The ecumenical tables in the U.S. are too small. None is large enough to encompass the full diversity of Christian life in this country. The National Council of Churches includes 36 Protestant and Orthodox bodies, but the member churches account for only one-third of U.S. Christians. Glaringly missing from its ranks is the nation’s largest Christian church, the Roman Catholic.
The United States “has too much power for anyone’s good, including its own.” So argues Timothy Garton Ash, who observes that since the demise of the Soviet Union there is no countervailing force on the world scene to check the use of U.S. power. Economically, the U.S.’s “only rival is the European Union. In military power it has no rival.
The scandal of sexual abuse among priests and its institutional cover-up presents the Catholic Church with a staggering crisis. It is a crisis of leadership, of moral credibility, and of trust between parishioners, priests and bishops.
Whatever the motives behind it, the land-for-peace initiative floated by Saudi Arabia strikes a note of reason in the ever-escalating violence of the Middle East. Since September 2000 over 1,074 Palestinians and 375 Jews have been killed in rounds of provocation and counterprovocation.
The food movement has called attention to the abuse of animals that are raised and killed on factory farms. But even farmers who raise animals in humane ways, in small-scale operations, intend for the animals to be slaughtered. Bob Comis, a professional pig farmer, asks how can he ethically raise pigs knowing that his ultimate aim is to kill and market them for consumption. “As a pig farmer, I lead an unethical life,” Comis confesses. “I am a slaveholder and a murderer” (American Scholar, Spring).