Archived Posts 2013 - Page 43 of 167 | Acton PowerBlog

pope-francis-featureKishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, has issued his October letter. In it, he discusses the idea of Pope Francis as a “liberal,” especially in light of the pope’s recent interview in America magazine:

Much of the controversy over the Pope’s interview reminds me of several Gospel passages, where Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for healing people on the Sabbath, dining with sinners, not condemning the adulteress, and so on, and especially of the parable of the prodigal son and the elder brother who’s upset that his father never threw a feast for him. In all these cases, Jesus emphasizes mercy over justice in order to draw us closer to Him instead of remaining attached to our prideful selves. God’s justice would rightly condemn us all, while His mercy offers us a chance at salvation if we’re humble enough to seek it. But in no way does Jesus say that justice is useless or unnecessary.

Read more here.

Challenging the Modern World: Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and the Development of Catholic Social Teaching

Challenging the Modern World: Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and the Development of Catholic Social Teaching

Samuel Gregg provides an insightful, cogent, and thorough analysis of the issues surrounding developments in Catholic social teaching during the pontificate of John Paul II.

This is a guest post by Michael Hendrix, following up on his previous post on the economic challenges of millennials, and my own post on the deeper vocational questions that persist for Christians. Michael serves as the director for emerging issues and research at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews and a Texas native.

By Michael Hendrix

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Twenty years from now, we will see an America where merit and reward are intertwined more than ever before. As I’ve written recently, those who win the future will significantly outpace their peers, leaving the rest to fight over the scraps until organizational innovations and human capital catches up once again.

If true, such a reality must be reckoned with. So what about those left behind? What will their futures look like? With decreases in gainful employment and the increasing disconnect between vocational aspirations and actual occupations, what other risks persist — economic, social, spiritual, and otherwise? Assuming we are not comfortable with such a future, what should we do about it?
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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
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The Cultural Revolution on the College Campus—Why it Matters to You
Albert Mohler

Since the cultural revolution culminating in the 1970s, the left has run nearly all of the nation’s most influential, prestigious universities.

Pope calls for less “Vatican-centric,” more socially conscious church
Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service

In his latest wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis said that he aimed to make the Catholic Church less “Vatican-centric” and closer to the “people of God,” as well as more socially conscious and open to modern culture.

When Bergoglio Defeated the Liberation Theologians
Sandro Magister, Chiesa Espress

A bishop who was a direct witness of the conflict recalls its unfolding and what was at stake. If Francis was later elected pope, he owes this in part to what happened in 2007 at Aparecida.

Broken Families, Broken Economy
Tyler Castle, Values & Capitalism

Massive changes in U.S. family structure over the last 50 years may be America’s biggest problem—and yet, no one is willing to talk about it.

Blog author: cself
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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DignitySolving our intractable domestic and foreign policy crises will require much more that political compromise and diplomatic maneuvering. Our overextended federal systems and diminished influence abroad are signals of deeper issues. Conservatives press for reduced government and increased personal  responsibility. Liberal/Progressive voices argue for better distribution of wealth that creates a just society. Conservatives are troubled by social elites proffering new moral standards even as they advocate for more government involvement in family and personal life in all non-sexual arenas. Liberal/Progressive leaders focus on structural changes that will even the economic playing field and open doors for historical underclasses to improve their situations.

Both groups have valid concerns. Both are concerned about government intrusion – but intrusion for one is justice for the other. When conservatives protest public school curricula, they are deemed intolerant, impervious to the needs of kids and out of touch with 21st century realities. When liberals are criticized for wasteful public spending and a lack of accountability, their response is to demand more money and label opponents “extremists” or (gasp!) part of the Tea Party. When conservatives are critiqued for a lack of social concern, they often resort to “family values speak” without mentioning the brokenness of families and communities. In foreign affairs, conservatives argue for national self-interest and realpolitik while liberals argue for human rights (while strangely ignoring the persecution of millions of Christians by Islamic regimes).
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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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“They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victors belong the spoils of the enemy,” said William L. Marcy in 1832. Macy was explaining why victorious political parties claim they deserve government jobs, but today his claim could be applied to a broader swath of American society. As Robert J. Samuelson says, “We are, I fear, slowly moving from ‘the affluent society’ toward a ‘spoils society.’”

There are two ways to become richer. One is to provide more goods and services; that’s economic growth. The other is to snatch someone else’s wealth or income; that’s the spoils society. In a spoils society, economic success increasingly depends on who wins countless distributional contests — not who creates wealth but who controls it. This can be contentious. Winners celebrate; losers fume.

Of course, the two systems have long coexisted — and always will. All modern societies chase growth; all redistribute income and wealth. Some shuffling is visible and popular. Until now, that’s been the case with America’s largest transfer, which is from workers to retirees through Social Security and Medicare. In 2012, this exceeded $1 trillion. Still, for the nation, the relevant question is whether productive behavior (generating economic growth) is losing ground to predatory behavior (grabbing existing wealth and income). There are good reasons to think it is.

Read more . . .

The Center For Inquiry has a new billboard up here in Grand Rapids, MI, touting happiness without religious belief. On one of their websites, they explain, “It’s really quite simple,” that is, being human is good and wondrous and we live in an amazing time and place. A video outlines their thoughts:

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abrahamkuyper1One of the great misconceptions about Christian higher education is that Christian colleges are places where Christian young adults go to withdraw from “the world.” A closer look at some historical roots of Christian colleges prove otherwise. For example, in the work of Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), a Dutch pastor, theologian, politician, journalist, and statesman, we see that Christian colleges are not places of withdrawal but education centers of preparation for a life of living in a pluralistic world — a world with more similarities to Daniel’s Babylon than Europe’s 16th-century Christendom.

In the book Wisdom and Wonder Kuyper offers perspective to help Christians understand that a university education that presupposes and integrates the Triune God across the curriculum can solidly develop the Christian minds of young adults. Kuyper believes that if it is true that “the wisdom of this world is folly with God” (1 Cor 3:19), then divorcing higher education from the knowledge of God will produce knowledge that is likely to appear as foolishness to God. Christians, then, in ways consistent with honoring God, need to create additional educational opportunities so that Christians do not abandon higher education and retreat to the asceticism of church life: Christians should be trained properly for participation in public life. This is one of the many reasons Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches have invested so much institutional capital in maintaining colleges and universities. Kuyper explains:
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Professor Oliver O'Donovan

Professor Oliver O’Donovan

We are pleased to announce that Christian’s Library Press will be co-sponsoring a special event in the D.C. area on October 8th, “The Gospel and Public Life: Cultivating a Faithful Witness in the Face of Challenge.”

Ken Myers, host of Mars Hill Audio Journal, will host a dialogue between Britain’s pre-eminent political theologian Professor Oliver O’Donovan and Mere Orthodoxy‘s Matthew Lee Anderson.

From the event flyer:

Much has been made of America’s slow transition toward a “post-Christian society.” But how should Christians prepare for the challenges ahead? What are the forgotten virtues and hidden practices that need recovering for an authentically Christian witness? How can Christians cultivate a courage and wisdom that has been in short supply?

The conversation will take place at 7:00 p.m. on October 8th at The United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC  20002. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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Papal Teaching Warns Against Excessive Government
Stephen M. Krason, Crisis Magazine

While Catholic social teaching holds that the securing of the common good is a main task of the state, it nowhere says that this means that legislation or enacting a new public policy or program is the singular way to do this.

Entrepreneurship Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy
Dan Martell, Free Enterprise

“The fact that people think risk is a problem, or a flaw, is the problem,” wrote Pallotta. “Risk is an essential attribute of introducing an innovation to the world. It’s not a flaw.”

The Religious Alternative To Obamacare’s Individual Mandate
NPR

While the federal health law includes an exemption for health sharing ministries, some states have sued to try to keep them out.

How Does the Market Work?
Brian Baugus, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Have you ever called the manager of your grocery store? Ever sent him or her an e-mail? Can you imagine having to do so every time you planned to go shopping, just to make sure the store stocked the goods you needed?

Earlier this month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a lecture at the Lanier Theological Library, in which he explored the values of capitalism and socialism and their relative consistency with Christianity and the common good. While not asserting that either system is inherently “more Christian,” he does comment on the extent to which Christian principles are able to participate in each. He states:

While I would not argue that capitalism as an economic system is inherently more Christian than socialism … it does seem to me that capitalism is more dependent on Christianity than socialism is. For in order for capitalism to work – in order for it to produce a good and a stable society – the traditional Christian virtues are essential.

Additional quotes from the lecture are featured in a Houston Chronicle article by Cindy George, which was listed as a PowerLink on the Acton Blog a few weeks ago.

See the complete video of Justice Scalia’s lecture below.