Blog author: bwalker
Friday, September 4, 2015

Pope Francis to Urge Unity During D.C. Visit
Emily Wilkins, Roll Call

Pope Francis will acknowledge the importance of Hispanics by celebrating Mass in his native language of Spanish during his visit later this month to Washington, D.C. But he’ll be speaking English during his much-anticipated address to Congress.

US Catholics are OK with non-traditional families: By the numbers
Marie Morelli,

Ninety percent U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married father and mother is the ideal environment in which to raise children, according to the Pew Research Center’s Survey of U.S. Catholics and Family Life. However, there is broad acceptance of families headed by unmarried parents, gay or lesbian couples, single parents and divorced parents.

Christians and Moslems discuss environment at Finsbury Park Mosque
Independent Catholic News

Mohammed Kozbar, director of the Mosque which has won awards for its contribution to the community, hosted the occasion. He particularly endorsed campaigner Bruce Kent’s view that conflict and the arms trade are major obstacles to addressing climate change, and welcomed the film ‘Conflict and Climate Change’ as an important contribution to the discussion. Names and contact details were enthusiastically exchanged with promises for future discussion. Just the sort of dialogue Pope Francis is calling for.


disney_pixar_movies_characters_wallpaper“We live in separate moral universes, and we seem to encounter each other only on the battlefield,” says Greg Forster. “Our imaginative worlds are also separate; everyone watches different movies and shows, reads different blogs, listens to different music.”

But one exception, Forster notes, is what he calls the “New Disney”: Pixar (which Disney bought in 2006) and the Walt Disney Animation Studios (2006-present). While they may seem like entertainment for children, the movies being released by the New Disney are shaping our moral imagination. A few examples Forster gives are Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3:

unemployed-2Series Note: Jobs are one of the most important aspects of a morally functioning economy. They help us serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing both for the individual and for communities. Conversely, not having a job can adversely affect spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals and families. Because unemployment is a spiritual problem, Christians in America need to understand and be aware of the monthly data on employment. Each month highlight the latest numbers we need to know (see also: What Christians Should Know About Unemployment).

Positive news is marked with the plus sign (+) while negative employment data is marked with a minus sign (-). No significant change is marked by (NC).

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 4, 2015

Prepare yourselves: The Great Migration will be with us for decades
Fraser Nelson, The Telegraph

It is not war, but money, that drives people abroad. That is not going to change any time soon

Who are ‘cultural Catholics’?
David Masci, Pew Research Center

The share of Americans whose primary religious affiliation is Catholic has fallen somewhat in recent years, and now stands at about one-in-five. But according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Catholics and others, an additional one-in-ten American adults (9%) consider themselves Catholic or partially Catholic in other ways, even though they do not self-identify as Catholic on the basis of religion.

The Two Strategic Approaches to Fighting Poverty
Richard Reeves, RealClearMarkets

There are two strategic approaches to tackling poverty. Strategy 1: raise the incomes of those with low incomes. Strategy 2: reduce the knock-on effects of having a low income on housing, schooling, safety, health or health care.

On the Bargaining Power of Workers
Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution

Buyers don’t compete against sellers, buyers compete against other buyers (and sellers compete against other sellers). Firms buy labor and they are competing primarily not against workers but against other firms. Firms versus Firms! Now that is a real battle!

ap_220157184201What is the story about?

When the Supreme Court handed down the <Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, it made same-sex marriage legal throughout the U.S. and required every state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, said she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious objections. To avoid claims that she was discriminating, Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses — to both same-sex and opposite sex couples.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, arguing that her duties as an elected official required her to act, despite her personal religious beliefs. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. She appealed to the Supreme Court, which denied her request without explanation in a brief one-line order. Since then she has still refused to issue marriage licenses.

On September 3, Davis was found to be in contempt of court and was taken into federal custody.

Who is Kim Davis?

Davis has worked in the Rowan County Clerk’s office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk (her mother was the clerk for decades). In 2014, she ran as a Democrat and was elected as Clerk. She is a member of congregation of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church.

What are Davis’s specific objections?


Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pope releases preservation doctrine, prepares for US visit
Henry Grabbe, The Daily Targum

Over the summer, I was honored to attend a UN meeting on the release of Laudato Si’ that featured Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, a principal writer of the encyclical. He described the religious argument postulated by Pope Francis, which forms from a simple premise —the call to preservation is located in the foundation of scripture. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till and keep it: Genesis 2:15

European bishops: pray for the care of creation
Catholic World News

The Council of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) has issued a message encouraging the continent’s bishops to take part in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1. Describing the care of creation as a “central theme” in ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox, the message called upon Catholics to “welcome this time of prayer as an opportunity to respond to the responsibility to which the Lord calls together all people, to become true stewards of what He has entrusted to them.”

Dems urge Pope Francis to highlight income inequality during visit
Cristina Marcos, The Hill

The House Democrats further praised the pontiff’s encyclical earlier this year on climate change and again offered a subtle jab at lawmakers — primarily Republicans — who oppose the Obama administration’s environmental initiatives.

Today in history: World day of prayer for the environment
People’s World

Six in ten Catholics believe humans have the responsibility to live with the earth’s animals and resources; but the 35 percent who say that God gave humans dominion, or control, over the earth, surely do not interpret that as a right to destroy our natural and only habitat. Time will tell how strongly local church leaders will follow the Pope’s clarion call; some will likely align themselves with traditional allies among the right wing in order to punish the Pope for his liberalism on this and other issues.

UN Said to Summon Leaders to Closed-Door Climate Change Meeting
Ewa Krukowska and Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg

The meeting will take place in New York on Sept. 27, a day ahead of the UN general assembly, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Ban also plans to invite French President Francois Hollande, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as Chinese leaders, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media.


bt-resourcesThe very first command God gave to humanity was to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Overall, I’d say we’re doing a pretty good job on that “increase the number” since we currently have over 7.3 billion people on the planet. Where we fall short of keeping the command is in the “subdue it” part.

As the ESV Study Bible explains,

Here the idea is that the man and woman are to make the earth’s resources beneficial for themselves, which implies they would investigate and develop the earth’s resources to make them useful for human beings generally. This command provides a foundation for wise scientific and technological development . . .

Innovations in agriculture have helped make it possible to feed more people using fewer resources, especially farm land. But there may be cultural innovation that could help just as significant: Overcoming the aversion Westerners have to eating bugs.

In the West we mainly get our protein from livestock, such as cattle and chicken. Cows taste great but they are extremely resource-intensive: it takes about 18-22 months and two acres of land for each cow, and one pound of steak requires 1,800 gallons of water. That makes it difficult to rely on them as a protein source for a growing population.

In contrast, “minilivestock”, such as crickets, require much fewer resources: Every six weeks, you can harvest 55-65 pounds of cricket meat from a 4 x 8-foot pen, and one pound of cricket protein requires only one gallon of water.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 3, 2015

Puerto Rico’s religious leaders call for federal debt intervention
Joshua Mcelwee, Vatican Insider

A coalition of religious leaders, including five Catholic bishops, called Monday for the U.S. Federal Reserve to step in and restructure Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt.

The Truth About Wages in Right-to-Work States
Natalie Johnson, The Daily Signal

Private sector wages are not reduced in right-to-work states as union advocates have argued, according to a new report released Tuesday by The Heritage Foundation.

How America Lost Track of Ben Franklin’s Definition of Success
John Paul Rollert, The Atlantic

According to Franklin, what mattered in business was humility, restraint, and discipline. But today’s Type-A MBAs would find him qualified for little more than a career in middle management.

Hunter-Gatherer Economics and Sustainability
Arnold Kling, askblog

To many environmentalists, sustainability means leaving the world the way you found it. I think that this may reflect the instincts of a hunter-gatherer.

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Istanbul declaration on climate change
Saudi Gazette

“The Islamic Climate Change Declaration” urges Muslims the world over to recognize and take action against the threat of climate change.

Study Guide on Care for Creation reissued; Metropolitan Tikhon addresses faithful on “Day of Prayer for Creation”
The Orthodox News

“As the summer draws to a close and children go back to or away to school for the first time and begin again a new academic year and ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by Saint Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessings bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator,” Metropolitan Tikhon concludes. “It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation.”

Pope Francis Holds Virtual Audience With Americans in ABC News Event Ahead of US Visit
Lauren Effron, ABC News

Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience today with Americans from around the country during an event hosted exclusively with ABC News.


Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

acton-commentary-blogimage“The world is not a parsimonious place, in spite of the dogmas of the ecologists,” says James V. Schall in this week’s Acton Commentary.

Our most unsettling economic problems are actually not economic but moral—moral ones that cannot be simply passed on from generation to generation. They need to be chosen and internalized by each person in each generation at the risk of deflecting material goods from their proper purposes.

Work likewise is not exclusively for its own sake. Rather work, while being an expression of human dignity and concrete accomplishment, aims at a product, aims at the material wellbeing in which something more than work can happen. The basis of culture, as Josef Pieper wrote in a famous thesis, is not only work but also leisure that lies beyond work. We work in order to have leisure, not the other way around.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

On September 8-10 we’ll be having a free ebook giveaway of Schall’s latest book. More information on the giveaway will be coming soon, so check back here on the PowerBlog to learn more.