Rorate Caeli

First things first!

1. Brad Myers, a senior program officer for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Catholic Sisters Initiative, confirmed to CNA on Aug. 22 that the foundation board last week approved a three-year, $2.3 million grant to the Kansas City, Missouri-based National Catholic Reporter. (CNA)

2. "Conservative Catholic" author and former editor-in-chief of "First Things" magazine Joseph Bottum writes lengthy essay in defense of his conversion to the cause of "same-sex marriage" for Commonweal magazine: "Funding for this essay has been provided by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation."

3. "The Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church Charity and Social Service transferred $1,320,407 to the bank account of the Patriarchate of Antioch [i.e. the besieged Eastern Orthodox in Syria] in the beginning of August 2013." (Pravoslavie)


Michael Ortiz said...

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here..."

Kevin Tierney said...

Whenever you attempt a synthesis of religion with political ideology (as both NCR and the Commonweal article do) you end up with almost none of the former, and all of the latter.

Ioannes Martialis said...

For those who don't know, this is a scene from Casablanca where an official shuts down a place of gambling and receiving his winnings while shutting down the place.

Athelstane said...

Well played, NC. Well played.

I'm starting to think there may have been more than we thought behind First Things' ouster of Jody Bottum.

Michael Wood said...

Notwithstanding some very bold moves in its early years, First Things just doesn't have what it takes to make a meaningful impact on the public square in the long run. Granted its no-frills, heavy academic style froom a Judaeo-Christian viewpoint is a welcome relief from the everyday secular/commercial sound and fury. The magazine's style ensures the audience will be small and self-selecting, which is fine; they are writing for people who appreciate subtlety and who wish to discern the general from the specific. But here's the rub: The magazine is constantly trying to win over secular liberals -- who by definition carry the infection of mortally dangerous worldviews -- by effusively complimenting secularism's leading lights, and by softly insisting that First Things can be just as Ivy League as the secular elite when they set out to be. But what good is that? The secular left is not impressed by appeals to gentility. It will not win you a place in the public square, and certainly not a square of elites. If you find yourself *addressing* the secular elite moreso than you talk *about* them, you are not fully aware of the battle raging around you.

So instead of trying to impress your enemies, why not acknowledge and discuss the battle? You can establish a humanistic context for the secularist viewpoint and then illustrate secularism's interplay with that context, and bingo, you are painting with living colors. And if you are dispassionate, artful, and always ready to reach for vivid, excruciating simplicity when it's time for the reader to draw his own conclusions from your assemblage of facts and observations, then you leave the strongest impression.

The secular left is not interested in building a public square. The best we can do is call things what they are, and advertise why we believe as we do.

Presbyter said...

Mr. Wood's comments and reflections are, to my mind,insightful and accurate.
This is a long running temptation of the Catholic intellectual, as well as recent Popes.I well remember a converation I had with the late Father Richard Neuhaus on John Paul II's seeming reluctance to discipline doctrinal and moral "dissenters" and he mentioned that he thought that the Pope saw himself more as a "partner in dialogue" than as a disciplinarian. In this he was of a piece with John XXIII and Paul VI.
Now of course, two of the three are "beati" and soon to be canonized.
The recent interest in the feast of St. Pius X points out the radically different approach the Church had then to heresy and heterodoxy.
Ever since Vatican II the sense is "we have no enemies, only friends we haven't met yet."
History and experience over these last 50 years is providing an indication that the 'novus habitus mentis" beloved of Paul VI (amazingly not even a "beatus" yet) has not exactly worked out.

Samuel J. Howard said...

The magazine is constantly trying to win over secular liberals -- who by definition carry the infection of mortally dangerous worldviews -- by effusively complimenting secularism's leading lights,

This comment makes it sound like you've never actually read the magazine.

Jody Bottum is no longer the editor of First Things, having been fired from that position. To weigh this volte-face against them makes no sense.

There are certainly things one could criticize them for, but this isn't one of them.

Charles said...

The list is a bit unclear. #1 is certainly interesting. #2 is welcome that he was removed as editor. #3 I don't know whether you mean this is good or bad -- are they trying to help the church in Syria (that's a good thing).

iowapapist said...

"Bottum"? "Same-sex marriage"? Can you say "easier than shootin' fish in a barrel?

Alexander adulescens said...

Apropos of 3.

In hoc cognoscent omnes quia discipuli mei estis si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem.

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.

Vide inquiunt ut invicem se diligant et ut pro alteruto mori sint parati.

"See" they [pagans] say "how they love one another and that they are prepared to die for each other."

- From Tertullian's Apologia.

All of that money came from collections from ordinary Russians for the purpose. To aid and confirm our brothers in Syria.

Bear in mind that the ruble is weaker than the American dollar. And as well that many of the places where money was freely given are far from affluent. People who have a fistful of bread before walking to work gave what they could with a smile.

While Protestants in much wealthier countries send nothing to Syria and "missionaries" to us. And while Catholics build "pastoral centres", wide-screen televisions for the walls of their churches and bookstores where you can buy von Balthasar's and Küng's works and other such things.

May the martyrs and suffering faithful in Syria have us in mind and pray for the Russian Church.

- adulescens

JM said...

Those who are faithful FT readers will find the caricatures here over-the-top. FT may be too much enthralled with dialog, but it is not a characterizing trademark. They are too forgiving on that score, yes, but hardly hyper-advocates. The key thing to note is that Bottum was let go. Fired. ALSO, FT ovr the last two years has made far more detailed and consistent arguments against Sam-Sex Marriage than has the Vatican itself.

John Gerardi said...

A note on the Henry Luce funding for Bottum's piece: Henry Luce foundation gives funding for Commonweal as a whole, and Commonweal states which articles' publishing cost were paid for with those monies. From what I understand Bottum didn't receive specific payment from the Luce foundation to right that specific article.

The fact that the Luce foundation funds Commonweal as a whole kinda makes them more sinister than if they were just funding Bottum's article, in my opinion.