When asked about the legacy of Pope John Paul II, Prof. Gregory R. Beabout responds “that the life and legacy of John Paul II is best understood in light of the history and culture of Poland.” The important distinctions between nation and state, culture and government, were operative both in Polish history as well as in the life of Karol Wojtyla.
Saul Bellow died last week at the age of 89. He wrote the novel that was most influential and deeply important in my life, Henderson the Rain King. In this book, Bellow engages the hollow atheism at the heart of the modern secular world. Beginning as a larger-than-life American millionaire in a society bereft of meaning, Eugene Henderson embarks on a spiritual journey to find purpose in his life. After many misadventures, Henderson finally arrives at a point where he “awaits the day of His coming,” and realizes that “there is nothing that runs unmingled” with the love of Creation.
This book is representative of Saul Bellow’s broader perspective: “I think a person finally emerges from all this nonsense when he becomes aware that his life has a much larger meaning he has been ignoring – a transcendent meaning. And that this life is, at its most serious, some kind of religious enterprise, not one that has to do with the hurly-burly of existence.”
Matthew 19:23-26 (New International Version)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Here’s the exchange:
MATTHEWS: I mean, Charlie, Jesus didn’t hang around with the swells, the rich people.
RANGEL: Well, he said the rich are going straight to hell.
MATTHEWS: Well, he did not.
MATTHEWS: He said it is harder to get through a needle’s…
RANGEL: No. But the deal with St. Matthews and all these people are trying to get into heaven. And he said, hey, when I was hungry, you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty. I was naked. I was sick. You didn’t do all these—he’s talking about food stamps, Social Security.
RANGEL: He’s talking about taking care of those who haven’t got. So, when it comes to moral value, my Republican friends can decide which side the pope was on.
What follows below is a narrative by Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Acton Institute’s Rome office (Istituto Acton):
“My journey to the Catholic Church began in a very simple way, tried and tested over the centuries in just about every country of the world: Catholic schools. Like my non-Catholic parents in India, I was educated by priests, nuns and laypeople, first at St. Mary’s Queen of Angels in Swartz Creek, Michigan, then on to Luke M. Powers Catholic High School in Flint. The first of these was especially instrumental, as it was there that l learned the basics of the faith, through religion classes, the daily practice of the faith, and the Mass.
There is one week to go to enter the 2005 Homiletics Award. Seminarians and graduate students in degree programs preparing them for preaching and teaching ministries are eligible. All entries must be postmarked by April 18. This year’s topic is “The Warning to Rich Oppressors” from James 5:1-6. More details here.
There are some problems in parts of the charity sector. The problems are with charities that HAVE enough money to scam somebody or shift an inappropriate perk to a board member. There’s not much talk about the charities that never saw that kind of resource and never will. Government officials always think that more regulation is the answer, but it’s scary when the private sector supports that link. Six of America’s major foundations have financed Electronic Data for Nonprofits (EDIN) within the Independent Sector, advocating accurate and timely charity reports. And IRS forms are appropriate financial reporting tools, even for smaller charities. But financial reporting is not the “litmus test” of program information, as the EDIN project advocates. Good charity is more than money.
It’s not the appropriate role of government to even infer legitimate charity donations. The legitimate function of IRS forms is financial transparency of organizations that operate as Exempt Organizations. To think that the IRS is “needed” for anything beyond that role demeans donors. Private financial sources such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar already give donors significant financial information beyond IRS forms. Donors are asking good questions through groups like Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Center for Effective Philanthropy. They might be fooled by bad charities–big or small–for a time. But charity donors using market principles that made their money will fare better than the charity donors that abdicate to more government regulation.
This exchange came yesterday via NPR’s Morning Edition, as Renພ Montagne interviewed Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles…
RENಞ MONTAGNE: Interesting, because of course, the notion of the vibrancy of the Church in the Southern Hemisphere. Just as an example, you were in Africa, what did you hear that mattered to them that might even surprise Americans?
CARDINAL MAHONY: Well, that their concerns are the impact of globalization, for example. International corporations headquartered in the United States purchase enormous billions of dollars worth of goods from basically slave markets. Their concern is how are we ever going to improve the standard of living if these multinational corporations are able to pay people a dollar a day or a dollar a week in order to produce goods that sell for huge amounts in the United States and other places. So they see the whole development of their countries based on a greater equality among nations.
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is moved to the Flossenbürg concentration camp. During the night there is a summary court-martial, and on April 9, 1945, Bonhoeffer is executed.
Rev. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, will join The Laura Ingraham Show tomorrow beginning at 9:30 am EDT to discuss events from the Vatican. Follow the link here for a live broadcast of Laura’s show via Cleveland’s 1420 WHK Radio. Check local listings in your area for other broadcasts of the show.
UPDATE: The interview is available for download here.
You can also keep up with media appearances by Acton staff by checking the John Paul II press archives. Recent appearances include Kishore Jayabalan, director of the insitute’s Rome office, on The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly and The Frank Beckmann Show on Detroit-based WJR-AM.