Religion, Culture & Politics

Something about Eve

What women bring to the conversation among faiths

At a recent forum on women and interreligious dialogue,  “invisible” was a word used at several points to describe the presence of women in these increasingly necessary global dialogues.

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Questioning Authority. Keeping the Faith

The Latest “Catholics in America” Survey

Among other findings, researchers reported that 45 percent of millennial Catholics are Hispanic. Given birth rates and continued flows of immigration from Latin America, “they may well become the first generation of American Catholics in which Hispanics are a majority,” said one presenter at a daylong conference.

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Failure to Communicate

The Vatican Diaries

In his new memoir, John Thavis argues that the popular image of the Vatican as a monolith, eternally on message, is a myth. On the contrary, it “remains predominantly a world of individuals, most of whom have a surprising amount of freedom to operate—and, therefore, to make mistakes,” he writes.

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The Peace Front

Religious Groups Stake Out a Wider Role in Resolving Violent Conflicts

In struggles around the globe, religious communities are showing that they can bow in either direction: toward entrenchment and extremism or toward solidarity and compassion.

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Relative poverty

The indignity of gross inequality

Which view of economic inequality has greater merit? The one espoused by Adam Smith, the father figure of capitalism? Or the teaching that unfolds from the Bible’s pleadings for justice and righteousness? It’s a trick question…

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No Labels, Please

Lisa Sowle Cahill’s middle way

Cahill, a feminist theologian and one of the most prominent ethicists in the Catholic Church, is on a mission to build bridges of understanding between left and right. How’s that working out?

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The “Apostles” of Labor

Where have they all gone?

More than a third of public employees in the United States are still unionized, but the figure in the private sector is now running, or limping, at barely 7 percent. That negligible share is roughly equal to the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Hindus, or who believe that Elvis is still alive, according to unrelated polling.

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A Slow Death

Capital punishment hangs on

There’s a barbed wire fence separating America from the death-penalty-free world, and that fence is Texas.

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An Illusory Peace

Why Obama never had a chance to ease the culture wars

No one expects the culture warriors to begin chanting for health care reform and subsidized housing. But if they could acknowledge that economic insecurity is a pro-life concern, and other similarly sensible propositions, it would be a shift in a more interesting and peaceable direction.

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Portrait of an “Americanist”

David O’Brien’s American Catholic sensibilities

O’Brien says 9/11, with its illuminations of love, sacrifice and solidarity, convinced him that the much-scolded American individualism was a myth, and reminded him that he is an Americanist. On that day “the Americans, my people, were tested and … found worthy,” the historian and peace activist reflected.

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Forgiveness

A radical new factor

To look at forgiveness as a political prospect is to look away from some conventional wisdom. For one thing, forgiveness in politics is never about forgetting, but about remembering in a certain way, as the South Africans chose to do in establishing their truth commission—“The past is not dead and gone; it isn’t even past,” William Faulkner once said.

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Forgiveness and Revenge, in Politics and Business

Remarks at a forum sponsored by the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University

In political contexts, sometimes people have used the word “forgiveness.”  Usually they don’t, and they don’t need to. Nelson Mandela didn’t gush about forgiveness when he made his white jailer—the guy who kept the keys when he was a political prisoner—an honored guest at his presidential inauguration. But Mandela’s gesture was a transaction of forgiveness, a gesture of forbearance from revenge, an expression of the will to reconcile.

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