by Carl E. Olson | CWR blog
For every lengthy and (hopefully) in-depth blog post I write from time to time, there are countless posts I never get around to writing. In fact, I estimate that for every post I do end up writing, I read or skim through five or six dozen articles, essays, reviews, and such. The biggest challenge is simply time, but I also try to avoid simply posting something just to have "something up there". And then there are little stories or miscellaneous items that don't really warrant a full post, but might be of interest to some readers.
In years past, when blogging exclusively on Insight Scoop, I'd occasionally produce a round-up post, with several links, some with little or no commentary and a few with a bit more. That helped clear out the "in box", so to speak, and so I'm going to use the same approach once a week or so here on the CWR blog, under the title, "Carl's Cuts". The word "cuts" is used in a multi-facted way; I'll let you figure out the specific intentions as we move along here.
Some of these links have been around a few weeks. Perhaps you've already seen some of these stories. Whatever the case, they have made the cut for "Carl's Cuts".
• Educatiional Quote: "If you happen to be Catholic, you can expect to be treated as a curious and repellent heretic, unenlightened about the latest word in sexual politics." It works well as a general summary of the state of things in the West, but it is from a recent New Criterion article, "The case of Bowdoin College", about a $60,000-a-year liberal arts college in Maine that is the poster-college, if you will, for the legacy of the Sixties. Not for the faint of heart, but certainly important reading for the sturdy of mind and soul.
• Signs of the Apocalypse: Prospect Magazine recently conducted a most thoughtful poll: "After more than 10,000 votes from over 100 countries, the results of Prospect’s world thinkers 2013 poll are in. Online polls often throw up curious results, but this top 10 offers a snapshot of the intellectual trends that dominate our age." And the winner is: Richard Dawkins. That does not bode well for the theory of evolution. Among Dawkins' brilliant achievements, the article proffers, is the coining of the term "meme", as well as being "prolific on Twitter." If making up words and using social media are the main criteria for intellectual greatness, we can rejoice in knowing that millions of geniuses are currently in their teens and early adulthood all around the world. Really, what does it say that over half of the top 65 picks are economists, sociologists, political scientists, activists, statisticians, and investment strategists? Nothing very good—and let me statistically analyze the ways and whys.
• Russell Shaw argues that "Leo XIII’s critique [of Americanism] is more substantial than apologists for Americanism care to admit. Much of it, in fact, is pertinent to conditions in American Catholicism today." Indeed, most pertinent.
• Believe it or not, blogger and author Brandon Vogt recently launched a website, StrangeNotions.com, focused on addressing atheism and skepticism. One of my articles, "Did Paul Invent Christianity?" (originally published in This Rock magazine) is on the site. Here is a list of contributors to the site.
• Rev. Robert A. Gahl, Jr., an associate professor of ethics at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, has written an essay for The Washington Post that asks the question, "Can Pope Francis finish the job that Benedict began?" He writes that in the 1990s, "Ratzinger was leading the curial push to decisively deal with perpetrators who were still a threat because of some weak-minded administrators and their policy to move criminals first to treatment and then back into ministry." He also writes:
Ratzinger did not aim for a middle place between the competing interests of the victims and of the accused, but to ascertain the truth, reach a verdict, and impose a just penalty, all while doing everything possible to heal the victims and repair the damage done to the church and society. After noting my concern for judicial due process, he indicated his unshakeable commitment to do everything possible to root out abusive clergy, fully cognizant that he could be criticized by canon lawyers for eliminating traditional steps in ecclesiastical trials designed to protect the rights of the accused.
He concludes, "All signs point to a Pope Francis ready to keep cleaning the house of God." So far, it appears, so good.
• Do you live in the one of the "20 Most Well-Read Cities" in the United States? ...