by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND WORLD CHRISTIANITYPOPE ON MARRIAGE: This beautiful uncompromising papal message to the Rota. For all who think the Pope's reaching out to the many victims of modern sexual immaturity means he does not appreciate the indissoluble nature of Christian marriage - this message should be reassuring. It might also cause self reflection for those so eager to disparage the Holy Father as not quite up to the doctrinal demands of his office.
A PROBLEM THAT WILL NOT GO QUIETLY IN THE CLOSET: Sympathy for priests coming out. A metropolitan US cardinal in an interview with national news said the "Church has not been as welcoming as we might have been with gays". During the last 40 years of the 20th century American seminaries opened their doors to a dominating influx of homosexuals in our priesthood. They continue to exert a huge cultural influence as "conservatives" or "progressives." The American clergy has a huge problem with talking straight about homosexuality and loving like a brotherhood of fathers. Even straight priests are compromised by their accommodations and lifelong interrelationships with "brother priests " who cannot relate as brothers or fathers.
RAP GETS RELIGION: Rap and religious themes.Some of us once hoped that the purpose of rap was to bring the WORD back into music which had been destroyed by heavy metal and electronics. That prayer is still to be answered.
ORTHODOXY- CAN IT BE A FORCE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY? The strength of Orthodoxy should be its Eucharistic local presence in a city or nation (book review of 'Eucharist, Bishop, Church' by Zizioulas). The scandal of Orthodoxy has been its capture by local ethnicities even exporting the "local church" to a new locality where several ethnic Orthodox churches live in not-so-loving harmony. Can the Orthodox meet as Christian brothers? An ecumenical council of orthodox bishops and patriarchs.
CHRIST IN ASIA: The Buddha is not Christ, nor is he the anti-Christ. The differences between Buddhism and Christianity are not trivial. As the Dalai Lama said: "You believe in a personal God and I do not." The tradition of Confucius is quite different. Anthony Clark of the Catholic World Report praises the best introduction to the relationship of a worldview shaped by Confucius and Christianity: Ways of Confucius and of Christ. As Christianity grows in China, Confucius too is making his proper comeback as a source of ethics and worldview beyond materialism. A review of Michael Schuman's book "Confucius and the World He Created."
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
SAUDI ARABIA INTERNAL SAFETY FOR SHIA: Deadly attack on a mosque in Saudi Arabia says the CBS headline. Guess what kind of mosque got bombed? (from Al Jazeera). The best summary of the serious ills of the Kingdom. The narrowing at the top of the Determined audi ruling family is no time for Israel and the US to let our foreign policy be shaped by them. The Saudis are also no longer the leading supplier of China's oil - another cause of tension between Riyadh and Moscow.
IRAN AND VATICAN: Shia and Catholics - a God-centered dialogue. The Pope and the Vatican seem to have a better hold on the potential important role of Shia Muslims in shaping a world in which the sovereignty of God and necessity of religious liberty go hand-in-hand.
LEBANON CHRISTIANS RECONCILE IN PREPARATION FOR WAR: The Christians must be united. Will US Christians understand the religious alignments in Lebanon before we align with the enemies of the Christians. It will be difficult for our allies in Israel to see Hezbollah as an ally but that is precisely how the Christians see them. That is the real meaning of this new Christian alliance.
SYRIAN PATRIARCH LAUDS RUSSIA, BESEECHES THE "WEST":Who has actually defended Christians?
III. R&G ROUND UP - PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS, THE NATIONS
ON TRUMP: Sean Trende is editor of Real Clear Politics - a good daily clearing house of articles (Real Clear World and Real Clear Religion are all excellent sources). He was co-author in 2014 of the Almanac of American Politics (the biennial bible explaining American history and elections edited for many years by Michael Barone). This is his insightful three-part essay on Why Trump? Why Now?
NATIONAL SECURITY AND BREACHES: Before Hillary Clinton, there was a significant breach of American security that led to less than draconian punishments. How Petraeus avoided a felony.
EUROPE AND NATIONS: Daniel Mahoney on Manent. Manent has argued for a long time that political life depends on real territorial entities like cities and particularly nations. I have never thought he has a vigorous enough masculinity or religious sensibility to really explain nations, but he is a formidable thinker. His rejection of Rene Girard on violence is another plus. Professor Mahoney is an excellent guide to his thought.