Mar 14, 2001
In the debate over Pius XII’s response or lack of response to the horrors of Nazi Germany, very few writers have been able to overcome the temptation to depict him either as “Hitler’s pope” (as in John Cornwell’s book title) or as a saint (as in the case of those pushing for his canonization). Rabbi David G. Dalin comes to the latter conclusion in a recent article in the Weekly Standard (February 26).
What do faith-based groups and social agencies really make of President Bush’s effort to try to expand the role of faith-based groups in addressing social needs? What do they think of the “charitable choice” legislation, which makes religious groups eligible to receive social welfare funds from the government? To find out, a group at the Institute for Religious Research interviewed leaders of 14 socially active congregations in the Hartford area along with officials at 13 related social agencies.
Read Part 1.
On every Lenten journey many people stumble over the paradox of the Christian story. Jesus’s death saves the world, and it ought not to have happened. It fulfills prophecy, but it was the work of sinners. It is a “good bad thing.” The attempt to give the crucifixion a general moral (die to self, be faithful to the end) runs the risk of simply baptizing all bad things, as if with the right approach they too can be good things.
President Bush has quickly followed through on his promise to preach the message of faith-based solutions to social problems. He wants to expand “charitable choice” far past its original 1996 parameters. While experts warn against exaggerating how much religious groups can do, the turn to faith-based groups is a fact of life. Federal and state governments are turning to congregations as well as other religious nonprofits to lead community development and deliver social services. Foundations are investing considerable sums in faith-based activities and in research about them.
Snatch (2000), directed by Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie's Snatch, a British comedy (at least some of the audience was laughing), puts its disregard for human life right up front. We watch a jewel heist and massacre, some brutal beatings and a guy getting his face smashed with a hammer--all during the credits.
There’s a rumor going around about heaven. It’s been bruited about by well-known theologians, sharp-tongued satirists and social critics (Mark Twain among others), but it’s not really a very subtle point: The life of eternal blessedness sounds boring. My five-year-old son Andy voiced this concern early one morning while he was bouncing on the bed where I was trying to sleep. “Momma,” he said, “you’re Mary and I’m the baby Jesus. And up here is heaven, downstairs is earth.