by David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY
I. POPE FRANCIS AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY
VATICAN ARRESTS: Arrests by Vatican police in anticipation of new books telling sordid tales of Vatican corruption.
CATHOLIC ACADEMICS WHO DISSENT FROM CHURCH TEACHING REALLY DISSENT FROM BEING CALLED HERETICAL: Ross Douthat is a generally conservative Catholic who writes for the New York Times. He is insightful and obviously a balancing voice for his paper. A recent column before the finish of the Synod on the Family accused the Pope and other Bishops of a plot to change Catholicism. I found it quite overblown in terms of his assessment of Pope Francis. This embroiled him in an argument with several Catholic theologians who very much would like to change fundamental teachings of the Church on sexuality (e.g. the goodness of homosexual relations, the dissolubility of certain marriages, and female ordination). Those academics wrote a short multi-authored letter objecting to Mr Douthat's qualifications and his accusing the "reformers" of heresy. Douthat responded.
Bishop Robert Baron answered the offended academics.
A woman student from Boston College Theology Department wrote a stinging insider's story of the scandalous and oppressive environment created by several of the writers so upset about charges of heresy. Her two years with liberal theologians is an indictment of the sexual revolutionaries who call themselves Catholic theologians and the bishops who let them continue the masquerade. The letter writers know if they were really outed as heretics, they might lose their jobs. Mr. Douthat should turn his guns on the heresy of academics who have undermined our purity codes. They want to hide behind the Holy Father. Douthat's misplaced charges are allowing them cover.
David Mills looks at 'conservative" dissent against Pope Francis as bitter sons.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
WHO WILL DEFEND CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDEAST - THE CASE FOR PUTIN: Obama or Putin, with excellent historical links on the relations of Putin's post-communist Russia and Christian Orthodoxy.
SAUDI PLAN FOR EXTERMINATION OF SHIA - BRITISH MI6 HEAD SPEAKS: Sir Richard Deerlove, head of British MI6 from 1999-2004, gives a revelatory speech about Saudi intentions against the Shia-led Iraq government. The author compares the Nazi approach to Jews with ISIS approach to Shia. Sir Dearlove's speech advocated less security resources directed against Islamic terrorism by Britain. His argument is that the real danger is in the Mideast AMONG MUSLIMS. The country most responsible is Saudi Arabia. He compared the war in Syria with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, which became a battleground for the struggle between Communism and Christianity. The larger struggle in the Mideast which he underestimated until 2014 was the Sunni-Shia war, and the drive of Saudis to maintain their place in the Mideast by supporting the authority of Wahhabi Islam throughout the region as the keepers of the Holy Cities and definers of what it means to be a Muslim. Meanwhile an execution looms to accentuate this fundamental Salafist-Shia conflict.
III. U.S. POLITICS AND SOCIETY ROUND UP
STRATEGY, POLICY, AND THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE: President Obama promised among other things to "reset" with Russia, use diplomacy not military threats with countries like Iran, and "tilt" toward Asia. Has he demilitarized foreign policy?
Dr Ben Carson on Seventh Day Adventists and female ordination.
FIGHTING CRIME - THE OFFICERS AND THE CITIZENS: FBI Director James Comey warns that aggressive anti-police movements are deterring the kind of aggressive policing needed to keep public order in large cities.
FIGHTING PRAYER - THE COACH AND THE SCHOOL BOARD: No praying at high school football games and we mean it.
IV. POLISH ELECTIONS
A CATHOLIC PRESIDENT AND NOW PARLIAMENT IN POLAND: Here is one take on the stunning victory of nationalist Catholics (Law and Justice Party) in Polish Parliamentary elections.