Weekend reading roundup
From around the web, a few interesting insights to start a summer weekend:
- Pope Francis has suggested that the world’s Christians should reach an agreement on a common date for the celebration of Easter, ending the confusion that arises when Catholic and Orthodox churches celebrate on different days—a confusion that rises to the level of scandal in countries where the Catholic and Orthodox communities are both strong. Father Ronald Roberson, who works with the US bishops’ secretariat for ecumenical affairs, provides a simple explanation of how the discrepancy between the two liturgical calendars arose, and why it will be difficult to fix. He explains why the Orthodox churches, which have already experienced bitterly divisive debates about the calendar, will be reluctant to accept anything but their own method of setting the date for Easter.
- The National Catholic Register offers a fascinating piece by Deacon Nick Donnelly (condensed from a longer piece for Catholic Voice) that looks at Ireland’s recent referendum vote in favor of same-sex marriage, in the light of repeated references by Pope Francis to Robert Hugh Benson’s dystopian classic, The Lord of the World. Citing statements from dissident priests in favor of the referendum—or, at the least, opposed to the opposition—he wonders whether the real problem is apostasy.
- Also from Ireland, David Quinn takes another look at the news that the country’s bishops have ordered the reinstatement of students who were asked to leave the national seminary at Maynooth, allegedly because they were judged too “rigid” in their views. Quinn notes that the charges of “rigidity” have a history at Maynooth, where seminarians were viewed with suspicion if they wanted to kneel during the consecration at Mass, and where a Vatican investigation uncovered widespread theological dissidence. The question, Quinn observes, is whether “rigidity” is actually a code, referring to candidates for the priesthood who—gasp!—uphold the teachings of the Church.
- Back in the US, the invaluable Stella Morabito takes issue with Senator Rand Paul, who suggested that government should get out of the “marriage” business entirely. That option might look superficially appealing to Senator Paul and his libertarian allies, she writes; but in practice the move would cause a major increase in the power of the state. Citing the work of radical activists whose goal is to tear down the institution of marriage, Morabito explains that if civil marriage ceases to exist, then every relationship would be subject to government controls and government standards. Parents would no longer be presumed to have the right to raise their own children, she says. And: “Expect to hear more calls for state licensing of parents.”
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