Archived Posts September 2005 » Page 2 of 5 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcouretas
posted by on Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna and Austria, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the European Union, is once again urging a Roman Catholic-Orthodox alliance to combat secularism, liberalism and relativism in Europe — and lands outside it. “The social and ethical teachings of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are extremely close, in many cases practically identical,” Bishop Hilarion said. “Why, then, should we not be able to reveal our unity on all these major issues urbi et orbi?”

Since the election of Pope Benedict XVI, we’ve seen a renewed energy in Catholic-Orthodox relations. One of the late Pope John Paul II’s fervent hopes was for the First Millenium church to once again breathe “with two lungs.” News reports indicate that Benedict, who has expressed a need to heal the split, may visit Istanbul next year and meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In his call for greater cooperation, Bishop Hilarion did not gloss over the problems that separate the two churches. From the Orthodox point of view, one of the chief stumbling blocks to reconciliation is Uniatism, or Roman Catholic proselytizing in historical Orthodox lands such as Russia and the Ukraine. These tensions still surface today. Roman Catholics, on the other hand, say they have every right to expand into communities where their faithful live.

The conflict over Uniatism won’t be solved anytime soon. But Bishop Hilarion is rightly looking to those issues where Catholics and Orthodox can make common cause. Imagine what future generations will make of us if, while waging an internecine turf battle, the secularists eventually have their way.

As Bishop Hilarion points out, the clock is running:

Today, as never before, we need a united Christian voice in Europe which is rapidly secularized and dechristianized. It is not a Unia that we need, nor a second Council of Ferrara-Florence. We need a strategic alliance, and we need it hic et nunc. In twenty, thirty or forty years it may simply be too late. The ultimate goal of visible unity must not disappear from our horizon, but we should not hope for its speedy achievement. On the other hand, nothing should prevent us from uniting our efforts in order to defend Christian tradition, without waiting for the restoration of full unity between the two lungs of European Christianity.

After receiving some responses to a previous post (CAFTA/Culture of Life: Enemies?), I thought I would post the the exchange with my most recent dissatisfied critic. Here’s to volleying! (I have edited the emails for confidentiality.) (more…)

Following up on my blog from last Friday: Laura Bush mentioned Strake Jesuit Prep in her remarks last night to the annual Boehner-Kennedy Dinner, which raises money for DC Catholic schools. Here’s an excerpt:

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Catholic-school teachers and principals can be proud of their students, who are living the values that they’ve been taught …

At Strake Jesuit High School in Houston, the administration initially planned on welcoming 50 students from Jesuit High School in New Orleans. Now Strake is hosting more than 400 New Orleans students.

With Hurricane Rita bearing down on Houston, Strake may need assistance in turn.

Blog author: abradley
posted by on Thursday, September 22, 2005

George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949, long before the PC came along. Tiny cameras were not available and Big Brother typically had to be physically watching you (either in person or from a stationary camera) to catch you at a crime (the book was political of course, and not technological). Either way, Big Brother always was watching you. Now we have PCs, the Internet, tiny cameras everywhere and available to all. And of course, Big Brother wants to see everything.

Although I hate writing about how the modern world reflects more and more what we see described in Orwell’s novel (Wikipedia suggests that “Orwell is reported to have said that the book described what he saw as the actual situation in the United Kingdom in 1948″), it seems fitting to remind people of the dangers of allowing too much access to information. PC PRO published a news item today talking about some ideas the European Commission has:

The European Commission has accepted proposals to log details of all telephone, email and Internet traffic in an attempt to combat terrorism and serious crime.

The proposals, which are designed to harmonise data retention practices across the EU, will need the backing of all 25 member states. However some states believe they have been watered down in response to pressure from telecommunications firms and civil rights groups.

If these proposals are the watered down version, I shudder to think what the original proposals might have been! Just wait for the proposals to flow when we all have RFID tags “to make purchasing goods at the grocercy store easier” surgically inserted at birth.

Blog author: jspalink
posted by on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jennifer Roback Morse, senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute, examines the response to Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of Alexis de Tocqueville. Americans, de Tocqueville observed, tend not to wait around for the government to give them guidance on how to run their lives and communities. Says Roback Morse: “Meanwhile, our French friends, I mean our Louisiana politicians, are still standing there with their arms folded, tapping their feet and waiting for federal funds to rebuild the city.”

Read the full commentary here.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Bible has a lot to say about what it means to be a “neighbor.” School officials in Fulton County, Ga., may have finally begun to come to some understanding of this concept.

Until earlier this week, county officials had threatened to use the power of eminent domain to force the private Jewish Weber School to sell a 19-acre lot so that a new public elementary school could be built. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “When Weber officials said they had no desire to sell the site, Fulton indicated in a strongly worded letter that unless Weber agreed by Monday to sell the property, the school board would use eminent domain to obtain it.”

When the Monday deadline approached, and Weber School refused to capitulate, the county officials did an about-face: “On Monday, Fulton Schools Superintendent James Wilson told Weber board president Steve Berman in writing and by phone that the district would no longer pursue the Weber property and that he regretted the misunderstanding.”

“It is in our interest to be a good neighbor,” he said.

What’s a good first step to being a good neighbor? “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17 NIV)

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Nigerian priest shot dead at checkpoint for ‘refusing to pay bribe’

Port Harcourt (ENI). The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) says that the Rev. Emmanuel Akpan was shot dead at a checkpoint manned by both police and army members for refusing to pay them a bribe. “Rev. Akpan was returning from Aba town when he was killed by police and military personnel at the checking point, over his refusal to give them bribe,” said the Rev. Bayo Odukoya in issuing a statement on behalf of the Niger Delta diocese of the Anglican Church.

Interesting survey finding highlighted on the Heritage Foundation’s web site:

Compared with peers who expressed a great deal of confidence in the federal government, those who reported having “hardly any confidence” in the federal government were 20 percentage points more likely to volunteer for a charity.

Blog author: mvandermaas
posted by on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rich Lowry:

It is the other flood: The outpouring of concern for the poor of New Orleans. According to nearly every journalist in America, our consciousness has been raised about the invisible scourge of poverty in this country, and nothing is too much to ask when addressing the plight of the disadvantaged evacuees of New Orleans. They should get every form of aid possible — except, that is, assistance that might help give them more control over their lives.

Acton Institute’s Center for Effective Compassion is offering an intensive one-day event in Ft. Myers, Fla., on Oct 28, where nonprofits and community leaders will get practical, how-to skills to help them increase the “return on investment” for charity programs. Foundation grantees, grassroots community and faith-based service providers, students and volunteers won’t want to miss this event. Read more about the event here.

Key speakers include Rev. John Nunes, pastor of Dallas-based St. Paul’s Lutheran Church; Carol McLaughlin, chief programs officer at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation; Craig Folk, a partner with the Fort Myers accounting firm Miller, Helms & Folk, and Karen Woods, executive director at Acton’s Center for Effective Compassion. The event press release is available here.