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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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If I asked you to describe the state of Christianity in Europe, you’d probably answer “not good.” And there’d be ample reason to do so. Most of us are familiar with the depressing statistics regarding church attendance in Western Europe and Scandinavia.
But there is more to Europe than Britain, France, and Sweden. And in Central and Eastern Europe, a different story is being written.
This story was the subject of a recent First Things article by Filip Mazurczak. In it, Mazurczak reveals to readers what is going on in former communist societies such as Hungary and Croatia. For instance, while the European Union notoriously omitted any mention of Europe’s Christian heritage in the preamble to its constitution, Hungary’s new constitution “ties Christianity to Hungarian nationhood.”
Read it all.
The president of Croatia told a Yale University audience Monday that his country’s social and economic future depend, in part, on the religious tolerance of its people.
Ivo Josipovic, himself an avowed agnostic, has made religious dialogue a hallmark of reform efforts in Croatia. It is central to his international dealings, as well.
“The nature of religion is always trying to push us to do something good. That’s very important to me,” Josipovic said during a speech at Yale Divinity School. “I always think that religion can be (a) bridge between different people and different states.”
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Ten years ago, I was nearly 30 and over $90,000 in debt. I had spent my twenties trying to build an interesting life; I had two degrees; I had lived in New York and the Bay Area; I had worked in a series of interesting jobs; I spent a lot of time traveling overseas. But I had also made a couple of critically stupid and shortsighted decisions. I had invested tens of thousands of dollars in a master’s degree in landscape architecture that I realized I didn’t want halfway through. While maxing out my student loans, I had also collected a toxic mix of maxed-out credit cards, personal loans, and $2,000 I had borrowed from my father for a crisis long since forgotten. My life consisted of loan deferments and minimum payments.
Like so many other lost children, I had fallen into a career in IT. The work was boring, but led to jobs with cool organizations—a lot of jobs, because I kept quitting them. As soon as I had any money in the bank, I’d quit and go backpacking in Southeast Asia. My adventures were life-changing experiences, but I was eventually left with a CV that was pretty scattershot.
My luck securing interesting jobs dried up. In 2001, I ended up living with my dad for four months and working at a banking infrastructure company in suburban Pittsburgh. I should have taken that as a warning that I needed to get it together, but I thought it was just an aberration. It was not.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Croatia Middle East Iraq
If religion, ethics and a moral conscience are banished from informing the public realm, "then the crisis of the West has no remedy and Europe is destined to collapse in on itself" and risk falling prey to every form of tyranny, he said in an audience with Croatia's political, religious, cultural, business and academic representatives.
Free and just democracies thrive when citizens' consciences have been formed by love and Christianity's "logic of gift" in which the good of the whole human family is sought after, not narrow self-interests, the pope said June 4 in Zagreb's ornate Croatian National Theater.
"The quality of social and civil life and the quality of democracy depend in large measure" on all citizens possessing and exercising a conscience that listens, not to subjective feelings, but to an objective truth that recognizes one's duty to God and all human beings, he said.
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Pope Benedict XVI has celebrated Mass, focusing on family values, before tens of thousands of people in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
He spoke of the "disintegration" of the family, and urged couples not to give in to a "secularised mentality" of living together instead of marrying.
He later visited the tomb of a controversial wartime cardinal.
This is Pope Benedict's first visit to the staunchly Catholic nation and he has received a warm welcome.
Read it all.
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