The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Extra, extra! News and views for Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Here are some articles, essays, and editorials that caught our attention this past week or so.*

(Image: Mira Kemppainen/

Russian Accusations – “Priests arrested in Ukraine are charged with trafficking weapons used to fight Russian occupiers. But Church officials says the arrests are retaliation for Ukrainian investigation of Orthodox monasteries.” Weapons charge against priests is Russian ‘retaliation,’ Ukrainian bishop says (The Pillar)

Polarization in the Church – “the stability that Pope John Paul, and then Benedict, brought to the Church was never really all that deep. ” The Subversive Christocentrism of David L. Schindler: A Personal Reflection and Two Testimonials from Former Students (Gaudium et Spes)

Pushing Back Against the Tyranny of Trans – Taken together, these recent articles give you a decent picture of what’s going on, what people are doing and saying – an alternative to the assumption you’re fed that Trans Victory = “The Right Side of History.” Trans for Tuesday (Charlotte was Both)

God, Being, and Belief – An interview with Jean-Luc Marion. ‘We Are Not Yet Christians’ (Commonweal)

Exorcism Against Satan – “On the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany in 2021, after ­churches had reopened but while many pandemic restrictions remained in place, three priests in my parish celebrated a traditional rite called the Blessing of Water on the Vigil of Epiphany.”  Satan Unbound (First Things)

Religious Convictions – “Justice Gorsuch slammed the State of Colorado on Monday for forcing a Christian baker to undergo a ‘reeducation program’ after he refused to create a custom cake celebrating a same-sex marriage . . . ” Justice Gorsuch Accuses Colorado of Forcing Christian Baker to Undergo ‘Reeducation Program’ (National Review)

The Radical Environmental Movement – “the ‘paradigmatic affliction of the Old Testament’ – a woman’s barrenness – has seemingly become ‘the great desire of nations.’” Environmental Nihilism – Save the Earth, Not the People (Association of Mature American Citizens)

Controlling People – “Most companies fail because of competition. They simply aren’t fast enough or smart enough to keep up with the marketplace. But the big web platforms aren’t like that.” How Web Platforms Collapse: The Facebook Case Study (Ted Gioia, The Honest Broker)

Horrible Simplifiers – “History, said Ortega, is amusing, unlike Nature, which, mere repetition of itself, is boring. But historical amusement also includes tragedy.” The Revolution of the Stupid (The Postil Magazine)

Russian Roadblock – “Perhaps nothing better illustrates the current state of affairs between the Vatican and the Kremlin than the fact that even in Rome itself, Russia effectively has shut down a line of communication and exchange.” Russia blocks roads to the Vatican, both literally and diplomatically (Crux)

Shuttered Catholic Church – “Demonstrators were arrested after months of protests aiming to stop the sale of a historic Chicago Catholic church, and the removal of a parish statue.” Chicago protestors arrested in bid to stop church sale (The Pillar)

Climate Activists –  “great works of art are under attack all over Europe—the birthplace of Western art tradition. And it’s for a surprising reason.” Is vandalizing art a good way to save civilization, or destroy it? (The Trumpet)

Realities and Ideas – “The interview that Pope Francis granted this week to the Jesuit magazine America is a synthesis of Pope Francis’ pragmatic worldview.” Pope Francis, pragmatism and the decisions to be taken (Monday Vatican)

Carrying Our Fathers – “how do we move forward, how do we engage our own world, burdened by the baggage of centuries gone by? Much of the contemporary effort has been to jettison the accumulated traditions of the medieval world so foreign to us . . . ” The Burden of Tradition (The Catholic Thing)

A Work of Art – “It seems as though our entire faith — as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be — has somehow been condensed into this one glorious image.” Praying with art: La Disputa (Denver Catholic)

(*The posting of any particular news item or essay is not an endorsement of the content and perspective of said news item or essay.)

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  1. In “Realities and Ideas,” Gagliarducci explains Pope Francis’ ongoing and recent pattern of ambiguities as insufficient “pragmatism.”

    I’m wondering if the Francis phenomenon is more akin to the difference between a noncontinuous staccato fixation on concrete musical notes versus the complementary ability to see singular notes (or realities!) also in integrative ways? Culturally, the spread between the eye of the poet and artist (or?) on the one hand and, on the other the sciences and connecting the dots? The trees but not the forest? Admissible accommodation in place of moral theology?

    Mythically, the cyclops with his lack of parallax vision and depth perception? Or psychologically, analogous (analogous, but not the same) as Asberger’s Syndrome with its fixation on one idea at a time? Instead, what more does it take to also place one concrete and fascinating Lego block on top of another?

    Is the problem one of “pragmatism,” or is it a more basic indisposition—a one-sided gift?—to weigh one reality or idea, only, at a time? Back and forth, the polyglot weather vane of “pragmatism,” but also a “dialogue” which at each concrete moment remains too much on square-one? The dubia?

    • I enjoy your artistry in expressing the exasperation of the orthodox. But to the far less gifted like me it just seems like any Church prelate who promotes a corrupt image of a “new” Christianity as devaluing a need for repentance, unaware to merciless considerations for the victims of sin, might be a formula for mutual ego gratification between the prelate and the desperate, but only results in mass tragedies.

  2. @ Polarization in the Church. D L Schindler’s the world as a gift responds to what’s absent among the polarized. A Christocentric appreciation of God’s gift of life as an act of love. Response to love is love. To live it authentically as revealed, as retrieved in resourcemente.
    Chapp is clear in identifying His Holiness Francis’ contribution to the polarization, two sides embattled under separate banners of misconstrued Christianity. Only Christ honestly embraced is ‘subversive’ to the world, a subversiveness that reveals the truth within the lies.
    What can be gained from this Schindler eulogy is awareness of the pitfall attraction of radicalism that extinguishes the depth and beauty of divine love revealed in the Word. A veteran of pitchfork skirmishes the wisdom of remaining centered in the ‘authenticity’ of the revealed Word, not the fake new paradigmatic kind nor the intransigent rad trad is well argued.
    Our challenge in this is existential presentation. A good example is the Dr Fastiggi conference. More is needed, leadership vacancies are open for application.

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