July 23, 2014

The Patriarch, the Environment and the Enlightenment

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (“Our Indivisible Environment,” 26 October 2009) in which he argues that “just as God is indivisible, so too is our global environment.”  He asserts that as the “molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American” so too the “particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory.” On the surface, his words reflect a cultural and intellectual tradition with deep roots in classical, pre-Christian Greek thought (especially Aristotle) as well as Holy Scripture and the teachings of the fathers of the Church (East and West). His observations also owe much to Scholasticism, those Medieval Catholic scholars wrestled who the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christian faith, as well as the relationship of Christian faith to Judaism and Islam.  To his credit, the Patriarch is also in a discussion with … [Read more...]

Mor Gabriel, Halki and Obama

A very timely story yesterday in the Wall Street Journal by Andrew Higgins about a land dispute between Syriac Orthodox monastery Mor Gabriel and Turkish authorities. Also yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a stop in Ankara, announced that President Obama will be visiting Turkey "in a month or so." She said this toward the end of her public remarks: I reiterate the Obama Administration’s support for Turkey’s membership in the European Union. The United States believes it will strengthen Turkey, Europe, and our transatlantic partnership. The United States continues to support the UN-sponsored talks now taking place to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus conflict based on reunification of the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We talked about Turkey’s democracy, its multiethnic heritage, and in that context, I raised the importance that we place on reopening the Halki Seminary and efforts to reach out to all of Turkey’s communities. For … [Read more...]

Fr. Neuhaus’ review of ‘The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right’

The Wall Street Journal this week published the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' review of "The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right" by Jon Shields. In the review, Fr. Neuhaus gives Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, high marks for "an excruciatingly careful study, studded with the expected graphs and statistical data—but not to the point of spoiling its readability—in the service of probing the curious permutations in contemporary political alignments." The book is scheduled for release on Feb. 19. The pro-life movement is a movement for change, indeed for what some view as the radical change of eliminating the unlimited abortion license. "Meanwhile," writes Shields, "the pro-choice movement is a conservative movement defending the status quo. Pro-choicers have little to gain from engaging their opponents and from the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion." And, of course, they have the establishment media massively on their side. The head … [Read more...]