Archived Posts March 2013 - Page 7 of 16 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why the Size of Government Matters
Michael Tanner, National Review Online

Leviathan costs too much, sure, but its attack on freedom is the real problem.

The Obama Justice Department’s Disastrous Course on Religious Liberties
Ammon Simon, Patheos

From targeting churches and their hiring practices, to attacking pro-lifers and attempting to marginalize certain societal institutions from the public arena, the DOJ has used the full force of its national enforcement power to implement a far-reaching, government-centric agenda.

How to Help Without Hurting
Tyler Castle, Values & Capitalism

Have you ever delivered turkeys to low-income households before Thanksgiving? I have. Did you know that such acts usually do more harm than good? I didn’t, until now.

How Should Christians Think About Income?
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

As Christians living in the modern western world, it is easy to be concerned and confused about living in such affluence.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In 1936, near the end of the Great Depression, Children International launched one of the earliest child sponsorship charities. Today, child sponsorship is one of the most significant forms of foreign aid. It’s estimated that there are over 8 million internationally sponsored children in the world. With the average monthly sponsorship level set at about $30 (not including other gifts sent to sponsored children), the flow of resources from wealthy countries to poor countries from international child sponsorships is about $3.2 billion per year.

child-sponsorshipDespite the substantial amounts of money being funneled through these charities, few empirical studies have been conducted to gauge their effectiveness. But a new peer-reviewed, independent study on the viability of international child sponsorship led by Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, reveals “large and statistically significant impacts on life outcomes for children enrolled in Compassion International’s Christian child sponsorship program.”

Some of the key findings from the study include:
(more…)

Blog author: sstanley
posted by on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Michael Severance, operations manager of the Istituto Acton in Rome, recently wrote an article for the World Catholic Report explaining why Pope Francis was a historic choice and examining  what we can expect from his papacy.

He points out that “this past week proved a historic week of firsts:”

We now have the first Jesuit pope. And the first pope named Francis. He is the first non-European pope since Gregory III, an eighth-century Syrian. And we now have the very first pope from the Americas.

We have also witnessed a pope who is shunning what some critics perceive as Vatican tinsel and niceties during these economic hard times.

Francis has refused to ride in the pope’s private car (preferring the shuttle bus) or to wear red shoes and a fur-lined cape, or mozzetta, opting for ordinary black shoes and a white cassock.

This is the first time in a very long while that we have listened to a pope who readily quips in public and frequently includes off-script interjections to prepared remarks—at his first Mass with his brother cardinals, then a second time during his first press conference with journalists on Saturday, then a third time during his Sunday sermon at the Vatican parish of St. Anne, and again only a few hours later at his noontime Angelus, when he preached from his apartment above St. Peter’s Square. Not even John Paul II was at such ease with humor and his own words so early on in his pontificate.

Since Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was somewhat unknown before he was elected Pope, Severance has compiled a brief profile of Pope Francis, focusing the pope as a pastor, thinker, and advocate for the poor. (more…)

Blog author: dpahman
posted by on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today at Ethika Politika, I critique David Bentley Hart’s recent (non-)response to the critics of his attack on natural law in public discourse last month, appearing in the most recent issue of First Things. My article, “Hart’s (Non-)Response to His Critics: Trying to Have It Both Ways?” is a response to Hart’s recent article, “Si Fueris Romae.”

While Hart’s most recent article may seem unrelated, it starts to sound remarkably similar to his article on natural law from last month about half way through. It is this convergence between the two that I examine and critique.

Ultimately, Hart seems to be trying to “have it both ways” when it comes to natural law. I find this to be particularly evident from his conclusion, in which he criticizes US policy toward China, writing,

Decade upon decade, we hear of the arrest, imprisonment, torture, and murder of China’s religious minorities (house-church Christians, Tibetan Buddhist monks, and so on), of the cruel measures taken to enforce the nation’s one-child policy, and of countless other chronic atrocities, but our response consists in little more than a sporadic susurrus of disapproval, just loud enough to flatter ourselves that we have principles but not so loud as to allow those principles to interfere with fiscal or trade policy. We try to shame the ruling party with pious panegyrics on “human rights,” as though the concept had any appreciable weight outside the cultural context that makes it intelligible, but we buy and borrow from the party, and profit from its policies, without hesitation or embarrassment. I think the government of the PRC might be pardoned for concluding that our actions, and not our words, indicate where our true values lie.

While at Ethika Politika I critique his reliance upon the concept of natural rights even while claiming that only our “cultural context … makes it intelligible,” there is another point to consider here. Putting aside the inconsistency of his principles, would his recommendation — more restricted “fiscal or trade policy” — really have the effect that he hopes? (more…)

Francis_installationKishore Jayabalan, Director of Instituto Acton in Rome, joined host Michael Patrick Shiels on Michigan’s Big Show to discuss the mood in Rome on the day of Pope Francis’ Installation Mass. The theme of the day, according to Jayabalan, was one of “quiet, faithful, obedient service.” The Vatican estimates that between 150,000 and 200,000 people turned out for the event.

Listen to the full interview here:

The bureaucracy of the Roman Curia is nothing new. When Pope John XXIII was asked how many people worked at the Vatican, he replied, “About half.” A great chuckle, but an unfortunate truth.

The National Post’s Scott Barber shares the mess that Pope Francis is going to have to deal with:

A poisonous combination of corruption, incompetence and tradition could stifle Pope Francis’ ability to rid the Catholic Church of scandal, Vatican analysts say.

“This whole mess needs to be excavated like the site of a toxic contamination,” said Michael D’Antonio, author of Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal.

(more…)

Pope Francis has already made it clear that he has a heart and mind for the poor. We’ve seen images of him washing the feet of AIDS patients, stopping traffic to bless a severely handicapped man in St. Peter’s Square, and reminding us from the first moments of his papacy to remember the poor.

Beyond that, there is a certain population of the poor that Francis wants us to remember: those caught in human trafficking and slavery. The White House conservatively estimates that 20 million men, women and children are trafficked globally. According to Charled Reid, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Pope Francis’ home is an epicenter for slavery: (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Russian Church pins high hopes on Pope Francis
Pavel Korobov, Kommersant

“We see a big area here where we can work together with the Roman Catholic Church,” said Metropolitan Hilarion. “I hope this alliance between us will develop under the new pontiff.”

The Weight of Totalitarian Ideology
Peter Mentzel, Law and Liberty Blog

Twenty years have passed since the downfall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its satellites in Eastern and Central Europe.

Michigan Unions vs. Teachers
Jillian Kay Melchior, National Review Online

They’re obstructing a new right-to-work law.

Domino’s Pizza Founder Gets Contraceptive Mandate Blocked
Melissa Steffan, Christianity Today

Michigan judge decides Tom Monaghan likely to succeed on his religious freedom claim.

Blog author: sstanley
posted by on Monday, March 18, 2013

Last week, Acton president and co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, and operations manager of Istituto Acton, Michael Severance, were featured on Reuters TV discussing Pope Francis’ humility and frugality.

The Blaze TV will be featuring the Rev. Robert Sirico and Rabbi Daniel Lapin on Wednesday, March 20. The hour-long program will focus on the election of Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.

Pope Francis has already made several statements regarding the Church’s relationship with the Jewish people, and the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni, plans to attend the papal inauguration. Carol Glatz, of The CatholicHerald UK, writes:

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Pope Francis’s election “a significant moment in the history of the Church” that will foster positive relations in the wake of “the transformational papacies of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI – pontiffs who launched historic reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people,” he said.

“There is much in his record that reassures us about the future,” Mr Foxman said, including “the new Pope’s sensitivity to the Jews”.

Visit The Blaze TV to learn more about program viewing opportunities.