Blogwatcher - Pope Socrates?


Is Pope Francis an intellectual pope? asks Michael Sean Winters.

Not according to Jeff Lawler who writes:

So now, after two Pontiffs with extraordinary scholarly credentials, we have a Pope who has no pretensions to intellectual status.

But Mark Silk is not so sure:

What’s true is that Francis is very wary of those who pride themselves on their intellectual grasp of religious doctrine.

Intellectual or not, Pope Francis' Pentecost Vigil address on Saturday was certainly profound. Come to think of it, is there any other pope (at least in modern times) who, instead of providing answers, has made it his signature style to ask questions of his audiences? Which may or may not make him the first pope to adopt the Socratic method named for one of the greatest philosophers of all.

 Either way, he's still wildly popular:

Pope Francis in jeep among the crowd on May 19. Pentecost Sunday…

— Gerard O'Connell (@gerryorome) May 19, 2013

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Meanwhile, Maureen Mullarkey is not impressed by pre-modern devotional art:

Mass produced sentimentality has been the hallmark of Catholic art since the 1840s flooded the market with a cascade of devotional stuffs from French companies located around the church of Saint-Sulpice on the Left Bank. A taste for it lingers in much of the disdain directed at modernism in the arts. Particularly in relation to religious subjects, even sophisticated Catholics are prone to uncritical favor toward imitations of the premodern.

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Christianity faces a perilous future in Europe, says Stephen Crittenden:

Demographic collapse of Christianity in UK speeding up. So much for the Catholic New Evangelisation:

— stephen crittenden (@crittenden_s) May 18, 2013

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However, there is still hope? as Whispers in the Loggia indicates pointing to this excellent video interview with Vienna Cardinal Christophe Schonborn:

And he also has his own website (in German - open in Google Chrome for instant translation) Frag den Kardinal (Ask the Cardinal) where he answers questions such as "What's your favourite beer?"

Catch him on Twitter too: @KardinalWien.

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Elsewhere, religious bloggers in Bangladesh face more serious trouble, according to Emran Hossain:

Even though Rasel Parvez is out of prison, he isn't out of danger.

"They have pushed my life to a state in which I cannot walk free. I remain in self-confinement day after day, and my social relations are mostly snapped," said Parvez, 36, in an interview with The Huffington Post.

He is talking about the Bangladeshi government, which arrested him and three other bloggers last month for "derogatory comments about Islam." Parvez, who is currently out on bail, has been branded with the label "atheist" blogger because he dared to criticize the abuse of religion by politicians.

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Reflecting on the guilty verdict in the Kermit Gosnell abortion case, Robert George writes:

Something as morally arbitrary as a human being’s location—his or her being in or out of the womb—cannot determine whether killing him or her is an unconscionable act of premeditated homicide or the exercise of a fundamental liberty. Yet something like that is the prevailing state of American law under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Its incoherence and indefensibility have been laid bare by the prosecution of Dr. Gosnell. Whatever now happens to him, it will no longer be possible to pretend that abortion and infanticide are radically different acts or practices.

Evidence like this shocked police as well as jurors:

Dr Kermit Gosnell case: 'We plunged the sink and a baby's arm came out' reveals cop via @mailonline

— Elizabeth Scalia (@TheAnchoress) May 17, 2013

However, in this brave piece, converted former abortion clinic manager Abby Johnson warns against outright condemnation:

So when someone talks about Gosnell and says things like, “murderers and people like him don’t deserve to breathe the same air as I do,” or "I hope he burns in hell," it hurts a little. Because that was me. But I am still here…breathing that same air…and trying to spend my life righting my wrongs. And it’s not just me. I know they hurt others like me, as well. People who have left the abortion industry and will work every day to recover from their sins. People who are still in the industry and think they will be shunned by the pro-life movement…maybe they would reach out to us if they knew we would accept them. I am always terrified that clinic workers will see some of the words from prolifers. I have been told by several former workers that they will never come forward with their stories because they are so scared of how they will be treated by us...the supposed "Christian" movement. Their fears are real and legitimate.

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Meanwhile the ACBC has developed this video to assist all those affected by abortion as part of a series of videos addressing life issues:

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On a different note, Shawn Van Der Linden reflects here on the important role of fathers in the lives of their daughters:

My daughter is now 11 years old, about to make her Confirmation at Church, and flat out growing up way too fast! My impulse to protect her in life has not changed one bit from when I first held her. But how do I continue to protect her as she launches out into these years of becoming a young woman?

I think often for us Dads the temptation is to feel that there is not really that much we can do with our daughters during these critical tween and teen years, and that in any case our influence is not that great. Well, the evidence in fact shows that we have a massive impact in the lives of our daughters.

From infancy girls draw conclusions about what men are like from the key men in their lives, and the close involvement of fathers also impacts the quality of their physiological development.

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And Blaise Joseph shares highlights of the World Congress of Families in Sydney.

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Finally, a great story about a 75 year old flying nun, Sr Patricia Wall:

Pic of 75 y/o Sr Patricia Wall about to touch down from her parachute jump on today's @irishtimes makes me glad to be alive. It's brilliant!

— Chris Donoghue (@chrisrdonoghue) May 18, 2013


Michael MullinsStefan Gigacz is preparing a PhD. at MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne, on the role of Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II. 

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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