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from January 1997
Last Number: January 2013
The television show 'Nothing Sacred' has been called "intelligent television" by at least one critic, but offers no substantive moral or ethical positions. The Catholicism portrayed in the show is largely a device to perform social work and to act as a disguise for reactionary liberalism. 'Nothing Sacred' will offend many Catholics and fail to help non-Catholics interested in the faith.
Adolescents who ask why they should go to Mass are looking for a reason to trust Roman Catholic liturgy as a spiritual source. Most parishes are full of Christians who seek answers in church services for problems in their lives, but are increasingly presented with empty ritual. The Eucharist is the center of Catholic worship, not an emotional response to people preaching or singing.
Adoption versus abortion Adoption instead of abortion was supported as well as being an option when the biological mother of the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church of Stover, MO, became pregnant in 1946. For him abortion is a personal issue. For much of his life he held on to an imaginary scenario, a romantic one, involving his parents, but suffered from fear of abandonment. Now he knows his birth father was forced to enlist in the Army after he impregnated his stepsister, the birth mother, then aged 16. In 1998 there ...
School vouchers The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing educational vouchers may help solve problems generated by ineffective public schooling. Funding educational choices is not different from other welfare programs offering assistance with food and clothing. Competition from private schools may help reform public education, a benefit to students, government and society.
Josef Pieper Josef Pieper wrote philosophical books that explored the cardinal virtues, love, and the ways by which human beings understood truth. The cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, courage, and temperance. Much of his work was an exploration of Thomas Aquinas's philosophy. Pieper believed the natural world will reveal its truth if one has the proper attitude toward the divine. He died on Nov 6, 1997.
Catholic Church's view on capital punishment The National Conference of Catholic Bishops is opposed to the death penalty, but their position does not carry the official weight of binding church doctrine. The "Evangelium Vitae" supports the death penalty under limited circumstances when there is no other way to protect society. Catholics can in good conscience support the death penalty in limited circumstances. Catholics may also support the prohibition of the death penalty, but are not mandated to do so.
Reconciliation between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches Bartholomew, installed as His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, avoided an opportunity to advance ecumenism with the Roman Catholic Church at a visit to Georgetown University in Oct 1997. He repeatedly characterized efforts to unite East and West as failed, and this response has challenged to hopes of Pope John Paul II for reconciliation in the thousand-year split of Catholicism.
David Stove, 'Darwinian Fairytales' David Stove, who has taught at the University of Sydney, Australia, most of his life, admires Charles Darwin, yet debunks him. He is different from most anti-Darwinians and not a creationist. He admires Darwin a great deal as a thinker and thinks the human species evolved from some other species and that natural selection is responsible for new species coming from older ones. He maintains, however, that Darwin made mistakes, especially relative to humans. No knowledgeable thinking person will...
Abortion debate A New York Times story published near the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade indicated public support for abortion has declined. The New York Times has been a strong advocate of abortion, but comments registered in a New York Times/CBS poll reveal the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade may become a reality.
Motion picture 'Fools Rush In' The 1997 motion picture 'Fools Rush In' implicitly depends on pro-life themes. A young man and woman accidentally meet, spend the night together, and the woman becomes pregnant but does not want to marry the man. The man convinces the woman to marry him and deals with the ensuing complications for the rest of the film. This is an unusually strong anti-abortion message, containing an old-fashioned attitude.
Strategies for the pro-life movement The pro-life movement has had incomplete success because arguments have not met the emotional needs of women who choose abortion. A study reveals the pro-life movement cannot rely on a rational, left-brain argument against abortion. The movement must rely on right-brain messages that address a woman's sense of self and the fears pregnancy presents. Television ads with such messages have been effective.
Political aspects of religion There is a significant connection between Karol Wojtyla, the philosopher, and John Paul II, as Pope. Wojtyla is a Pole who spent much of his life under totalitarian rule, and this motivates him to free religion from political power. As pope, Wojtyla views the existence of God as verifying the existence of freedom and this concept moves the church toward fulfillment of the Christian faith.
Ethical approaches to human cloning - Editorial Laurence Tribe's argument that we should accepts human cloning because it is the most compassionate option in a world where cloning is inevitable is faulty because it does not establish a high moral ideal. Judgment in human affairs is as necessary as compassion. Cloning reduces people to products. Accepting such products as people may be compassionate when it happens but to advocate such production in advance is to betray a higher ideal.
School prayer case The controversy over Alabama Federal District Judge Ira M. DeMent's ruling restricting religious activity in public schools will be tested in the appellate process. However, a far more reasonable resolution might have been found in a public arena of reasonable accommodations. Religious activity is prevalent in Alabama schools, but generally by choice. The judicial system should not establish itself as an arbiter of understood common life.
Letter to parents of homosexual children from National Conference of Catholic Bishops A pastoral letter from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), approved by the administrative committee of the conference, is called "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministries." It is in many ways thoughtful and compassionate, but has generated controversy, for a reason. The letter may be telling people what they want to hear and reflect the desire of the bishops, like that of everyone else, to be praised. The...
Capital punishment Karla Faye Tucker's transformation from murderer to devout Christian can raise doubt in the minds of believers in capital punishment. Although the death penalty may be justified because it shows moral abhorrence for heinous crimes and reverence for innocent life, people who support it are not infallible. This troubling uncertainty should never leave the minds of death penalty supporters.
Manuel Castells, 'The Rise of the Network Society' 'The Rise of the Network Society' by sociologist Manuel Castells introduces the concept of 'real virtuality,' but fails to persuade. The idea is that virtuality has become social reality. Castells also argues that societies have become finally disenchanted, but evidence indicates instead that a re-enchantment of the world is occurring.
Jews may feel victimized in America, but it is not because of anti-Semitism. Jews have lost their sense of collective responsibility and have allowed their spiritual community to become fragmented. They should accept their religious and cultural responsibilities instead of blaming others for assaults on their identity.
Public apologies for historical crimes Public apologies for past crimes are often disingenuous in the political realm but morally valid in the religious. Politicians who apologize for historical crimes can be accused of attempting to further political goals and gain moral superiority at the expense of the dead. Church officials such as Pope John Paul II should have no such motives and offer apologies to restore moral balance in a spiritual world that includes the living and the dead.
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