Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center
Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.
This biography of Maritain sounds interesting. He was a remarkable figure that embodied both the strengths and weaknesses of the Christian experience in Europe in the 20th century. He loved the US as a model of harmony between freedom and Christianity. It would be important to try and understand why, ultimately, he was defeated in his own time.
Fr. Neuhaus thinks that the papacy of Benedict XVI is being undermined by the American Jesuits. Sandro Magister thinks it is being undermined by the neo-cathecumenals. At any rate, the best starting point is gratitude for who this Pope is and what he says. A pontificate is also undermined when we try and use it to push our well-meaning political plans for the Church.
Joseph Bottum argues that the mediocrity of the hierarchy has not prevented the emergence of a class of influential Catholic public figures who are holding the line against the nihilism of the liberal elites. There may be some truth to that, except it is not clear that their cultural arsenal is really that much stronger than (or different from) mainstream (protestant) american conservatism. Unfortunately, opposition to abortion is not, per se, enough to build a new culture.
This is absolutely fascinating. And it is not just a weird Japanese phenomenon; it expresses a situation shared by most modern societies: that parents give their children literally everything except hope that their lives may have any meaning whatsoever. Japan is extreme only inasmuch the situation is not mitigated by any residual Christian cultural influences.
We in the U.S. are familiar with controls that allow parents to block their children from viewing pornographic web sites on the Internet. If you live in China you can find all the porn you want, but you won't see terms like "demonstration", "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence" on your screen, thanks to the government, with the help of U.S. software companies. It seems that some big names like Microsoft, Yahoo, and yes, even Google, are helping Chinese authorities crack down on dissenters and even put some in jail, according to Asianews. Yahoo has already been the target of protests by human rights groups for its policy of collaborating with Big Brother.
The Pope gave a moving homily on baptism.
"In Baptism, the child is inserted in the company of friends who will never abandon him, in life and in death. This company is the family of God which bears the promise of eternity within. A company which will accompany him always, even in days of suffering, in the dark valley of life, giving him consolation, comfort and light. This family gives him eternal life. It indicates the right direction, offers the consolation, comfort and love of God even in the dark valley and on the threshold of death, it gives friendship, life. This company, absolutely trustworthy, never abandons. No one knows what will happen on our planet, in our Europe, in the coming 50,60,70 years, but of one thing we are certain: whoever belongs to the family of God is never alone, he always has the secure friendship of he who is life. This family of God, this company of friends, is eternal because it is communion with He who has won over death, who has the keys of life in hand. Being in the company of the family of God means being in communion with Christ, who is life and who gives eternal love beyond death."