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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tue. 05/10/05 07:22:13 AM

Readworthies IV

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.

"I Punched Saddam in the Mouth" by Chad Garrison @ Riverfront Times (ht):

In a south-city Saint Louis Bread Co., a young auto mechanic named Samir puts down his coffee long enough to carefully eye the other patrons. Assured no one is paying him any mind, he lowers his voice to a guttural whisper, fidgets with the zipper on his black tracksuit and rubs his grease-stained fingers along a finely manicured goatee. Then, in a syncopated rhythm of street slang and accented English, he transports himself back in time to a bitter-cold December night in Iraq.
It had to have been the most sublime moment of his life. Samir tells how he arrived in Tikrit as an Arabic interpreter for United States Special Forces in late 2003, how he peered into a hidden bunker and heard a voice begging for mercy, how he reached into the darkness and pulled out Saddam Hussein....

On Being Neither Liberal nor Conservative by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. @ Ignatius Insight (ht):

The division of the world into "liberal" and "conservative" on every topic from politics to our taste in cuisine, clothes, or automobiles is one of the really restricting developments that has ever happened to us. If we are not what is considered popularly a "liberal," then we must, by some convoluted logic, be a "conservative," or vice versa. No third or fourth option is available as is usually the case in the real world. It has to be, we are told, either this way or that.
Such a view makes things very simple, I suppose. But it also reduces our minds to utter fuzziness. We are required to define everything as either liberal or conservative even when the two allowable terms of definition are not adequate to explain the reality that they are intended to describe....

John Paul II and the Revitalization of Western Civilization by John Radzilowski, Ph.D. @ (ht):

When Pope John Paul II died last month, the mainstream media launched a barrage of coverage, some of it respectful, some of it inane, and some of it hateful. The media did not understand the Pope during his lifetime and his death has hardly improved their comprehension. Their summary of his life has focused largely on the political side of Pope John Paul II, which has obscured his most important and lasting contributions — his philosophical and moral leadership.
To be sure, the Popeís fight against communism and other forms of tyranny, his dramatic efforts at reconciliation with Judaism and other religions, his world travels, and the fact that he was one of the major architects of the collapse of communism around the world are all immensely important. Equally crucial, however, was his effort to reform the Catholic Church. An effort that earned him the hatred of the secular Left and the scorn of secularized Catholics, especially in the U.S. As one of the architects of Vatican II, he recognized that wholesale secularization and a compromise with modernity based on materialism would, in effect, destroy the Church. He understood that unless Catholicism remained true to its best traditions and faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it would die.
Yet, John Paul IIís actions and policies were not created in a vacuum. They flowed from a larger Judeo-Christian vision of philosophy and faith that, by the start of his pontificate, had been largely abandoned by many Western elites. Even before he became Pope he had viewed Western Civilization, and by extension world civilization, as being in deep crisis. When he became Pope, his mission, then, was to rescue Western Civilization....

Love Alone is Believable: Hans Urs von Balthasar's Apologetics by Fr. John R. Cihak, S.T.L. @ (ht):

The greatest challenge I find in bringing someone to Christ and his Church is finding ways to engage him in meaningful conversation.
Talk of truth is often met with a yawn, and an assertion about what is good is met with a stare of incomprehension. In the malaise of contemporary American life, people do not seem to be moved much by claims of truth or goodness. Relativism has made truth to be whatever one desires, thereby turning the good into whatever makes one "feel" good. With access to these roads of Truth and Goodness into the human heart darkened by relativism, how can one engage the average non-believer? How can one place him on the road that would ultimately lead him back to the Truth and the Good?
Though people may glaze over when one makes claims of truth and goodness, their ears seem to perk up at the mention of beauty: the flash of lightening across the sky, the dramatic auburn colors of a late summer sunset, a sublime snatch of music whether it be Mozartís Requiem or a David Gilmour guitar solo.
An even more intense encounter is with the beauty that expresses human love: the exhilaration when love is extended and the otherís eyes sparkle, trembling lips break into a smile and say "Yes." The heart soars, and one may even weep for joy. Often the encounter is described as being swept off oneís feet. Though perhaps darkened to what is true and good, the post-modern heart is still captivated by beauty revealing love, and this may be the road to Christ for many citizens of the post-modern world....

In a World of Bloggers, Foundations Can Expect More Scrutiny by William A. Schambra @ The Chronicle of Philanthropy (ht):

.... Mr. Sager's exposť ricocheted immediately throughout the burgeoning network of conservative Weblogs, or "blogs." It climbed quickly through right-leaning newspapers, with articles and editorials in The New York Sun, The Washington Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and into the prominent conservative journals National Review and The Weekly Standard. By late March, an audience of millions could catch snippets of the Treglia tape on Fox News. The story even achieved conservative "gatehood" status, often referred to as "Pewgate."
As Rebecca Rimel, president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, told journalists and others, none of Pew's spending was even close to the line of illegal lobbying. Mr. Treglia apologized for giving the impression that Pew or its grantees had engaged in manipulation.
But the substance of this story is less interesting than the fact that it became a story at all. For this episode marks the coming of age of an entirely new communications network, which will bring its own special angle to reporting on philanthropy and public policy.
Traditional journalists tend to take at face value the research on public policies generated by major foundations and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Treglia tried at the University of Southern California meeting to explain to an audience of journalists how this can prepare the ground for political change, but they still saw nothing newsworthy in what he said. Most reporters pass on study results unskeptically, seldom inquiring into possible deeper political agendas....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 05/10/05 07:22:13 AM
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