Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Unsettling Truth Behind the #MeToo Movement

What to Make of Karl Barth's Steadfast Adultery
Do the recent revelations discredit his theology?
Mark Galli
I knew that Karl Barth, arguably the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century, had a decades-long affair with his personal assistant, Charlotte von Kirschbaum. But I didn't know some of the details. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and the details were deeply disappointing. continue reading >>

Friend, Have You Heard the Good News About the Simulation Hypothesis?
Why a sci-fi idea championed by Elon Musk and others is an opportunity for Christians.
The Unsettling Truth Behind the #MeToo Movement
Creating a safer world for women means talking about our vulnerability.
The Exchange
20 Truths from "Sing!"
When we sing we witness to the people in our church who are yet to believe

Bishop McElroy's recent remarks about the role of chastity

On the lowly, yet vital, importance of chastity: A thoughtful and charitable response to Bp. McElroy's recent remarks about the role of chastity in the life of Catholics

How Los Angeles Catholics help the homeless: “To turn our backs on the homeless is really to turn our backs on Christ”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Catholics are increasing in the world!

The number of Catholics in the world is increasing: almost 1.3 billion, 17.7 percent of the world’s population, reported Agenzia Fides on October 20, 2017.  Agenzia Fides is the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

According to figures from the Church’s Book of Statistics (data related to 2015) and elaborated by Agenzia Fides, the baptized are 12.5 million more than the previous year (2014). This is one of the data in the Dossier published by Agenzia Fides on the occasion of the 91st World Mission Day, which is celebrated on Sunday, October 22, 2017.

The Dossier offers a wealth of statistical information about the Catholic Church around the world.


Click here to see video highlights

A few statistics of interest:
  • Africa has 222 million Catholics, 19.42 percent of the population.
  • The Americas have 635 million Catholics, 63.6 percent of the population.
  • Europe has 285 million Catholics, 39.87 percent of the population.
  • Asia has 141 million Catholic, 3.24 percent of the population.
  • The Catholic Church runs 216,548 schools in the world, attended by more than 60 million pupils.
  • There are about 118,000 Catholic social and charitable institutes (hospitals, care homes for people with leprosy, orphanages, homes for the elderly) scattered throughout the world.

Islam, Hollywood and Choice

The Thoughtfuls and the Roughnecks

Austin Ruse

There is a way of argumentation that academics use. It goes something like, “Thank you for your valuable contribution to this exchange. You have allowed us to consider more deeply the issues before us. If I have one quibble it might be…” They could be talking about a house-fire and it would go something like […]

Islam, Hollywood and Choice

Derya Little

Once in a while there is an article that defends the practice of Muslim women covering her hair. If they really want to be insulting, there is a picture of a nun in a habit right next to a beautiful woman in hijab. “What is the difference?” they ask. “It is the choice,” I answer. […]

Pope Francis’ approach to appointing bishops

Pope Francis’ approach to appointing bishops: Persistent rumor says that Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego might be at the top of the list to replace Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C.
Junipero Serra impasse at Stanford University: Committee formed in 2016 stalls in effort to make recommendations on renaming a street and three campus buildings named after St. Junipero Serra
Seven Oakland schools will become Lumen Christi Academies in fall 2018: ”A robust academic setting permeated with Catholic values"

Why Are We in Such a Mess?

Why Are We in Such a Mess?
Surely, it's someone's fault. It's Trump. No, it started with Obama. It's the intransigent Democrats. No, it's the head-in-the-sand Republicans. It's the pampered elite universities. No, it's the neglected inner-city high schools. It's the drug culture. No, it's the alcohol culture. It's "these kids today." No, it's the boomers. It's irreligion. No, it's religion, especially those crazy evangelicals.

And so on. Depending on the problem I'm thinking about, I can pretty much find someone or some group to point the finger at. And I'm probably right. The object of our pointing is likely partly to blame.

But the old truism is still true: Three fingers are pointing back at me. Some think Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov pushed things too far when he had Father Zosima say,
There is only one way to salvation, and that is to make yourself responsible for all men's sins. As soon as you make yourself responsible in all sincerity for everything and for everyone, you will see at once that this is really so, and that you are in fact to blame for everyone and for all things.
Allowing for hyperbole, there is still something about this idea that resonates with me. It has been said that G. K. Chesterton once received a query from The Times of London to write on "What's wrong with the world today?" To this, he replied, "Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G. K. Chesterton." We have no documentary evidence of this exchange, but it certainly is the type thing Chesterton would say.

This notion has occurred to me afresh listening to podcasts by clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson, whom I introduced to GR readers a few weeks ago. While acknowledging the danger of "blaming the victim," he argues in a number of lectures that the way to move forward—to bring some meaning to our suffering, to chart a healthy path forward—is with a painful and fierce self-examination to discern what role we're playing in our current predicament.

The point is this: It's not just an idea of Bible-thumping preachers but a profound insight one finds in literature, mythology, and psychology. Repentance is crucial to identify and rectify the human condition. And to soften the hard edges of our cultural moment. Thus my recent editorial on "Whatever Became of Repentance?"

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry gets at this from a slightly different angle, talking specifically about our vicious political divisions, but the fundamental point is the same: "It has to start with us."
On Knees in the NFL
Speaking of political disputes: I continue to think the controversy over NFL players taking the knee is an exercise in what fellow editor Ted Olsen calls a "foolish controversy." Of course players have the right to protest, and no, you can't fire people for practicing free speech, something men and women have given their lives to ensure. Of course the flag and the sacrifice it represents should be honored—yes! But kneeling at the national anthem to say that we're not living up to our national ideals is a way to insist we keep striving for those ideals. It isn't like Kaepernick and others are throwing blood on the flag or burning the flag.

Anyway, two commentaries on all that that made sense to me have been "The Problem with 'Taking the Knee'" and "Both Sides Are Losing the NFL Culture War."
Women at the Nuclear Ready
Sorry if I seem fixated on nuclear war, but faithful readers of the Galli Report will know of my impatience with abstraction. How exactly does a nuclear launch actually happen? Well, fortunately (in my view) it's in the hands of some women, who often show better sense in crises than do members of my hot-headed gender. Their mission:
Ensure that the world's most consequential weapons are infallible and ready to launch on command—a not-so-gentle reminder to our adversaries that it would be, to put it mildly, a really bad idea to attack the United States.
Bad News for E-Readers
That would be me. I prefer to read via Kindle, which allows me to both mark and copy/paste text but also carry around a library of books whenever I travel. But apparently, I'm not retaining as much as I might when I read this way. Sigh. Maybe I just need to take better notes.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

Tim Keller: civility in the public square

Berlin exhibition highlights how the Nazis exploited Martin Luther's legacy
Religion News Service: Martin Luther is such a towering figure in German history that it's no surprise Adolf Hitler's Third Reich exploited his name whenever it could.

Tim Keller: civility in the public square
CCC Discover: What will it take to create genuinely pluralistic society?

White evangelicals used to dominate Christian Zionism, but not anymore
The Atlantic: Why thousands of Christians from across the globe travel to Jerusalem each year to celebrate a Jewish holiday.

Church Clarity pressures pastors and churches to disclose views on homosexuality
Religion News Service: Prominent pastors are finding themselves on the hot seat thanks to a new group's efforts to call out leaders who lack clear stances, writes Jonathan Merritt.

Towering cross-shaped monument on public land is unconstitutional, court rules
The Washington Post: A federal appeals court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a towering cross-shaped monument that has marked a major intersection in Prince George's County for 90 years.

Retreats for the homeless

The organization that puts on retreats for the homeless
Spiritual retreats help those struggling with homelessness and addiction move forward.

Denise Vasquez awoke one night in November 2015, slumped over in a chair after drinking at least a gallon of vodka.

She knew she had to either find more alcohol to avoid a withdrawal seizure or quickly seek medical help.

For the first time in years, she wanted to stop drinking. 

For the first time in years, she prayed.

"I want to live!" the 43-year-old Denver woman recalls telling God before dialing 911.

Over the next five months a sober Vasquez, having grown up in a church-going family, reconnected with God while living at the Salvation Army's Denver Adult Rehabilitation Center. After seven years of hard, usually solitary, "blackout" drinking, where she had isolated herself from her family and friends, Vasquez had already made great strides toward regaining control of her life.

But it was an experience outside the center, presented to her and five other homeless women who were recovering from addiction, that Vasquez says gave her the tools to remain sober. The women spent a weekend in April 2016 at the Loretto Spirituality Center in Littleton, Colorado where they participated in an Ignatian Spirituality Project retreat.

"It's a beautiful environment," she recalls. "The whole area is so rich in nature, and I connect with nature. It just brings me right back to connecting with God, so the whole experience was so spiritual for me."

Vasquez says she had no idea where the retreat center would be but arrived there to realize that she had lived in apartments across the street and had grown up only five miles away.

"When I got there it just seemed like God was taking me home, taking me back to my roots, back to a time in my life when my addiction wasn't controlling my life," Vasquez says. "Being with the women and interacting, the praying and the singing and the sharing, everything about it was so soul-filling for me."

Christian missionaries against colonialism

* Some websites may require a paid subscription

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reality Changers new board member Vicente Fox
Reality Changers is pleased to announce that  
Vicente Foxthe 55th President of Mexico
will join our board of directors effective November 8, 2017.  
Marta SahagĂșn de Fox
Mexico's former first lady, will serve as 
our organization's first honorary board chair.