Showing posts with label social justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social justice. Show all posts

5 Feb 2017

Natural Law, Our Rules



Back in my 'good old days,' a half-century back, some claimed that science, technology, and a changing culture, made the 'outmoded morality' we'd been working with obsolete.

Others apparently believed that moral decay was caused by newfangled gadgets like the telephone and television: and, of course, 'Satanic' rock music....

...Folks who claimed that a changing world made 'conventional morality' obsolete were right: sort of.

That may seem odd, coming from a Catholic who agrees with Fulton Sheen....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Jan 2017

Who is My Neighbor?



Folks were hanging around after an evening prayer service Sunday, when someone came into the building and started shooting. 19 of the 50-plus folks there were injured, five hospitalized in critical condition. Six are now dead....

...This week's news hasn't been all bad. A GoFundMe page raising funds for the Islamic Center of Victoria, Texas, that burned last Saturday has collected upwards of $900,000 so far.1

I've never met the men who died Sunday night, I don't know their families. The same goes for folks affected by Saturday's fire. Why should I care what happens to them?

I've got reasons: some involving enlightened self-interest.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Jan 2017

Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic

My father-in-law has been asked if he's conservative — or liberal.

His answer: "I'm Catholic."

I'd give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it's possible to peg them on the American political spectrum — as long as you don't look at the big picture.

Taking bits and pieces of Catholic beliefs, and the history of Catholics in America, I could claim that the Catholic Church is conservative or liberal. That would be as big a mistake as seeing all conservatives as hate-fueled foes of diversity, or all liberals as irresponsible lunatics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 Nov 2016

Hate, Justice, Forgiveness

Islamic centers in California got hate mail recently. At least one of the letters was addressed "To the Children of Satan," and started with "You muslims [!] are a vile and filthy people...."1 Details are new, but the attitude is all too familiar.

Hating Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Catholics, or other 'outsiders' may be easier than coming to terms with personal issues. I don't know why those letters were sent.

I also don't know why a Somali refugee drove into a crowd at Ohio State University and hurt some folks with a knife this morning.2 He had been a student there, and now he's dead. I'm not happy about that, but I think he shouldn't have attacked those folks.

I do not think we should deport all Somalis, lock up college students, or ban knives and automobiles. I'll talk about what I think would make sense, after explaining why I'm not upset about Americans who don't look and act exactly like me.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2016

Advent and Being Prepared

Today's the start of this year's Advent cycle, leading up to another Christmas.

With my culture's annual focus on flying reindeer, decorated trees, and overflow crowds in Bethlehem, this verse from today's Gospel reading might sound odd:
"25 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."
(Matthew 24:42)
We know when Jesus came, and where. That happened about two thousand years ago, near the east end of the Mediterranean.

Advent is the season when we look back at our Lord's first arrival. That's important.

It's also when we look ahead, to the day when the Son of man returns. That's important, too.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Nov 2016

Saint Teresa of Calcutta Through the Lens of a Friend

The Power of Images To Change Lives

Marie Constantin, the photographer and author of Finding Calcutta: Memoirs of a Photographerunderstands images have power, more power than words alone to impact lives.
It was an image in a documentary film that turned Constantin’s life completely around in the early 1990’s. She was a young journalist, completely focused on establishing her career and partying with friends when an image of Mother Teresa holding a starving person flashed across the t.v. screen with the words, “God didn’t do this; we do it because we do not share what we have”. 
Suddenly tears streamed down Constantin’s face. The very next day she found herself washing dishes in a soup kitchen run by Mother Teresa’s nuns in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was one photo of Mother Teresa on t.v. which catapulted her into volunteering with the sisters and opened the door to her calling, her vocation.

30 Oct 2016

Authority, Superstition, Progress


(From Diliff, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Authority, superstition, and misapplied technophilia (it's a real word) rate at least one post each: but that'll wait until another day. Days.

This time I'll take a quick look at all three, and then say why I don't believe in Progress with a capital P — and don't yearn for the 'good old days.'

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

2 Oct 2016

"Wait For It"


(From Radomir Vrbovsky, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
(دروازه ایشتار, Ishtar Gate, eighth gate of Babylon's inner city: a reconstruction using original bricks in the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin, Deutschland.)

Prophets had their bad days, too — like Habakkuk, from today's first reading (Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4):
"1 How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not intervene.

"Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.

"Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision Clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.

"For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late."
(Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-3)
This was about 26 centuries back, and not a good era in our Lord's homeland. Folks who should have known better were misbehaving, badly. It wasn't the first time, and wouldn't be the last.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Sep 2016

Amos and Social Justice

I think social justice is a good idea.

I'd better explain that.

I think acting as if people matter is a good idea: all people, not just the 'right' ones.

I'll be talking about "the poor of the land," private property, the universal destination of goods, and a job that's not even close to being done.

There's nothing wrong with prosperity, by itself. As 1 Timothy 6:10 and Hebrews 13:5 say, it's love of money that gets us in trouble.

Some Saints, like Francis1 and Claire, both of Assisi, were poor. Others, like Elizabeth of Hungary and Sir Thomas More, were anything but....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Apr 2016

"Amoris Laetitia" — or — Don't Panic


(From Elia Kazan, via Petrusbarbygere/Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Screenshot from a "Panic in the Streets" trailer. (Elia Kazan, 1950))

Actually, "Amoris Laetitia" means "The Joy of Love."

Pope Francis signed "Amoris Laetitia," about 58,000 words about love in the family, March 19. The apostolic exhortation was released Friday.

So far, I've heard an imaginative summary on radio news, read a few dramatic headlines, and one or two online remarks about it that make sense.

The latter generally boil down to 'I haven't studied it yet, so I don't know what it says.'

That's pretty much where I'm at, but that won't stop me from talking — briefly, for me — about what I have read. So far, I've finished the introduction, glanced at the index, and am working my way through the first chapter....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Jan 2016

Defensive Architecture and Tobit

I'm in the lower half of America's economic ladder, but I've never been homeless. That's just as well, since I've spent the bulk of my life in Minnesota and North Dakota. Winters get cold up here.

I am, however, a recovering English teacher; and I like to verify my assumptions about what words mean. Here's part of my country's definition of "homeless." There will not be a test on this....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Nov 2015

Attacks in Paris: People Matter




(From BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("The names of victims have started to emerge. Top left to right: Nohemi Gonzalez, Marie Mosser, Djamila Houd. Middle left to right: Juan Alberto Gonzalez, Guillaume Decherf, Nick Alexander. Bottom left to right: Mathieu Hoche, Thomas Ayed, Valentin Ribet"
(BBC News))....

...Another article tells about efforts to find folks who are still missing: either dead, or hospitalized and not able to say who they are. I'll get back to that....

...A few names from that BBC News article —
"Dado," the nickname of a man killed at the Bataclan. Hugo Sarrade, Cedric Mauduit, Mathieu Hoche, Quentin Boulanger, Guillaume B Decherf, Marie Lausch, Mathias Dymarski, and Lola Salines, had been at the Bataclan, too.

No pressure, and this is just a suggestion: but praying for everyone involved couldn't hurt....

More, at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Nov 2015

Paris, Evil, and Love




(From Anne Sophie Chaisemartin/AP, via New York Daily News, used w/o permission.)
("Victims of a shooting attack lay on the pavement outside La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were killed in Paris on Friday night in a series of shooting, explosions."
(New York Daily News))

I've read that Friday's attacks in Paris are the fault of right-wing hate-mongers, that America's president is to blame — — — and the American election is still nearly a year off. I am not looking forward to the usual self-serving balderdash....

...I am pretty sure that Muslims who blame France, America, and Western civilization for their problems are sincere, too.

But the grand imam of Al-Azhar called Friday's attack "odious," Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said it was "heinous," and Saudi King Salman called it "repugnant."1...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Aug 2015

(Not) 'Going Native'

As a Christian, and a Catholic, I should be 'in the world but not of the world.' That idea shows up in John 15:18-19 and 17:14-16, and Romans 12:2.

Joining a cloistered outfit like the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) is one option: they're part of the Benedictine family, contemplative monks and nuns.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Jul 2015

Angst, Hope, and Building a Better World

I've run into — and experienced — many flavors of angst over the decades.

Back in my 'good old days,' some folks feared the communist menace, others the population bomb and imminent death of all the ocean's fish. And there's that perennial favorite — the End Times Bible Prophecy. (June 9, 2012; October 3, 2009)

I take the last things — death, judgment, Heaven and Hell — quite seriously. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1021-1022, 1023-1029, 1033-1037, 1681-1683)

But recognizing that there's a really big closing ceremony for Creation 1.0 coming up — the Last Judgment — doesn't mean I think someone knows more than God the Father. (Mark 13:32-37; 1038-1041)

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Jun 2015

Beavers, Floods, and Yet Another Dire Prediction

Beavers are back in England, which is good news or bad news: opinions differ on that point.

Quite a few folks died when drains blocked up in Nigeria's capital. Then a gas station exploded. There's more rain in the forecast, so their troubles are far from over.

Finally, there's a new doomsday prediction in a brand-new publication. Madagascan lemurs are imperiled: but not, I think, cockroaches, rats — or humans.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 May 2015

Beaver Cleaver and the Common Good

I grew up in the 'good old days,' when many Americans enjoyed the seemingly-secure middle class lives of the Cleavers and Andersons.

Some parents, mine included, remembered that there's more to life than wealth: so I never considered running away to a commune.

But I understood why some folks my age, and a bit older, decided that buying stuff you don't need with money you don't have to impress people you don't like — made no sense at all....

...I didn't have the horror that some older folks had for places like Drop City. It seemed to me that 'those crazy kids,' with their 'un-American' talk about peace, love, and brotherhood, had decided to take at least some of my Lord's values seriously....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 May 2015

Climate Change, Science, and the Vatican

The 'Vatican science academy' is in the news again: this time because they've said we should use our brains. The topic was climate change, which tends to stir up sound and fury more than rational discourse.

Meanwhile, one scientist implied a link between our "carbon dioxide crisis" and a lot of dead critters, some 201,000,000 years back. More to the point, I think, the team he was on has added a few more pieces to the puzzle of what caused the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Apr 2015

Death? Been There, Done That


(From Piero della Francesca, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
('Dead? I was, but now I'm better.' No, our Lord didn't say that: not in so many words.(John 20:26-27))

I haven't died, not yet: and I'm still working on the 'dying to myself' that doesn't mean pretending that I'm garbage — and that's another topic. Topics. (November 27, 2011; March 3, 2009)

Our Lord: That's another matter. About two millennia back, Jesus was tortured, executed, and buried: but I'm getting ahead of the story....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Jan 2015

Boko Haram: Slavery, Death, and Love

Muslims are still upset about those 'Mohammed' cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.

That, I think, is understandable. Being upset is not an excuse for killing folks, though. (January 11, 2015)

I'm upset when my faith gets described as 'worshiping a cookie.' I was angry about a college professor's photo of a consecrated Host, a page from the Quran, and another book's page: treated as garbage. For that matter, I felt disgust when a preacher burned the Quran. (July 20, 2012; April 1, 2011; March 5, 2010)

Some of that comes from spending my youth in the '60s. When I became a Catholic, however, seeing humanity as one big family was no longer an optional: it's a requirement....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.