Tuesday, April 27, 2010

American Censorship

Comedy Central has decided to censor Muhammed, and all mentions of him, from an episode of South Park. This decision is notable for several reasons, not the least of which because Comedy Central would never censor anything else. (Amazingly, the writers of South Park were careful not to actually depict Muhammed at all to begin with- he was always covered up by a truck or a bear costume).

There's a great op-ed that was published in Sunday's New York Times about the implications of this troubling decision. The article ends up being a critique of American culture, and shows how this censure is actually a small indication of a culture in decline.

With God utterly absent from American public life, moral relativism has given rise to a crass, nihilistic free-for-all completely void of Christian morality. America is no longer confident in itself, as American culture is more than happy to mock its history, its past, and its traditions. Just look how de rigueur it is to mock Tea
Partiers and other uneducated hicks who haven't yet figured out that it's not cool to be proud of America.

Not able to stand up for itself, the once proud, free people of America begin to cower in the face of a resurgent Islam.

As Douthat puts it:

"In ours, though, even Parker’s and Stone’s wildest outrages often just blur into the scenery. In a country where the latest hit movie, “Kick-Ass,” features an 11-year-old girl spitting obscenities and gutting bad guys while dressed in pedophile-bait outfits, there isn’t much room for real transgression. Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.

"Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.

"This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.

You can read the whole article here

America's Great Wall

Most American citizens are unaware that the works of foreign writers available in English are gradually declining and, as a result, the United States and UK are slowly isolating themselves by failing to provide access to the great works available in other languages. This is problematic as it prevents local scholars from engaging in a dialogue with writers from other regions of the world (or so argues the Nobel committee head). The latest Foreign Policy labels this closed-reality A New Great Wall: Why The Crisis in Translation Matters.

Leon Wieseltier offers a review of Philip Roth’s The Humbling that illustrates how this is a problem for American literature and culture. One way to eliminate mystery is to presume that we know everything.

Hauerwas on the end of American Protestantism

Stanley Hauerwas offers an essay examining the end of American Protestantism.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pontifical Council for New Evangelization

An article by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter dated Sunday April 25 reports that Pope Benedict XVI will soon announce the creation of a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization to be headed by Archbishop Fisichella. This council witnesses to the close connection between Pope Benedict and the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation, which has been a profound influence on the Holy Father for many years now. Here is Allen's article "Report: Pope to launch 'Pontifical Council for New Evangelization'". Also, if you can read Italian, below is the link to the newspaper Il Giornale cited by Allen as his source of information for this news.
Andrea Tornielli, "Benedetto XVI crea un nuovo ministero per Fisichella"
(Benedict XVI creates a new council for Fisichella)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick Reference Page to Articles on Sex Abuse Controversy

LifeSiteNews has compiled a list of news reports dealing with the sex abuse controversy. As the disclaimer says, these articles represent a vast array of opinions and range from exceptional journalism to unethical reporting. You can access brief excerpts of each article at this page.

Read also a letter by Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, to the editor of Italian newspaper La Repubblica. It is titled "Let Us Return Wounded, to Christ."

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to spot GMO fruit and vegetables

Did you know that the labels on fruits and vegetables can tell you whether the produce is genetically modified or not? I had no idea, so for those of you who like me, did not know, here is how to find out:

labels with four digit numbers (beginning with 3 or 4): denote conventionally grown produce (with pesticides and fertilizers)

labels with five digits beginning with 8: denote GMO, genetically modified produce

labels with five digits beginnin with 9: denotes organic produce

Unveiling the lies of the New York Times

"Vaticanist" journalist Sandro Magister, from the Italian weekly magazine L'Espresso, wrote this very good piece on the current attacks against Pope Benedict and the lies behind the New York Times. Read "Decoding Accusations Against Pope Benedict" from the website of Our Sunday Visitor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Suffer Is a Grace

The Church is under attack in the Western world as a liberal, secular worldview attempts to remove legitimacy from the idea of truth. As a follower of Christ, the Church will suffer the same rejection Jesus endured and we must remember that this suffering is a grace, however difficult this may be. This trial will lead to a new fruitfulness where the Church will be purified and become a stronger missionary presence that will attract new people to Christ. The media attacks against the Holy Father should prepare us for the coming attacks against the Church.

We do not stand alone in this struggle. There are other voices who see what is at stake in this cultural assault. There is a beautiful article offered in Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology which offers a defense of the pope and examines the origin of this attack.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Precedent for Managed Anti-Catholic News

In our current trial, it is helpful to remember that the BBC and NYT have managed anti-pope hatred in the recent past. When these leading media sources publish articles, other news organizations pick-up the story and the news is reported throughout the country and world as though it were credible while no one checks the original evidence. The fake stories launched in 2006 generated such hatred against the Church that some women religious were murdered as a result.