Amy Coney Barrett, Anxiety & More -- Twenty-Five Things That Caught My Eye Today



3. Angelus News: Chile church attacks reflect growing Latam wave of anti-Christian violence

Sunday’s violence against the two churches, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the parish of the “Carabineros” — Santiago’s police force — built to a crescendo. The attacks began with graffiti and looting, then profanation, and, finally, they were set ablaze.

“Death to the Nazarene,” was one of the mottos scribbled in the walls.

4. Surviving the flight from Syria

The Syrians were setting down roots in Turkey. Kids were learning Turkish, and teenagers were integrating into society. But the sounds of war could be heard in the distance. “We hear artillery and conflict at night, and we are afraid,” Bushra said. Many of the women in the camp had husbands, some of whom were still on the other side. “Many of the women who come here are tired of war, and some are psychologically damaged; you can see it on their faces.” The refugee camp had now become a home for many, and life was going on. There were weddings weekly. Seventy-five students from the camp had enrolled at the local university. Politics was never far away from the discussion. In the Turkish narrative on the border, the Syrians were being welcomed and “Turkey and Syria are one,” some said. The Syrians shared concerns about the fate of their villages on the other side. “How did Hezbollah get so strong and take over Syria?” one of the refugees wondered.

5. Catholic News Agency: Polish archbishop speaks out as protesters disrupt Masses after abortion ruling

“Profanity, violence, abusive inscriptions, and the disturbance of services and profanations that have been committed in recent days — although they may help some people to defuse their emotions — are not the right way to act in a democratic state,” the archbishop of Poznań said.

“I express my sadness that in many churches today believers have been prevented from praying and that the right to profess their faith has been forcibly taken away.”

6. James Jay Carafano: “Spontaneous” Street Violence Is Well Organized, Pursuing a Radical Agenda

There’s an ideology behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and it has nothing to do with civil liberties. Indeed, as the organization has received more attention, and its link to an organization that has celebrated the Chinese Revolution and continues to defend China become known, Black Lives Matter attempted to purge Marxist statements that had previously been publicized on its websites

7. The Daily Signal: Pandemic Has Led to ‘National Mental Health Crisis,’ APA Survey Finds

The coronavirus hasn’t just affected those who have lost family and friends from the virus, the report said. Work, education, health care, and the economy have all been impacted, affecting all Americans.

“Behind this devastating loss of life is immense stress and trauma for friends and families of those who died; for those infected; for those who face long recoveries; and for all Americans whose lives have been thrown into chaos in countless ways, including job loss, financial distress, and uncertain futures for themselves and their nation,” the report said.

8. The Star: Ontario shut down non-urgent health services in the spring. Now hospitals are seeing many more patients with advanced cancers

9. Nicole Gelinas: New York’s Year from Hell

“The problem with Manhattan business is that there is no business,” says Robert Schwartz, owner of Eneslow Shoes, with three locations, including one on midtown’s Park Avenue, from which it sells orthopedic shoes. “There is no retail business of any kind.” 

10. ProPublica: Not Mentioned in Cuomo’s Coronavirus Book: How Many Nursing Home Residents Died in New York

“The governor has time, in the middle of a pandemic, to write a book on the COVID-19 crisis, but after months of delay he has not delivered on his word to provide the legislature with the accurate numbers of nursing home deaths,” said Ron Kim, a Democratic state legislator from Queens. “As a result, we are squandering away an opportunity to demonstrate how his government can be there to respond to this crisis.”


12. Alejandro Bermudez: How the Washington Post is opening the path to use the pope against the Catholic Church

The pope also affirmed that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” emphasizing that “nobody should be thrown out” of a family because of homosexuality, or “be made miserable.” Since the documentary’s release, those remarks have been proven to relate to children ostracized in their families because of their sexual orientation, while in the film they are presented absent this context, the result of heavy editing, with ambiguous implications.

The pope’s remarks have been distorted  to suggest a tacit endorsement of adoption by same-sex couples, something Pope Francis has actually consistently opposed during – and prior to– his pontificate.

13. Mary Anastasia O’Grady: How Free Speech Dies

Carlos Ripoll’s 1985 book “Harnessing the Intellectuals” documents the story: On Dec. 26, 1959, the Provincial Association of Journalists of Havana “agreed to impose on all periodicals the obligation to include, in the form of clarifications or footnotes, criticisms of editorials or news items that were not in accord with the official government line.”

Replace “government” in that diktat with the word “party” and you have what looks eerily similar to demands by some American journalists to silence colleagues with whom they don’t agree.

14. Asra Q. Nomani, Max Eden: Merit on the Ropes

Suparna Dutta, an immigrant from India and the parent of a TJ sophomore, watched the debate in shock. “I came to America because I believe in the American Dream of hard work and merit,” she said. “Do Americans still believe in the American Dream?”

An increasingly powerful ideological minority in the in K-12 public education bureaucracy has absorbed the teachings of critical race theory, which teaches that racism is permanently embedded in American society and that “whiteness” is an evil that cannot be redeemed. Adherents of these views in Fairfax County see Dutta and her peers—though nonwhite themselves—as benefiting from and perpetuating white supremacy. In a letter to a parent, Virginia Education secretary Qarni labeled the objections of the mostly Asian immigrant parents as “white supremacist” rhetoric.

15. Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.: On the Relative Importance of Death: COVID-19 and the Hierarchy of Goods

In the face of a collective health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, many public goods are put in jeopardy. First among these is bodily life and health: the illness appears to be approximately five times more deadly than the average annual influenza, and it poses a particular risk to the elderly and those with various pre-existing medical conditions. Nevertheless, other goods are at stake as well, including the right to work, the economic well-being of societies, the ongoing work of education, freedom of movement and self-expression, and public gathering for the worship of God.

. . .

The goods of the animal body—including nourishment, self-protection, human sexual coupling and reproduction, and medical treatment of the body—all have their specifically human modality in virtue of human rationality and freedom. Therefore, they are only ever pursued rightly as human activities of reason and free responsibility. Insofar as this is the case, they all inevitably have artistic and ethical dimensions to them. Even if eating is a most basic activity of an animal, every human meal is an artistic and ethical activity, the work of a rational animal with a spiritual soul.

16. Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: How the San Francisco Democrats took over the party, and then the nation

By 2016, the Republicans had long lost Silicon Valley and Wall Street, but Donald Trump won by winning lower-income households, former union workers in mines and factories and cultural conservatives, while still holding on to legacy places like Orange County. Meanwhile, Democratic dominance of the wealthiest counties in the land — like Marin County — was total.

Now the transformation is complete. When President Trump attacked former vice-president Biden in Thursday’s debate for taking money from Wall Street, it was a sign of that multi-generation shift in the political landscape. Biden likes to boast about his working-class origins in Scranton, Pa., but the Democrats are more at home now in Silicon Valley than struggling cities like Scranton.

17. Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis prays for peace and justice in Nigeria

The pope said that in Sunday’s Gospel Jesus directs his followers to the source of love.

“This wellspring is God himself, to be loved completely in a communion that nothing and no one can break. A communion that is a gift to be invoked each day, but also a personal commitment not to let our lives become enslaved by the idols of the world,” he said.

18. Sister Gill Goulding, C.J. and Fr. Sean Salai, S.J.: Hans Urs von Balthasar, Covid-19, and the redemption of human anxiety

Sister Gill Goulding: In a sense, it’s clear that people are anxious during this time, and that that anxiety can take a number of different unhealthy forms—in a sense of increasing addiction, a sense of being overwhelmed by news, a sense of constantly watching television reports, all those sorts of things. I think people can be reassured by the sense that anxiety is something that can help us, in a strange way, to endure our Christian beliefs in the world we live in here and now—we live partly towards the kingdom of God, but not entirely in that situation, as we live in world torn by sin and division.

So it can help us, I think, to understand our participation in the larger action and ourselves as persons. Anxiety in this sense is not a way of being, or a state of human existence. Rather it can be a powerful and helpful tool through which, ironically, we can seek meaning and understanding.


20. Francis X. Maier: Philadelphia and the New “Tolerance”

A vast amount of ink has been spilled in recent years arguing for “diversity” and “tolerance” in American society. Some of these arguments are admirable and sincere. Some are cynical and vindictive. The latter applies in Philadelphia. Three years ago, CSS served 130 families superbly with a staff of ten. Today, despite the city’s punitive actions, 18 foster families have stayed with CSS, which can now afford only one staffer. The burden of the city’s trumpeted concern for equity and tolerance is being borne by real children who need safe and healthy foster homes; good foster parents eager to serve; and an excellent social service ministry blackballed simply because of the religious convictions that inspire and guide it.

21. ND Law’s Religious Liberty Initiative represents Muslim voices defending Jewish groups subject to discriminatory COVID-19 closures

“The filing of these briefs marks a significant milestone in the development of our emerging Religious Liberty Initiative,” saidStephanie Barclay, a Notre Dame Law Professor and First Amendment scholar who is helping launch the Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative.

. . .

“I’m proud of the impressive work our students have done as part of the Religious Liberty Initiative. This recent brief involved a Catholic institution representing Muslim organizations defending Orthodox Jewish plaintiffs. This type of work highlights the best of our religious liberty traditions, where people of different faiths are willing to advocate for each other,” said Barclay.

22. A family that raised $2 million for their baby’s life-saving medical treatment has received it for free

In 2020, Novartis launched a Managed Access Program to provide 100 eligible patients with SMA under the age of 2 in countries where Zolgensma is not approved.

“While we aren’t providing specific numbers at this time, we can confirm that already the program has enabled children across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America (including Canada) to receive treatment who may not have otherwise had access to the therapy,” a Novartis Gene Therapies company spokesperson told CNN.

23. Terry Teachout: Farther along

24. Caitrin Keiper: Red Is for Remembrance

Today, as Covid-19 deaths tick up and up, I think about the holes each one has left behind. The shock of loss is just the start; each day and month and year without the deceased is a year that someone irreplaceable is missing, and missed.

25. BBC News: Windsor Castle: Changing hundreds of royal clocks

“[It has been said that] clocks were a way to bring God into your house, because God made time, and man made a machine to capture time.”

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