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.
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.
Rev. Mark H. Creech, a Christian Post columnist, has an excellent piece on the game that state’s play depicting participation in state run lotteries as the moral and praiseworthy course of action. To see some of my thoughts on government-sponsored gambling, go here and here.
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.”
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: