Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly Roundup

Here are a few stories from this week that deserve notice:

* The cover story for the latest issue of America (a prominent U.S. Catholic magazine) declared comedian and outspoken Catholic Stephen Colbert to be a model catechist (a Catholic who teaches others about the faith). The story uses early church leader (and rhetoric teacher) Augustine of Hippo to show how Colbert similarly embodies key attributes needed to effectively reach others with the basic tenets of the faith. The author concluded:
St. Augustine long ago offered a formula for doing just this: delight the heart, instruct the mind, persuade the will. Stephen Colbert has demonstrated that this formula is still effective in our own time. If Catholic catechists were to apply the lessons of Colbert's success to their own work of evangelization, our country might very well become not just a “Colbert Nation” but a people of God.
Amen!

* On the other end of the spectrum, conservative Christian author and culture warrior Dinesh D'Souza continues to show how not to live. In 2012, the best-selling author seemed to be at his height of influence as his documentary attacking President Barack Obama did well in theaters. However, before that year ended, he had been outed for being engaged to a woman who was not his wife and therefore lost his job as the president of a Christian college (and a few weeks later Obama won reelection). Now, he is facing a federal indictment for violating campaign finance laws by using straw donors to funnel money to the unsuccessful campaign of the 2012 Republican senatorial nominee in New York. D'Souza has for years been a model for how not to be a Christian in politics, although he made a lot of money off his harsh, inaccurate attacks on Obama. With his empire falling apart, perhaps that will mean one less vitriolic voice in politics.

* A new study shows that the richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. That means 85 people have as much as 3.5 billion people. This moral problem calls to mind the words of Jesus: "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" Not even the wealth of those 85 people can train a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle!

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