The Tablet, the London-based Catholic newsweekly, has an editorial in its Aug. 15 issue with the headline: U.S. bishops must back Obama. The editorial says in part:
If there are four more powerful biblical words than "A man had two sons" I do not know them. I always cry when I read them. Coming after the other two parables about hope, the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin, and appearing only in the Gospel of Luke, the parable of the prodigal reveals to us in a way that we find difficult to understand, even unnerving, what the Master was about to accomplish for the entire human race on Calvary: The triumph of absolute merciful love over sin and even over justice. Justice is one of the most noble accomplishments of the human soul, and it is difficult to attain, but it is as nothing compared to the mercy of God.
I hope that Michael Vick has read that parable many times.
By now, we are all aware of President Obama's keen interest in Abe Lincoln. Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece on choreographer Bill T. Jones.
The 57-year-old Mr. Jones, a MacArthur "genius" grant recipient, is readying two new stage productions for the fall season: "Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray," an evening-length piece celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth -- "fondly do we hope ... fervently do we pray" -- is from a line in Lincoln's second inaugural address.
Let’s begin down at the nearest pond. Fr. Ed Hays, founder of the Shantivanam prayer community in Kansas and spiritual writer, advises that we adopt the common frog as a mascot for our spirituality of simple living.
The image of a frog could be hung on our walls as a religious icon, he suggests. One reason for doing so is that the frogs in our local ponds have such great bulging eyes. We need those kind of eyes in order to live deeply and well.
“To the eyes of the soul,” Hays counsels, “everything is holy. Viewing life with the soul’s enormous staring eyes allows us to see that we are swimming in the sacred.” With those great bulging eyes and a cultivated spirituality of simple living, we can backstroke through the holy, splash and delight in the taste of reality, find it easy to both pray always and to participate in the healing of our world. As theologian Monika Hellwig rightly claims, the primary issue in spirituality is not the redemption of the individual soul but the redemption of our whole world.
I recently blogged about how Jesuit Fr. Greg Boyle did an about face with the Los Angeles police chief William Bratton: At first Boyle was not impressed, but later came to the conclusion that the police chief was outstanding.
Today's AP story describes the perilous financial condition of Boyle's anti-gang program, Homeboy Industries:
After Friday, however, all bets are off at Homeboy Industries. The Roman Catholic priest's 21-year-old effort to rehabilitate gang members by offering jobs, counseling and schooling, will run out of cash — the result of an economic recession that has ripped a $5 million hole in the nonprofit's budget this year.
I have to confess, I was a bit upset by the lead story under the fold of The Wall Street Journal today: A global surge in tiny loans spurs credit bubble in a slum.
That has attracted private-equity funds and other foreign investors, who've poured billions of dollars over the past few years into microfinance world-wide.
Microloans range from a few dollars to a few hundred. Tiny. The capitalists got involved with this "social experiment," becase its offers dependable returns. The granddaddy of all microlenders, the 30-year-old Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, reports repayment rates of nearly 98 percent.
Leave it to the capitalists to screw it up. The Journal article continues:
Honduras: The coup continues and repression escalates
The Quixote Center delegation in Honduras reports that Aug. 11 -- a day on which the popular movements had called for large urban rallies -- did indeed produce very large protests against the coup government in both Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras. But it also produced increased repression.
Here is part of their firsthand report:
A couple of weeks back, I wondered why someone with such an illustrious reputation as Princeton Professor Robert George would agree to appear on the Glenn Beck show, especially after Beck had just that morning accused President Barack Obama of being a racist. But, hey, we all make mistakes and what with advance scheduling, and busy summer travel schedules, maybe Professor George did not know of Beck’s outrageous remarks.
Alas, the Glenn Beck appearance now appears mild.
The American Principles Project was founded by Professor George. Its Web site identifies him as "one of America's foremost scholars in the fields of constitutional law, ethics and political philosophy," although my conservative friends question his intellectual output and increasingly his intellectual rigor.
The fine study of new members of religious communities by the Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate is unfortunately being used to support a bogus conclusion.