about immigration reform at the Washington Post’s “On Faith.” As he notes, the bishops intend to go all out on immigration this year.
If the bishops want immigration reform to pass, however, they will need to have the full weight of a strong administration behind the effort. Otherwise, it will turn out just like it did when Bush tried to move on the issue a few years back. Nothing will happen. And, unfortunately, the USCCB is trying to cut Obama off at the knees on health care reform unless the Stupak Amendment is part of the final bill.
A little over a year ago, I agreed to volunteer as the parish council president at my church in Los Angeles. Swamped at work, overwhelmed with things to do, I was sure this obligation would make me miserable -- but at least earn me a few days less in purgatory.
I was wrong. Yes, I attend more parish functions than ever, volunteer at events, and drag my family along to help whenever I can. But it all makes me, for some reason, happy.
The elusive “why” in all this is hinted at in a recent deluge of articles and video, seeking to unravel the mystery of what makes us happy -- a mystery only because the things we expect bring happiness rarely do, and the real answer is too shockingly simple to believe.
In Thursday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes about Costa Rica, home to people listed as the “happiest on earth,” according to a database compiled by a Dutch sociologist.
The freezing temperatures and blustering winds across the country this week have left many of the economically poor in peril. At the Catholic Worker where I live in Kansas City, Mo. we have guests who are still living outside, even in temperatures well below zero at night.
With these brothers and sisters in mind I would like to make a humble plea. It is inspired by another local Catholic Worker:
When you find yourself heading to the car to run some errands this weekend consider taking some blankets along with you. If you've got a little extra time and money to spare, think about even buying a couple of pairs of thermal underwear while you're out.
If you see a panhandler or homeless person outside as you travel, stop. Ask the person for their name. Ask how they're doing. If you feel comfortable, try and see if they have some place to stay tonight that's away from the cold. Offer them the blanket or thermals from your car. Give them a hug before you go on your way.
Remember that people are extremely vulnerable in weather like this. Let's help one another.
A funeral Mass for Smith Bagley was held yesterday at Holy Trinity Parish in Washington. Former President Bill Clinton was among the eulogists. The Washington Post has this report.