China, Amy Barrett & More -- Fifteen Things That Caught My Eye Today -- October 12, 2020

1. Nadine Maenza and Lord Acton: The Untold Story of Syrian Kurdish Christians

2. China furious with global outcry over Xinjiang and Hong Kong

3. Meir Soloveichik: Leave Judge Barrett’s Faith Out of This

Judge Barrett has also been open about her jurisprudence, which is that of an originalist. She has described Justice Scalia as her mentor, and asserted that her Constitutional interpretation is guided not by her own faith but by the meaning of the document at the time it was written. Senators can, and should, ask her how a self-proclaimed originalist can objectively separate one’s own opinions from an understanding of the text. A judge’s jurisprudence — as well as the propriety of such a nomination so close to an election — are worthy matters of debate, and they are appropriate reasons to oppose or support Judge Barrett’s nomination. But her faith is not.

4. Ryan Bromberger: I wouldn’t be who I am without adoption 

5. Catherine Pakaluk interviewed by Charlie Camosy: Barrett’s nomination highlights women with large families; new research looks into the issue

I think I sort of assumed that if you kept going after two or three children it was probably because the whole thing felt natural to you or you felt that you were good at it. But many of the women we spoke to expressed very serious experiences of difficulty in overcoming moments of personal failure, and feelings that they were not naturally good at raising children. And I found this both inspiring and also surprising.

6. Walter Olson: No, Amy Coney Barrett Is Not ‘Anti-Worker’

As a libertarian, it wouldn’t bother me if Barrett were an ardent advocate of freedom of contract and property rights. But I’m sorry to report that a look at her actual rulings on workplace and employment cases shows they’re just not very big news one way or the other. Barrett has hewn carefully to the precedent and guidance handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, just as you’d expect from an accomplished appeals court judge, and she has also stayed well within the mainstream of her own Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

7. Tevi Troy: How COVID-19 Is Changing American Judaism

COVID-19 has also seemingly exacerbated inter- and intra-denominational splits over politics, as non-Orthodox synagogues have become increasingly comfortable overtly incorporating politics into services. While tikkun olam social service programs and other forms of political activism have long been integral components of Reform Jewish identity, the incorporation of politics into religious services may have reached a new level in 2020. As the elimination of physical presence and social life deprives congregants of familiar communal tethers, institutions reach for hot-button partisan political issues to keep people engaged—thus becoming evermore indistinguishable from the surrounding online landscape.

8. Reuters: Pope meets Australian Cardinal Pell in midst of money scandal

Pell returned to Rome on Sept. 30, just days after the pope fired Pell’s nemesis, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was accused of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

. . .

After Becciu was sacked, Pell said: “The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments.”

Pell said he hoped the “cleaning of the stables” would continue.

Becciu’s lawyer has denied Italian media reports that his client sent money to Australia to help Pell’s “enemies” while he was facing the sexual abuse charges.

9. Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Pell at the Vatican

A source close to the cardinal told the National Catholic Register that the meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, was “very warm and cordial.”

10. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Hearings Will Display Her Intellect, Personal History and Judicial Power

11. National Catholic Register: Beatification of Carlo Acutis: The First Millennial Is Declared Declared ‘Blessed’

“Since he was a child … he had his gaze turned to Jesus. Love for the Eucharist was the foundation that kept alive his relationship with God. He often said ‘The Eucharist is my highway to heaven,’” Cardinal Agostino Vallini said in his homily for the beatification.

“Carlo felt a strong need to help people discover that God is close to us and that it is beautiful to be with him to enjoy his friendship and his grace,” Cardinal Vallini said.

12. Michael Pakaluk: Secularism No Basis For Human Fraternity

It is true that, at one point, the encyclical surmises that its teachings might be available to agnostics as well. But — and commentators have generally missed this — overall, it rejects the premise that social friendship can effectively be fostered other than within a monotheistic worldview of faith.

. . .

The only thing standing between us and the Abolition of Man (see C. S. Lewis) is robust faith in God. This the encyclical constantly asserts in its presuppositions.

13. Pope Francis: revisit the ‘Divine Comedy’ in Dante’s anniversary year

“I thought I would only be 28 weeks pregnant when I took the bar,” Hill told CNN. “However, due to the pandemic, the test was pushed to October and I was going to be 38 weeks. I joked about taking the test from my hospital bed. Lesson learned!”

15. Smithsonian: This 700-Year-Old Purse From Iraq Is Remarkably Intact

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