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The imperfect storm

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There are two winds blowing around the globe. The first, fundamentalism, brings with it the guarantee of absolutism and security. The second, inclusiveness, brings with it the promise of a new kind of future, ambiguous certainly but expansive, at least. Those two winds clashed last week and the whole world is waiting to see which of them is stronger.

Headlines from bishops' meeting often obscured the message

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Headline writers are a very special breed of print journalist. They have three major tasks: 1.) To get the reader's attention and, therefore, interest a person in the material being presented, 2.) To fill the column space allotted to the article with a font that gives design and balance to the page, and 3.) To tell the story by emphasizing its central thesis. If you're keeping score, I suppose two out of three is better than nothing. Nevertheless ...

The American inquisition?

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There are some things that being born in the United States simply does not prepare a person to imagine. One of them is a headline on the front page of a local newspaper reporting a "debate" going on in Congress on the use of torture as a part of U.S. military policy. A debate? What's to debate about it? Unless, of course you, were working for the court of Philip IV in 14th century France.

We need candidates who are really religious

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The closer the United States gets to choosing a president, the more the event begins to look like a papal election: it's all about religion and little about what religion teaches.


The United States, we love to say -- and Europeans repeat in a kind of incredulous wonder -- is the most "religious" country in the world. Meaning, of course, the most church-going country in the world. Whether or not going to church correlates well with religious values is clearly a debatable subject. To wit, the corporal works of mercy -- as in, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit the imprisoned, visit the sick, and bury the dead. It is on these criteria in Matthew 25: 31-46, however, that Jesus rests his definition of salvation. No small thing for those who considers themselves "religious." No small thing, then, one would think, if a nation -- if a candidate for political office -- were really serious about being "religious."

And now for the rest of the story

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President George Bush has managed to stir the waters again on the role of the United States in Iraq by comparing it to Vietnam. Bush is now saying we should not have left Vietnam so early, despite the fact that Vietnamese themselves are arguing that we should have left much earlier than we did. (See: Bush's invocation of Vietnam War pullout to defend his Iraq strategy rankles Vietnamese.)

Insecurity: When the bearers of democracy lose it for the sake of security

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[Editor's Note: Sr. Joan Chittister is taking a short break, so we have tapped into her archives. This column first appeared May 15, 2006.]


There's something intergalactic about hearing world news -- U.S. news -- in another country. Last week, for instance, I listened to the news in Tokyo. In the space of 24 hours, I heard a series of dizzying reports.

It's time to vote in pursuit of our own best interests

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[Editor's Note: Sr. Joan Chittister is taking a short break, so we have tapped into her archives. This column first appeared Aug. 12, 2003.]


I asked a friend of mine what effect he thought the war in Iraq would have on upcoming elections. He paused only so slightly. "None at all," he said. I pressed the point: "Not even in view of the fact that we have alienated some of our strongest allies?" "Joan," he said in the kind of low, patient voice reserved for slow learners, "Europeans don't vote in our elections."

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April 11-24, 2014

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