According to yesterday’s Independent, “In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals.”
Those of you who are familiar with the Journal of Markets & Morality, the peer-reviewed academic publication of the Acton Institute, may have noticed the transition of the journal over the last year to restricted subscriber-only access to current issues. The decision to restrict access with a “moving wall” of the two most recent issues was made following a study I did, in my capacity as associate editor of the journal, about the current landscape of scholarly publishing.
This study appears in the most recent issue of the Journal of Scholarly Publishing, “Scholarship at the Crossroads: The Journal of Markets & Morality Case Study.” JSP has been generous enough to post the text of the article online.
You can receive immediate access to the current issues of the journal, including a controversy by Derek S. Jeffreys and Robert P. Kraynak over the influence of Kant on Christian theology and the English text of the Genovese Sermon by Albertanus of Brescia, by becoming a subscriber to the Journal of Markets & Morality. Archived issues of the journal remain freely accessible.
Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, who is head of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions, has offered some very encouraging words on the prospect for improving relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches — a relationship that must be revisited with a sense of urgency. In a commentary titled Habemus Papam!, Hilarion looked forward to a “breakthrough” in relations between Rome and Moscow, and called for a meeting between Benedict XVI and Alexy II, patriarch of the Russian Church. Noting the considerable issues that divide the churches, Hilarion described these as far less important than a combined witness to a rapidly secularizing Europe. “I strongly believe that the time has come for Catholics and Orthodox to unite their efforts and to defend traditional Christianity, which is being attacked from all sides,” he said. “In twenty, thirty or forty years it may simply be too late.”
In a special edition of Acton Commentary from Rome, Rev. Robert Sirico writes that “insofar as the new papacy has implications for economics and politics, it is in the direction of a humane and unifying liberalism. I speak not of liberalism as we know it now, which is bound up with state management and democratic relativism, but liberalism of an older variety that placed it hopes in society, faith, and freedom.”
Notre Dame Professor John O’Callaghan offers salutary advice: to get a sense of the new pope, we should actually read what he has written (which is a lot) rather than rely on media reports. It’s part of an insightful piece posted yesterday at the Center for Ethics and Culture blog. Long, but worth the read.
For resources about and Earth Day, including some information about the relationship between Christians and environmental stewardship, visit the Earth Day Information Center at the National Center for Public Policy Research.
And don’t forget to check out this week’s commentary on Earth Day by Dr. Sam Gregg, “God, Man, and the Environment.”
You can also listen to a statement by Rev. Gerald Zandstra about the recent emphasis on environmental issues by the National Association of Evangelicals (RealAudio).
Melanchthon, commentating on Romans 13:5 and following:
“let us learn that in those who believe in Christ, the works of political and economical life are good works and acts of worship of God, not merely secular works, because society must be preserved in order that God may become known in it. This purpose is not a worldly matter, since all activities of the political life are aimed at this purpose: God wanted them to be exercises of confession, and on account of this purpose he imposed them on us.”
Philip Melanchthon, Commentary on Romans, 1540
If you follow the current controversy surrounding the role of religion in American society, you might conclude that the country faces but two options: throwback theocracy or take-no-prisoners secularism. The following lines sum up an admirably clear and concise understanding of faith and politics:
The state is not the whole of human existence and does not embrace the whole of human hope. Men and women and their hopes extend beyond the thing that is the state and beyond the sphere of political activity. This does not only apply to a state that is Babylon but to any and every state. The state is not the totality: that takes the load off the politician’s shoulders and at the same time opens up for him or her the path of rational politics.
For man, the political animal, these may be hard words. For man made in the image and likeness of God, these words recognize the commands made on us that find their source in ultimate truths. The author of the lines quoted above had more to say on the subject of faith and politics. Read a homily written by Pope Benedict XVI delivered in 1981 in Bonn, Germany, at a service for Catholic members of the Bundestag in the church of St. Wynfrith (Boniface).