What we oppose is “the Revolution,” by which we mean the political and social system embodied in the French Revolution… What we combat, on principle and without compromise, is the attempt to totally change how a person thinks and how he lives, to change his head and his heart, his home and his country—to create a state of affairs the very opposite of what has always been believed, cherished, and confessed, and so to lead us to a complete emancipation from the sovereign claims of Almighty God.
The French Revolution was the first and most brazen attempt of this kind. Thus, like Edmund Burke, we do not hesitate to focus our attack on this monstrous Revolution. To forestall any misunderstanding, I ask only of my readers, be they adherents or opponents, to bear in mind that the enduring power of an idea is different from its fleeting expression in that one event.
As an idea, the Revolution turns everything topsy-turvy, such that what was at the bottom rises to the top and what was at the very top now moves to the bottom. In this way it severs the ties that bind us to God and his Word, in order to subject both to human criticism. Once you undermine the family by replacing it with self-chosen (often sinful) relationships, once you embrace a whole new set of ideas, rearrange your notions of morality, allow your heart to follow a new direction—once you do this the Encyclopedists will be followed by the Jacobins, the theory by the practice, because “the new humanity” requires a new world. What the philosophers, whose guilt is greater, did to your minds and hearts with pen and compass and scalpel (and would like even more boldly to do to your children) will be carried out by the heroes of the barricades with dagger, torch, and crowbar. (more…)
In a comment last month on the proposed federal budget deal, Sen. Rand Paul quoted one of the foremost economic thinkers of the twentieth century. “There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations. It’s I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. I think it’s a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later,” Sen. Paul said.
“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” was a catchphrase made famous by J. Wellington Wimpy, a character in the comic strip Popeye. But it also describes, with slight modification, the attitude of Americans to funding government: “I’ll begrudgingly pay you in the future for services provided today.”
Several years ago economist Steve Landsburg made an astute observation about our nonsensical idea about tax relief:
It’s easy to read that headline and think, “Wha…?” What in the world do Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, Catholic Sisters and our present day health laws have to do with each other? I’m glad you asked.
More than 200 years ago, the Ursuline Sisters of France were fleeing the French Revolution and seeking a new home in New Orleans. They planned to open schools, hospitals and orphanages, but wanted to make sure that the U.S. government, now in control of New Orleans, would not meddle in their plans – separation of church and state, you see. They wrote to President Thomas Jefferson with their concerns; Jefferson’s response? (more…)
Bookstore owner priest forgives arsonists in Tripoli, Lebanon
Rayane Abou Jaoude and Antoine Amrieh, The Daily Star
A Greek Orthodox priest whose library was torched in Tripoli over the weekend said he had forgiven the arsonists, though many described the incident as an attempt to incite strife in the troubled city.
Theology, Anthropology, and Economics
Nathaniel Peters, Public Discourse
Every economic system is based upon an implicit vision of the human person. Maciej Zieba’s new book provides an introduction to Catholic social thought that examines the anthropologies of Catholicism, liberal democracy, and the free-market economy.
The Economics of Genesis
Phillip Cary, First Things
Good economics here means more than the proliferation of money and material goods; it means life prevails over death.
Help the Working Poor, but Share the Burden
N. Gregory Mankiw, New York Times
If, as a nation, we decide we want to do more to supplement the incomes of low-wage workers, that’s fine. But let’s do it openly, without artifice, and with broad participation.
Makoto Fujimura, in many ways, defies being labeled. He is an artist. He is an author. He is a speaker. But none of these completely capture who Fujimura is. Perhaps one way to understand Fujimura is to take a look at a commencement address he made at Biola University:
To ask “what do you want to make today?” is not an idealist’s escape from reality. To ask “what do you want to make today?” is a quiet resistance against the destructive fears dominating our world; refusing to submit to the inevitability of corruption in our ideologies… (more…)
“Each of us has a personal responsibility to heed the call to care for the poor,” says Jennifer A. Marshall. “The Bible doesn’t leave us room to make poverty someone else’s problem.”
Long before LBJ’s call to combat poverty, Christians heard a higher call to compassion for the poor. How to live out that biblical command in the context of 21st-century America is the challenge. And it’s one that thinkers such as Sherman, author of the book Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, have encouraged Christians to think about more deeply.
Good intentions, they argue, aren’t enough. Truly effective compassion means striving for human flourishing and seeking the conditions that make it possible. The good news is that the good news has equipped the church for the kind of relational restoration of individuals and communities that is so urgently needed for fighting poverty in America today.
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Effective compassion doesn’t settle for handouts; it strives for true human flourishing that goes beyond material need. Made in the image of God, human beings are by nature relational. Brian Fikkert, co-author of the book When Helping Hurts, suggests that four fundamental relationships are essential: right relationship with God, self, others, and the created world.
Seeking holistic thriving helps us keep the created dignity of those we serve at the heart of our efforts—while also keeping us in touch with our own needs in these spheres. In our pursuit of flourishing, we need to consider how appropriate roles for marriage and family, church, business, and government—not to mention personal responsibility—can help prevent and overcome poverty. Effective compassion draws on all these roles and calls for right relationships among them.
Today, Professor Helen Alvaré of George Mason University, testified before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice regarding taxpayer-funded abortions under Obamacare. Alvaré, who teaches family law, law and religion, and property law, states that Americans have never understood abortion as a “good,” and that abortion cannot be labeled health care. The video below is her testimony.