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The Healing Love of Lourdes

One hundred-fifty years ago Our Lady visited Lourdes, France, a place that looms large in the Catholic imagination. Long before Poland Springs became popular, Catholics had their own brand of bottled water. It was well known that if you were sick, Mrs. Murphy or Mrs. Gimminiani or any number of women in the neighborhood would have a bottle of Lourdes water for you. We knew also that the word “grotto” was exclusively associated with Lourdes. Once after watching the movie, The Song of Bernadette, my father remarked that Jennifer Jones,… READ MORE >

(4) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    bernadette | healing | lourdes | mary

Issues

Sharia Controversy: A Storm in a Teacup

Sharia Controversy: A Storm in a Teacup

One of the alarming things about the furor over the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lecture at the Royal Courts of Justice is how a call to “think a little harder” about a complex and important issue in our society has resulted in the exact opposite: a lot of people thinking less and shouting louder. The newspapers and other media have led the way, with their insatiable desire for more blood in the water, and as a result no one has had the time to sit, read, and study before their judgment is sought on the latest cause celebre. This is… READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    catholic church | islam | pope | sharia

Issues

Defending the Archbishop: It’s All in the Details

Defending the Archbishop: It’s All in the Details

My defense of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s proposals for Britain to accommodate sharia law omitted to mention that the devil is in the detail, as an excellent Reuters report points out, and as Dr. Williams himself indicated. But the recent press, calming now after the storm, confirms the point I was making: as Tom Heneghan, religion editor for Reuters, notes, “the archbishop clearly stated in his speech on Thursday” that he ruled out barbaric punishments such as those visited on hapless Saudis, and “only wanted… READ MORE >


Issues

No, Accommodating Sharia Law Would be a Mistake

No, Accommodating Sharia Law Would be a Mistake

When I read Austen Ivereigh’s provocative essay, “Why the Bearded One Is Right About Sharia Law,” defending the recent speech by Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, I was compelled to respond. With all due respect to Mr. Ivereigh, I believe that he and Dr. Williams have erred in their judgment that accommodation of sharia law would benefit British (or Western) culture. The Judeo-Christian ideas of human dignity, the natural law, and God as the Author of Reason… READ MORE >


Issues

Why the Bearded One is Right about Sharia Law

Why the Bearded One is Right about Sharia Law

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is an unusually courageous and thoughtful man, one of the few leaders in Britain willing to risk public outrage in order to point up uncomfortable truths. His lecture yesterday in the Royal Courts of Justice was exactly what is needed in the UK now: a challenge to the Positivism which is in gradual steps sweeping away the British tradition of pluralism. The truth he gently points to is revealed in the reaction of British press and politicians. After he suggested that there should be accommodation… READ MORE >


Issues

Church & State & Sharia Law

Church & State & Sharia Law

The leader of the Anglican communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, is advocating that the UK accommodate the sharia law of Islam. While counseling that sharia law must never be allowed to trump basic human rights, the Archbishop believes that in “some cultural and religious settings” Muslims should be allowed to resolve some disputes, such as divorce cases, apart from the greater British legal system. In typical Anglican fashion, the Archbishop is trying to find a middle way between opposing principles. He imagines… READ MORE >


Issues

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dies

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dies

Over on his Tumblr, Radar Online Editor Alex Balk takes a moment to note the passing of former secretary of agriculture Earl Butz. First, he lauds fellow blogger Daniel Radosh for being willing to print what the papers won’t, namely, the actual quote that eventually led to Butz’s booting. The NY Times wrote: “he described blacks as ‘coloreds’ who wanted only three things — satisfying sex, loose shoes and a warm bathroom — desires that Mr. Butz listed in obscene and scatological terms.” Guess what? The original quote is… READ MORE >


Faith

GodSpy 2.0: Engaging Secular Culture

GodSpy 2.0: Engaging Secular Culture

After a lengthy hiatus, today—Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent— we resume publishing GodSpy in a new daily blog/magazine format. It’s never been our style at GodSpy to do much public navel-gazing about what we’re doing. We prefer to let individual writers have their say, and focus on what’s happening in the outside world. So forgive me for not explaining more, in this first blog entry, about the thinking behind these changes. With our new format, every day you’ll see easy-access links to news… READ MORE >

(9) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    church | godspy

Faith

Fasting: Hunger in the Service of Communion

Lent is traditionally described as a season of “self-denial.” So we find ourselves thinking about what to give up. We may give up chocolate, or beer, and find ourselves lamenting over them before Lent is over. Others object, and speak instead about “doing something positive” for Lent. Rather than giving something up they advocate taking something up. Denying self and doing good works is laudable. But by themselves, these practices miss the deeper opportunity of Lent. In these weeks before Easter, Christians will be exhorted to… READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    fasting | hunger | jesus | lent

Faith

Being Human

I grew up in Los Angeles in two opposed worlds. I was the son of an evangelical minister who led a mega-church of 12,000 members. I was also the child of my time and place, the counter-culture of the late 1960s. The drive from our church in the San Fernando Valley to Sunset Boulevard and rock clubs like the Troubadour and the Whiskey crossed boundaries of thought, feeling, and imagination at a greater distance than the Southern hemisphere. I should have grown up to be, in my way, Billy Graham’s Franklin, Robert Shuller’s son… READ MORE >


Issues

The Pope, the ‘La Sapienza’ Protests, and the Death of Irony

The Pope, the ‘La Sapienza’ Protests, and the Death of Irony

The sad irony of the recent protests at Rome’s La Sapienza University that kept Pope Benedict XVI from speaking there was that they were based entirely on a mistake. Not only was the source of the protests—a 1990 quote about Galileo lifted from a speech given by then Cardinal Ratzinger—taken out-of-context, the statement wasn’t even made by Ratzinger at all. The Cardinal was quoting someone else. And when you read the entire speech, it’s not only clear that the Cardinal didn’t say it, he disagreed with… READ MORE >


Politics

Why Huckabee makes evangelicals nervous

Why Huckabee makes evangelicals nervous

Before Mike Huckabee became a serious challenger for the Republican presidential nomination, I was asked by a powerful businessman, someone well-connected in Republican politics, why Huckabee wasn’t being endorsed by prominent evangelical leaders. Although I’m a Catholic, I grew up as an evangelical and know that world, and I had to wonder the same thing.   I remembered watching one of the early TV debates where Huckabee was asked whether his beliefs as an evangelical Christian would influence how he would govern. Huckabee said… READ MORE >


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