As the conflict in Syria reached new depths of depravity this week, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, expressed his frustration with Western powers in an interview with Doreen Abi Raad of Catholic New Service in Beirut. Describing the morale of Syria's Christians as "very, very low," he charged that the worsening conditions in Syria were the result of Western nations carrying out a geopolitical strategy "to split Syria and other countries" in the Middle East.
From the May 18, 1963 edition of America, a playful poem on the reaction to Pope John XXIII's encyclical, Pacem In Terris. The author, John Cogley, was an editor at Commonweal and an adviser to the Kennedy presidential campaign.
"How To Read an Encyclical"
Unwilling to live with the horror of burning children, a consequence of U.S. napalm bombings in Vietnam, a group of Catholic peace activists decided to make a bold attempt to end the war—or at least slow down its buildup. On May 17, 1968, two women and seven men, including two priests (Dan and Phil Berrigan), entered the Selective Service Office in Catonsville, Md., seized nearly 400 1-A draft files and burned them in a nearby parking lot with homemade napalm. Martin Sheen has called the action “arguably the single most powerful antiwar act in American history.”
The most common question I’m asked as a Jesuit (besides “What’s a Jesuit?”) is: Can you teach me how to pray? While many people have less time for organized religion, they are more hungry for contact with God. Plus, whether they’re religious, spiritual but not religious, or spiritual and religious, most people tend to think that they don’t pray “right.” People sometimes think that everyone else has a lock on prayer. All everyone else does, they think, is close their eyes and they’re instantly flooded with a sense of God’s presence. They’re the only ones who struggle.
No less a theologian than Saint Thomas Aquinas lamented that, when it comes to understanding the Holy Spirit, our problems begin with the name (Summa Theologiae I.36.1) . Think of all things that can be called holy, or how often one might speak of a spirit. Even with the two words conjoined, the mind still searches for an image. As Aquinas noted, to speak of a Father and a Son is to employ terms of relationship that we understand, even if we fail to comprehend fully this Father and this Son.
The Holy See issued the following statement this morning on the dispostion of Scotland's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who retired abruptly after admitting in March that his "sexual conduct" had "fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal":
Responding to the announcement of a breakthrough in human cloning technology, Boston's Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., in his role as chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wote that human cloning for any purpose is inconsistent with the moral responsibility to “treat each member of the human family as a unique gift of God, as a person with his or her own inherent dignity."
I am been thinking about Pope Francis’ canonization of the 800 martyrs of Otranto, Italy on Sunday, the 800+ people killed when they refused to convert when confronted by an Ottoman Turkish invader. I am not a historian of this material by any means, so for the moment, Wikipedia may be allowed to set the scene: “Antonio Primaldo and his companion martyrs, also known as the Martyrs of Otranto, were 813 inhabitants of the Salentine city of Otranto in southern Italy who were killed on August 14, 1480.
Georgetown adjunct faculty recently made news, voting to join SEIU Local 500, the labor union that already represents adjunct faculty at George Washington University and American University.
Kermit Gosnell found guilty on three out of four counts of first degree murder, making him death penalty eligible, and mutiple other counts in his 200+ count criminal indictment.