Twenty Things That Caught My Eye Today: China, Abortion by Mail & More (October 9, 2020)

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1. Cardinal Zen: For Love of Truth I Will Not Remain Silent

Some say: Are you not able to forget the sufferings of the past? I have not suffered anything personally (I have been in Hong Kong since 1948), my family and fellow confreres did.

Purification of memory? To forgive, yes! But to forget the history? History is teacher of life!

. . .

Today Archbishop Celli has only one word for the independent Church in China: compassion. But true compassion must be to free the slaves from slavery, not to encourage them to be good slaves.

2. USCIRF Releases New Report about Attacks against Houses of Worship and Religious Leaders in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso was long viewed as a bastion of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony in west Africa. Yet, in recent years religious freedom conditions in Burkina Faso have worsened, with the country facing interrelated security and humanitarian crises. Attacks on both Muslim and Christian houses of worship and religious leaders have spiked as jihadist and other militia groups have expanded their area of influence throughout the country. The government has struggled to rein in the violence and bring about accountability to perpetrators, and poor performance and misconduct by government affiliated forces are exacerbating the situation.

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4. Washington Post: Justices say women can get abortion pill by mail, for now

The court did little more than defer its first action on an abortion-related issue since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month. The court called for a lower-court judge to take a new look at the issue and rule within 40 days. That would put any further high court action after the Nov. 3 election.

5. Rod Dreher: Yelp’s Crude Social Credit System

Now, imagine that you are a small business owner targeted by Social Justice Warriors, who use an activist-weaponized Yelp to drive you out of business with false accusations. How likely are you to care about keeping the peace in a civil order? You are going to want revenge on the people who destroyed your livelihood.

6. Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: A Jewish Revolt Against Lockdowns

Mass gatherings are a bad idea, and rising Covid cases in Orthodox Jewish areas are a legitimate health concern. But the combination of threats, scapegoating and inflexible diktats isn’t boosting the credibility of New York’s leaders or their rules. If Messrs. de Blasio and Cuomo want cooperation in addressing Covid-19, they ought to start by treating Haredim as citizens, not criminals.

7. Catholic Herald: Lebanon is a Christian foothold in the Middle East. But for how much longer?

The practice of Christianity in Leb­anon is unique in the Middle East. “In all the other Arab countries, Islam is the religion of the state and Christians are not given a chance to state their opinions. There is no such thing as freedom of conscience,” Cardinal Rai said. “If a Christian wants to become a Muslim, that’s fine, but if a Muslim wants to become a Christian, he is liable to be killed. That is why the Leban­ese formula is so important,” he added.

8. Crux: St. Louis Archbishop addresses issues facing Catholic voters

“If you don’t hold that abortion is the preeminent moral issue of our time, and if you don’t struggle to justify voting for a candidate whose record or policy would favor or even expand abortion, then you probably aren’t forming a Catholic conscience in preparation to vote,” Rozanski wrote.

9. Emily Oster: Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders

These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough. But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted.

. . .

One might argue, again, that any risk is too great, and that schools must be completely safe before local governments move to reopen them. But this approach ignores the enormous costs to children from closed schools. The spring interruption of schooling already resulted in learning losses; Alec MacGillis’s haunting piece in The New Yorker and ProPublica highlights the plight of one child unable to attend school in one location, but it’s a marker for more. The children affected by school closures are disproportionately low-income students of color. Schools are already unequal; the unequal closures make them more so. Virtual school is available, but attendance levels are not up to par. Pediatricians have linked remote schooling to toxic stress.

11. Daniel Maria Kilmek: Poorly Catechized Catholics Complain About Amy Coney Barrett’s Authentic Catholicism

In Barrett’s various comments regarding the proper role of a judge or justice, she has emphasized that the person’s religious beliefs should have no effect on her judicial interpretation. Thus, it makes no sense to say Barrett “uses religion” to justify “extremist positions when it is convenient to do so” when, as a judge, she has never used religion to justify anything. As a judicial originalist and textualist in the tradition of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett uses the original intent and textual understanding of the U.S. Constitution to justify her decisions.

12. Matthew Continetti: What Ever Happened to Immigration?

When Kamala Harris offhandedly mentioned the travel ban during the vice-presidential debate, it almost seemed like an anachronism, so far removed are we from the world of January 2017. The coronavirus imposed its own sort of prohibition. It radically interrupted the mechanisms of globalization, including the flow of labor. Global air travel plunged, and so did apprehensions along the southwest border. The virus ushered in a condition of emergency, in which the Trump administration tightened visa and asylum procedures.

13. William S. Smith: Democrats Are the New Know-Nothings

In recent years, these secular progressives have tipped their anti-Catholic hand numerous times. There was Senator Feinstein’s famous quip to Mrs. Barrett that “the dogma lives loudly in you,” as if Catholic doctrine is more problematic than the leftist secular dogmas that brought us the pogroms of the 20th century. Then there was the attack by Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono on judicial nominee Brian Buescher because of his membership in the Knights of Columbus. And there is the continuing persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor who have been dragged into court again by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. All these attacks were launched by progressive, liberal Democrats.

. . .

The most laughable aspect of these attacks is the assumption that charismatic Catholics are some kind of threat to the public order. Ideologies of the left, such as communism, have probably killed 100 million people over the last century, yet many American politicians and activists who share Marxist philosophical principles are never questioned about them. And now leftist ideological movements, such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, are rioting and burning American cities, yet it is Judge Barrett’s charismatic Catholicism that is the great danger. I may not have noticed, but I do not recall any rioting, looting, or police assassinations by charismatic Catholics.

14. David Warren: Politicizing Everything

This I feel, not only as a Catholic, but from taking that constituency as a kind of bellwether. Not just Europeans, but Americans are now so post-Christian that moral principles are reduced to fashion statements – not only on the atheistical Left. I am struck by their absence not only from “progressive” arguments, but from the counter-arguments. And even when present, they seem like a posture.

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While the pseudo-morality of race, and sometimes “gender,” appear to be in play, the partisans are not serious, from either side. They are making fashion statements, sometimes quite violently through riots and looting. The opposition to this isn’t serious, either. The “right to protest” in a way that can only lead to riots, is taken for granted, by both sides – even while a majority, according to the polls, expect this to end in civil war.

15. Aleteia: Sister Helen Alford: “‘Fratelli tutti’ could contribute to a refoundation of the economy on the model of human fraternity”

Since the crisis of 2008, new ideas have emerged along these lines, and are pushing us to reconcile our individualistic genes and the need to live in communit[ies] which drive human beings. Speaking about his famous book The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins said, in the preface to a new edition, that he could’ve called the book The Cooperative Gene. The need to cooperate is in our genes.

. . .

We need to renew our way of thinking, no longer centered on the individual and his interests, but on social systems. This encyclical could make a major contribution to this re-foundation: it’s the ideal moment to address the theme of fraternity.

16. Leonard Sax: Why Your Daughter — and You— Should Watch the New Mulan

This Mulan is not a remake of that children’s movie. It is an imaginative exploration of the question: what happens to a girl whose talents and passion lie in a domain—martial arts and physical combat—traditionally reserved to boys and men?

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Mulan’s feminism may be anachronistic, but it is no accident. The director, Niki Caro, has been thinking about these issues for many years. Her first success, Whale Rider, set in her native New Zealand, also featured a girl whose talents and passion lay in a domain traditionally reserved for boys and men. As Caro said in an interview several years before Mulan,  “Femininity has way too often been equated with weakness. And it’s not . . . you can be strong and soft at the same time.”

17. Catholic News Agency: ‘They inspire us every day’: Carmelite sisters serve women with disabilities in new home

The home is open to women ages 21 and up, and offers life skills classes on things like budgeting and sewing, as well as science classes, faith formation classes, and Zumba or other fitness activities. There’s also a daily rosary and rest time in the schedule, as well as weekend activities and night classes for the women who work outside the home during business hours.

18. Darren Geist: For Love of Mary

Mary is in the mind of God from the beginning (“I will put enmity between you and the woman,” Genesis 3:15) and appears at the end (as Queen of Heaven in Revelation 12:1). She is woven through the whole story of redemption in various foreshadowings, and she is essential to Jesus’s story. Gospel texts often taken to disprove Mary’s centrality actually prove it. She is “Woman” not because she is unworthy of the title of “Mother,” but because she is the New Eve. As the New Eve, she was instrumental in bringing forth the new creation: In the Incarnation, in bringing the Holy Spirit to John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41), in encouraging ­Jesus to start his public ministry (John 2:3), and at the coming of the Holy Spirit and creation of the Church at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). She is “blessed” not only because she is Jesus’s mother, but because she was the first disciple to do God’s will and love Jesus, and the only one to do it perfectly.

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It’s hard to describe what that call from Mary felt like. It wasn’t spoken; there were no visions. It settled into me like the calm and at times painful certainty of truth. I knew what she was asking of me: Love my son. Mary’s love for her son demanded that she meet him on the road to Calvary and follow the path soaked in his blood; it asked that she stand at the Cross, when almost everyone else had abandoned him.

19. Luma Simms: The Secret Desire for Barrenness

Radical feminism hijacked the essence of womanhood, and so in reaction, women like me, created to give themselves in a way other than, or beyond, traditional motherhood, were automatically dismissed by antifeminists, lumped in the same category as women who were attempting to emancipate themselves from themselves. Aping the worst of men, these aggressive feminists suppressed the voices and legitimate concerns of other women.

. . .

There are women who are naturally maternal, and fully satisfied by it; I am not one of them. But God has a sense of humor, and so I have five children. I wanted physical barrenness my entire life, yet my desires were persistently thwarted. I wanted to make words with my flesh. Mostly, I have made flesh with it.  But with every child—and now with my granddaughter—in every smile, in the tiny fingers and toes, the coos and fists-in-the-mouth, I am filled with gratitude that fecundity won, and barrenness lost.

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