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Wouldn't it be wonderful if the U.S. bishops really got behnd nuclear disarmament

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The first thing they could do is remind Catholic senators that disarmament is a moral issue and not one that should be politicized for partisanship gain. This is the height of selfishness and shortsightedness.

In the next few month the issues of the U.S. deterrence system and the place of nuclear weapons within it will come to the front burner. It would be timely to hear more from our bishops.

Feb. 10, St. Scholastica

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In the Office of Readings for the Feast of St. Scholastica we find St. Gregory's famous account of the last meeting of Scholastica and Benedict.

"She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.

"One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together.

A prelate with the mind of Ratzinger and the heart of Roncalli

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tWhile there are undoubtedly many ways to capture what’s noteworthy about Italian Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, here’s one from my experience just this week.

tTuesday morning, I was on my way to the Paul VI Audience Hall to listen to a talk by Ravasi at a conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. I bumped into a priest friend in the Vatican, who, it’s fair to say, would probably be seen as falling on the conservative side of many church debates. When I told him I was headed to see Ravasi, his eyes lit up.

t“He’s always giving speeches,” he said, “but he always has something interesting to say.”

tLater that day, I lunched with a lay church-watcher in Rome, who conventionally would be regarded as at least somewhat liberal. When I mentioned I had spent part of the morning listening to Ravasi, she too was animated.

t“He’s amazing … brilliant, but with an incredible ability to speak to real people,” she said.

Condescension on Left & Right

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The DC blizzard has resulted in, among other things, getting your Sunday paper on Monday afternoon. The Post’s “Outlook” section gave top billing to an article by Gerard Alexander entitled “Why are liberals so condescending?” which examined the ways that liberals dismiss conservative ideas rather than engaging them.

Alexander is on to something. There is a sense of intellectual and moral superiority among some on the left, and it truly does impede political decision-making. That said, chastising politicians for considering politics is hardly a uniquely liberal or conservative monopoly and, besides, if you spent five minutes with a member of Congress, you would prefer they stick to politics and not dabble in, say, theology.

The 'socially important' movie

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Nearly every Academy Awards season, the Oscar nominations bring to the forefront a small film deemed to be "socially important," a film of supposedly searing insight into the human condition, a film that - in short - cannot be ignored. These movies often tell us more about the Hollywood elite (i.e., Academy voters) than they do about any real social condition.

This year's anointed picture is "Precious," often described in reviews as a fairly brutal depiction of the life of an obese and illiterate black teenager who has two children by her father. Films like "Precious" garner critical attention and Academy nods not as films -- the acclaim is not really for script, plot, direction or cinematography. "Precious" is celebrated for what it allegedly reveals to us about the hidden sides of society we choose not to see. But does it?

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