Archived Posts December 2005 - Page 2 of 6 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Friday, December 23, 2005

Before we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this weekend, take a moment to look at some information about the state of Christianity in the Middle East, the area containing the Lord’s birthplace in Bethlehem. The BBC provides a country-by-country overview of Christians in the Mideast, as part of their ongoing series.

For example, in Iraq, the home of Christians since the 2nd century, “A rise in attacks on Christians since the US-led invasion in 2003 has prompted many to leave, although estimates that some 40,000 – 60,000 have left cannot be confirmed.” For more about how Middle Eastern Christians, who make up 70% of immigrations to the United States from that area, live in this country, check out this CT article, “Lost in America: Arab Christians in the U.S. have a rich heritage and a shaky future,” by Elesha Coffman.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Friday, December 23, 2005

O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–U.S. Book of Common Prayer, “Of the Incarnation,” (1979), p. 200

Blog author: mvandermaas
posted by on Thursday, December 22, 2005

Karen Woods, Director of Acton’s Center for Effective Compassion, reminds us to be wise as we engage in charity:

Good intentions are not enough. The most significant giving season of the year is no time to relent in our vigilance to avoid the unintended consequences of hurricane recovery (or in any other social need area either). From the smallest, personal kindness extended to an individual hurricane victim, to the most generous in-kind and cash donations of corporate America, due diligence remains important.

Read the full article at National Review Online.

Blog author: jcouretas
posted by on Thursday, December 22, 2005
Icon of the Nativity

From the Orthros service (Tone 4) which precedes the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox churches on December 25, the Nativity of Christ.

Come, ye believers, let us see where Christ was born. Let us follow the star whither it goeth with the Magi, kings of the east; for there angels praise him ceaselessly, and shepherds raise their voices in a worthy song of praise, saying, Glory in the highest to the One born today in a cave from the virgin Theotokos in Bethlehem of Judaea.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Why wonderest thou, O Mary; and why art thou astonished in thy inner self? And she respondeth, saying, Because I have given birth in time to a Son unbound by time; nor do I comprehend the manner of conception of him that is born. I have known no man; how then give I birth to a son? For who hath yet seen a birth without seed? But since God willeth, the order of nature is overcome, as it hath been written, Christ hath been born of the Virgin in Bethlehem of Judaea.

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

He that all containeth not, how was he contained in the womb? And he that is in the bosom of the Father, how shall he be carried in the arms of his Mother? Verily, all this hath been fulfilled as he himself knew and willed and was pleased to do; for he that is not carnal hath become incarnate by his own choice; and he that is hath turned for our sakes to that which he was not, sharing our creation, yet inseparable from his essence, Verily, Christ hath been born with two Natures, desiring to perfect the heavenly world.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Thursday, December 22, 2005

First Things has a new blog feature, On the Square: Observations & Contentions. The posts appear on the front page of the website, but there is an archive here and an RSS feed here.

HT: The Remedy

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

“Christians obtain grace from reflecting on the miracle of the Incarnation but they have given the event called Christmas as a glorious gift to the world,” Rev. Sirico writes. “This is why this holiday can be so secular and yet remain so sacred. There is a distinction between the two but not always a battle between the two.”

Read the full commentary here.

Blog author: kschmiesing
posted by on Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A while back I mentioned a new book coming out questioning conventional wisdom on the “brain drain” problem caused by emigration from developing nations. The book will not be out for a while yet, but the author, Michele Pistone, has a long post on Mirror of Justice describing her findings and how they relate to traditional moral concerns raised by Catholic social teaching.

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

The Acton Institute has placed three titles from the Lexington Books Studies in Ethics & Economics series, edited by Acton director of research Samuel Gregg.

The first is Within the Market Strife: American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II, by Acton research fellow Kevin Schmiesing. The reviews are here. Daddypundit says, “Schmiesing has made his book accessible to persons of all faiths regardless of their own background. He has meticulously researched his book and it shows in the quality of his writing.”

The second book is The Boundaries of Technique: Ordering Positive and Normative Concerns in Economic Research by Pepperdine professor Andrew Yuengert. The reviews are linked here. Wallo World “found it an intriguing book in many respects, and one which offered me yet another way of characterizing my personal perspectives on both how economics works (and “ought” to work) as well as the role of human society itself.”

The final book is Natural Law: The Foundation of an Orderly Economic System by Institute of World Politics professor Alberto M. Piedra. The reviews are accessible here. Sue Bob’s Diary says that the book “is one of the most educational and valuable books I have read.”

Remember: when you recieve a “free” service from the government, it’s not actually free. You’re paying for that service through your taxes. And when the government sets up a monopoly in an area like health care, it’s probably going to end up being more expensive and cheaper at the same time – more expensive because people are less likely to use a “free” service prudently, and cheaper because the overuse of the service will force officials to impose major restraints on the program in order to aviod complete financial disaster, thereby reducing the amount and quality of services available to consumers. Anthony Dick provides an overview of Canada’s situation today on National Review Online:

Canada’s universal-health-care system has long been a darling of the nanny-state Left. Its stated purpose, jealously touted by swooning cohorts of compassion from coast to coast, is to provide free and equal health care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

In practice, sadly, this high-minded endeavor has hit a few snags. The pesky fetters of reality have imposed stingy budget constraints on the enterprise, while the promise of free service for all has increased the demand for treatment. The Canadian government has thus struggled to treat more patients while spending as sparingly as possible on each of them, causing waiting lists to swell and the quality of care to sag. Not helping matters have been some medical professionals, who have fled the public system in search of better compensation. With shaking heads and sullen spirits, everyone involved agrees: It’s just not fair.

There is hope, however, thanks to the legal efforts of Jacques Chaoulli, a 53-year-old French Canadian physician. As they say, read the whole thing.

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

Fr. Philip De Vous, chaplain of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY and an adjunct scholar of public policy at the Acton Institute, writes of a recent trip to see operations of the Doe Run Company in Lima, Peru.

It seems that the Doe Run Company has been accosted by “criticism from certain journalists and certain sectors of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations” regarding its practice of business ethics.

What Fr. De Vous experienced in Peru, however, caused him to question the complaints against the company. “What I heard and saw was completely different from what I had read in various news stories or was told during two meetings with some of those critics,” he writes.