Every Monday I enjoy a picnic along the banks of the Nile in a secluded spot that I found away from the bustle of the city. Cairo is not an easy place to find such a place, so I’m rather pleased with myself. I sit on an old wall and look at the cattails and bulrushes, and imagine where the basket of Baby Moses once nestled. As you can probably see, I’m not a Biblical scholar! Rather, I study Arabic and the Quran. These Monday picnics are my break between the challenges of a morning of Quranic grammar and an afternoon of Islamic theology.
One of my favorite words is “satisficing,” or the phenomenon of people choosing the first acceptable option they come across. Most of us hate making decisions and want the process to be over as quickly as possible, which is why a large number of choices can be terrifying rather than liberating.
"Mary is humanity’s first and flawless response to Christ." A reflection from Terrance W. Klein.
December brings concerns about the commercialism of Christmas, along with invocations to return to the day’s “true meaning.” Usually this means a rejection of consumerism in favor of faith. It’s about Christ, people say, not Macy's. Instead of stressing over what to buy, seek to grow closer to God.
Cardinal John Henry Newman's classic 1859 article, "On Consulting the Faithful on Matters of Doctrine," was much disputed in his time and after. Newman included the laity among those faithful, but also parish priests and indeed the whole body of the faithful. He wanted to stress not just orthodoxy but orthopraxis (right action or pastoral regard).
As South Africans prepared to bury Nelson Mandela on December 6, tributes from around the world began pouring in, acclaiming a man who brought South Africa back from the brink of revolution and through a slow, sometimes painful process of reconciliation—one that is in many ways ongoing. South Africa Archbishop Stephen Brislin said he learned of Mandela’s death with “a mixture of sadness and of relief” that the president’s sufferings were over.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union against the U.S. bishops for their “Ethical and Religious Directives” (ERDs) “misguided” and promised to defend Catholic teachings “in season and out.” He wrote: "The church holds that all human life, both before and after birth, has inherent dignity, and that health care providers have the corresponding duty to respect the dignity of all their patients.
Desde 1993 cientos de mujeres han sido asesinadas al rededor de Ciudad Juárez, atreves de la frontera con El Paso. La mayoría de las víctimas eran jóvenes trabajadoras de fábricas o estudiantes entre las edades de dieciséis y veinticuatro años. Amnistía Internacional habla por muchos cuando sugiere que la investigación del gobierno sobre estos crímenes ha sido inadecuada. Parte de la violencia parece ser relacionada con las gangas; algunos parecen tener su origen en el desprecio patriarcal por las mujeres trabajadoras.