catholic

Francis Now and Then: The Ecological Politics of Saints

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Today we are a great distance from the ecological situation of medieval Italy. With the aid of capital and industry, we humans have become so practiced, and coldly efficient, in matters of animal domestication that we now have health insurance on offer for wealthy domestic pets while billions of other creatures in our care are heedlessly slaughtered. Our domestication practices are a mess. 

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Death Couture: Not For Halloween Only

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The highway that leads from the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza back to the resort-lined coast of the Yucatan Peninsula runs straight through several small towns. And there beside the Virgin of Guadalupe and San Judas Tadeo a gargantuan lawn statue of La Santa Muerte—Mexico’s patroness saint of death—looms over the rest.

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Most U.S. Catholics Back Marriage Equality, But Knights of Columbus Pour Millions into Opposition

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Quick, what organization was founded to support justice for immigrants, boasts nearly two million (all-male) members, and loves a good parade? The Knights of Columbus still support immigrants’ rights, but those sober-faced men marching down Main Street in full parade regalia are also part of an organization that was the single largest donor in support of California’s Proposition 8. As it turns out, this venerable fraternal order has taken up the anti-equality baton in a big way since then.

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Christ is Pissed, Again

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Commenting to Fox News, Staten Island Representative Michael Grimm has called the work a “deplorable piece,” one that is as “offensive” to Christians as ‘Innocence of Muslims’ is to “the Islamic world.” Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the comparison has provided opportunity to emphasize the supposed moral high ground that Christians occupy over Muslims when it comes to material deemed offensive or blasphemous. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Council, told Fox News that the two incidents shore up “the contrast between Islam and Christianity.” “You don’t have to plead with Christians not to riot and burn and storm buildings simply because they are offended,” Perkins said. “That’s the difference. That’s why Christianity moves nations forward and Islam moves nation backwards.”

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Sacrifice, Suffering, and Rick Santorum

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Of course, in today’s pussy-footing, self-censoring public talk about religion, we never ask how Isabella feels about being the occasion for edifying “sacrifice” by the Santorums? It is fine for Rick Santorum to tell us how such sacrifice has deepened his faith, strengthened the bonds uniting their family, and so on. Good for him. Moreover, Santorum would want no pity from me. He identifies with the uplifting narrative of sacrificing for the sake of others, protecting the weak, championing “life,” building character by overcoming adversity, seeing blessing where others see only curses, and so on. But I find all this attention to the suffering and sacrifice of Rick Santorum more than a little self-centered—a kind of spiritual egoism. 

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