1. The music star/activist Bono is going out of his way to point out some effective and important work done in recent years by the Catholic Church in pursuit of social justice. It happened thanks largely to the strong leadership of Pope John Paul II, but was undergirded solidly by a century of Catholic social teaching.
2. Daniel Nichols (author of Caelum et Terra, one of my very favorite blogs) offers a brief essay on America’s development of the nuclear bomb, hubris, and blasphemy that is like a splash of cold water to the face. I’m glad he mentions consequentialism, because you can’t raise the question of the morality of the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even among those who consider themselves the strongest of Catholics, without immediately getting arguments that the same people would reject angrily if someone tried to apply parallel reasoning to the use of contraception.
3. Archbishop Charles Chaput offers a challenging reflection on the “flaw in the American gene code” that predisposes us to individualism and consumerism. On the weakening of Catholic life that has resulted, Chaput writes, “American culture is a new kind of mission territory. It’s a cocoon of marketing, entertainment, and manufactured appetites; a narcotic of noise, distraction, and relentless propaganda for self-absorption and confused sexuality. Being in the United States in the weeks before Christmas is an education in what the culture really worships. It worships commerce.”
Some of what Chaput has said in recent months has rubbed me the wrong way at times. This essay — posted at the First Things On the Square blog and originally an address delivered in Peru — is right on the money (so to speak!).