Today, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called for supporting just wage public policies. While the religious leaders genuinely concern for the poor, they display a deep lack of understanding of basic economic principles, namely the law of supply and demand. Supply and demand directly determines the price (wages) of labor. A price higher than the market price leads not to higher wages, but higher unemployment. Read this article for a more detailed discussion of the ill-effects of minimum wage laws.

Blog author: dpahman
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Earlier this month, the eminent historian Owen Chadwick passed away. Chadwick’s immense scholarly accomplishments included Acton and History, his study of our namesake here at the Acton Institute. John Morrill wrote a wonderful reflection for The Guardian on Chadwick’s life, character, and accomplishments at the time. From the article:

His last two books were A History of the Popes 1830-1914 (1998) and The Early Reformation on the Continent (2002). Throughout his career, he also published brilliant short essays, normally developed from public lectures. He wrote memorably about Lancelot Andrewes, bishop and principal translator of the King James Bible; Izaak Walton (The Fisherman and his God, 1984); the Oxford movement, the forerunner of Anglo-Catholicism; the historian Lord Acton, a real hero to him; the young Gladstone and Italy; and Newman and the idea of the university.

Morrill continues,

His writing was marked by short sentences: no modern writer employed so few subordinate clauses. He had a penchant for one-sentence paragraphs. His writing was always crisp and vivid, as notably in the single-word chapter titles of his final book. The brusqueness of his judgments often startles – as when he comments how the motor accident in which Ramsey’s father’s actions led to the death of his mother was to traumatise the future archbishop of Canterbury: “The resulting turmoil, mental and emotional, ruined (the word is not too strong) his preparation to be a priest and blotted out his memory of Cuddesdon [College, Oxford].”
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What is memorable about Chadwick’s writing is its pleasing economy and uncluttered clarity of articulation. He wrote as he spoke: to read him is to hear him.

Resquiescat in pace. May he rest in peace. And may he continue to be heard well beyond our time.

Read the full article at The Guardian here.

Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Archbishop, EPA administrator write joint op-ed on climate change
Catholic World News

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago has joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in writing an op-ed article entitled “We have a moral obligation on climate change.” “The fight against climate change isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon,” they wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times. “But with continued leadership and committed action from the archdiocese, from Chicago, and from congregations and communities across America, we can turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.”

The Pope as Trophy-Chaplain to the Democratic Party
George Weigel, National Review

Moreover, none of these co-signers of the “Dear Colleague” memo inviting signatures on the letter to the pope has lifted a finger to help the Catholic Church in the United States in its battle against the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate in the implementation of Obamacare. Thanks to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, that now puts each of the solons in what one might have imagined, once upon a time, to be the unenviable position of supporting a bullying Obama administration in its efforts to drive the Little Sisters of the Poor out of business. All of the signatories to the “Dear Colleague” have also busily promoted the Democrats’ “War on Women” narrative, which is essentially anti-Catholic. And one may reasonably assume that none of them is going to be of any help in probing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the body parts of very small people.

Pope Francis Demands “Fully Borne” Cost of Pollution (Carbon Price)To Prevent “Millions Of Premature Deaths”
Dr. Gideon Polya, CounterCurrents

Pope Francis, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, essentially advocates Carbon Pricing in Section 195 of his 2015 encyclical “Laudato si”: “”Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,” can those [economic] actions be considered ethical”

ECM launches Pope’s Encyclical, Tuesday
Prince Henderson, Episcopal Conference of Malawi

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) will on Tuesday next week launch the Encyclical on climate change as written by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, ECM Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Henry Saindi has confirmed. In a statement released by ECM, the conference comprising the eight dioceses subdivided in the two ecclesiastical provinces of the Archdiocese of Blantyre and the Archdiocese of Lilongwe will launch the Pope’s Encyclical at Capital Hotel starting from 18:00hrs to 21:00hrs.

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courtesy of CNN

courtesy of CNN

Human trafficking victims get moved frequently. It’s one way their traffickers can keep control over them – the victims often have no idea where they are. They can be transported by bus, train, 18-wheelers, and planes. Could you spot a victim? More importantly, would you know what to do?

CNN’s Freedom Project has the on-going mission to end modern day slavery. They’ve given a list travelers can look for.

1. The person traveling is poorly dressed. (Now, I realize, given the state of our national dress code, which seems to be pajama bottoms and a hoodie, this might be a tough one.) The clothes the person is wearing may be too large or too small. The clothes may be completely “out-of-sync” with their destination: too warm or too cold. A young person may be dressed very provocatively. (more…)

Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia

No one can call Camille Paglia an easy person to pidgeon-hole. She’s a feminist, but refers to herself as a dissident one. She’s a professor, an author, a critic. In the late 1990s, she began writing a regular column for Salon (she continues to contribute, but not regularly.) She once said she would not be unhappy if her entire career were to be judged by this sentence she wrote: “God is man’s greatest idea.

Suffice it to say that she cannot be pidgeon-holed, but she loves to ruffle feathers. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Catholic Social Work And The Right To Religious Freedom
Frances Robinson, First Things

The social work field has become a battleground where strong convictions are unwelcome if they conflict with the profession’s ruling assumptions. In the past, opportunities to work in a faith-based agency gave religiously believing social workers a way to begin their career in a safe and professionally respected environment.

Skipping church? Facial recognition software could be tracking you
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post

Could Big Brother be coming to a church near you? One software company is now providing churches with facial recognition software to better track who shows up at their worship services.

The Equality Act: Bad Policy that Poses Great Harms
Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse

If passed, the Equality Act would empower the government to discriminate against those who do not accept a sexually permissive understanding of human nature that denies sexual complementarity.

What are the Alternatives to the Biblical View of Freedom?
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Throughout human history, people of all cultures have sought freedom. Some have emphasized inner spiritual or emotional freedom, and others freedom from external restraints, such as slavery or political freedom.

WheatonCollege_Vertical_2c_logoOver the past couple of years the Obama administration has made it clear that when religious freedom conflicts with their political agenda, religious believers are the ones that will have to set aside their conscientious objections. And to be honest, I suspected that would be what happened more often than not.

Sure, you’d have some brave holdouts, like the owners of Hobby Lobby and the dedicated nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor. But for the most part, I expected Christian organizations would find a way to defend a “principled compromise.” For instance, I assumed Christian colleges would be the first to cave on issues like the contraceptive-abortifacient mandate. After all, what are they going to do, stop providing health insurance for their students?

Well, yes, they will. At least that’s what Wheaton College has done:
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 A member of a Christian militia unit tries to persuade Kamala Karim Shaya, one of the last residents of Telskuf, to move to a secured home near their barracks. Credit Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times

A member of a Christian militia unit tries to persuade Kamala Karim Shaya, one of the last residents of Telskuf, to move to a secured home near their barracks. Credit Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times

With persecution of Christians there at an all time high, many have chosen to leave the Middle East. Christianity Today, reporting on the latest Pew Research report, says the number of Christians in the Middle East has dropped from 14 percent of the population to just 4 percent. That translates to less than half a million people in the Middle East who identify as Christians.

The problem turned from bad to worse with the rise of the Islamic State as it intensified the Muslim persecution of Christians and other minorities as part of its campaign of terror in the region, the report said.

Now, “Christianity is under an existential threat,” said Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the US House of Representatives and an advocate of Eastern Christians.

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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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How C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien responded to ‘environmental holocaust’
Joseph Loconte, CNN

In his controversial encyclical on climate change, Pope Francis delivered a scathing critique of environmental degradation and called for “an ecological conversion” among fellow Christians. A century earlier, however, another environmental debate prompted its own version of soul-searching among the faithful.

Climate encyclical is religious, not political, document
John Malrett, Des Moines Register

Referring to the encyclical on climate change, Leonard Pitts (“Pope Should Stick To Religion?” July 22) focuses on what he calls Pope Francis’ “bare-knuckles critique of the excesses of capitalism,” ignoring the excesses of politics, ecology, science, technology and relativism which the pope also addresses. It should be obvious to Pitts when Pope Francis writes, “On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views,” this is not a political document requiring specific solutions to specific problems.

Climate Change And The Impact Of Laudato Si
ValueWalk

Last week, the Vatican held a meeting of the mayors of some of the world’s largest cities to discuss climate change. This meeting was part of Pope Francis’s efforts to add to the discussion of climate change, which was the subject of a recent encyclical, Laudato Si. In this report, we will begin with our position on climate change, discuss the encyclical and try to measure its potential impact on the direction of climate change policy. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

Interfaith leaders support papal encyclical on environment
Oliver Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal

Catholics, Protestants and Muslims joined Tuesday in support of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and signed a letter calling on New Mexico civic leaders to address climate change, environmental degradation and poverty. The letter – signed by 92 clergy and lay members – calls for New Mexicans to support a scathing communique from Pope Francis in June, in which he warned that the planet is “beginning to look like an immense pile of filth,” and drew a connection between climate, pollution and poverty.

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failureIn 2002, fewer than one in four Americans were dissatisfied with the nation’s system of government and how well it works. Since then that level of discontent has been steadily increasing. Last year the number who said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied reached 65 percent.

The primary reason for our disgruntlement is the government’s record of failure. As Peter Schuck explained in his recent book Why Government Fails So Often, ‘government failure’ is neither a political creed nor a reactionary slogan—it’s an empirical fact.

In a recent analysis paper, Chris Edwards lists five reasons why failure of the federal government is endemic:
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