1. Dr. King’s Radical Biblical Vision, We disagree about some aspects of his legacy, but the role of faith is indisputable.

By Cornel West and Robert P. George, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2018, Page A13, Houses of Worship

In his own time Martin Luther King Jr. was regarded by some as a rabble rouser and even a communist sympathizer, and by others as an Uncle Tom and a “house Negro.” In demanding an immediate end to segregation and Jim Crow, he was too radical for some. In eschewing violence and hatred of anyone—including even the defenders of racial injustice—he was too “tame” and forgiving for others.

Fifty years after his death, he is almost universally revered. Though he did not fit perfectly into any ideological camp during his lifetime, he is claimed today by people across the political spectrum. His words are often invoked to defend causes that he himself did not live to form an opinion about—from opposition to affirmative action to advocacy of same-sex marriage. Everybody, it seems, thinks King would be on their side.

We can and should do our best to think about the implications of his basic principles, but often reasonable people of goodwill disagree about precisely what those implications are. The two of us disagree on some of these issues, though we continue to listen to and engage each other. This has deepened our understanding of King’s principles—especially his focus on the equal dignity and sanctity inherent to every human life.

It was no mere ideology, but rather this biblically based radical love ethic that enabled Martin Luther King Jr. to embrace, fully and without reservation, the idea of America as a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” And it was radical love that drove him to risk—and give—his life in the cause of calling his fellow citizens finally and fully to live up to our national ideal of “liberty and justice for all.”

Mr. West is a professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard. Mr. George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton. 


2. Celebrating God’s Greatest Joy.

By Fr. Roger J. Landry, The Anchor, April 6, 2018

Fr. Roger J. Landry is the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

As the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday on April 8, I am delighted that I will be in Rome.

The last time I was in Rome for the Second Sunday of Easter was when I was a newly ordained priest. It was on that day I had what I describe as my “conversion” to Divine Mercy.

Previously I had an immature aversion to the Divine Mercy devotion, preferring to focus on the devotions I already loved and desiring to use my Rosary beads exclusively for the Rosary.

On the morning of April 30, 2000, however, after celebrating Mass inside the Basilica of St. Peter, I headed into the Square soon before the crowds were let in for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska.

Immediately after finishing my breviary at in a back corner of one of the front sections, a young man approached and asked in Italian whether I would hear his confession and knelt before me on the bricks of St. Peter’s Square. For the next two hours and 45 minutes — until literally 10 seconds before the organ started playing the entrance antiphon — I heard confessions in that open-air make-shift confessional in Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish and English. And I learned from the inside, as only a priest is privileged to, the extraordinary fruits of devotion to Divine Mercy in people from so many cultures and continents.


3. China Bans Online Bible Sales as It Tightens Religious Controls.

By Ian Johnson, The New York Times, Asia Pacific, April 5, 2018

The Chinese government has banned online retailers from selling the Bible, moving in the wake of new rules to control the country’s burgeoning religious scene.

The measures to limit Bible sales were announced over the weekend and began taking effect this week. By Thursday, internet searches for the Bible came up empty on leading online Chinese retailers, such as JD.comTaobao, and Amazon, although some retailers offered analyses of the Bible or illustrated storybooks.

The move aligns with a longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity in China. Among China’s major religions — which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and folk beliefs — Christianity is the only one whose major holy text cannot be sold through normal commercial channels. The Bible is printed in China but legally available only at church bookstores.

The moves also come as China is engaged in negotiations with the Vatican to end the split between the underground and government-run Catholic church. This would end a nearly 70-year split between the Chinese government and the global church, which Beijing traces to the Vatican’s historically strong anti-Communist stance.

Observers said the new measures could be a sign of a broader crackdown. At a news conference on Tuesday outlining Beijing’s approach, a government spokesman said the Vatican would never be allowed control over the clergy in China. That came after a recent government reorganization in which a hard-line Communist Party department took over management of religious policy.


4. Defending the Indefensible at Holy Cross.

By George Weigel, National Review Online, April 5, 2018, 5:19 PM

Controversy continues to swirl around Professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew, the Class of 1956 Chair of New Testament Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Professor Liew came to national attention during Holy Week, when an enterprising Holy Cross senior, writing in the college’s alternative newspaper, the Fenwick Review, published extracts from one of Liew’s scholarly (sic) articles, in which the professor interpreted the Gospel of St. John as furtively suggesting that Jesus experienced his Passion as homoerotic incest. This bizarre, if not blasphemous, reading of the New Testament was of a piece with others of Professor Liew’s published essays, which include “Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word Across Different Worlds” and “The Gospel of Bare Life: Reading Death, Dream, and Desire through John’s Jesus.” Professor Liew, it seems, has a point of view. Some might even call it an obsession.

Frolics in the sandbox of postmodern queer theory and gender theory were not exactly what John Henry Newman had in mind in describing what a university ought to be. It might help those hiding behind the barricades of academic freedom at Holy Cross to remember that, if they hear from a sufficient number of alumni and parents prepared to say, “Enough of this foolishness is enough.”


5. Pope Francis to issue apostolic exhortation on holiness.

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, April 5, 2018, 10:07 AM

Pope Francis will next week publish an apostolic exhortation on holiness titled Gaudete et exsultate, or “Rejoice and be glad”, the Vatican announced Thursday.

Subtitled “on the call to holiness in the contemporary world”, the exhortation will be presented April 9 by Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome and archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. 

Italian journalist Gianni Valente and Paola Bignardi, former president of Catholic Action Italy, will also  speak at the presentation.

Gaudete et exsultate will be the third apostolic exhortation issued by Pope Francis. In 2016 he issued Amoris laetitia, on love in the family, and in 2013 Evangelii gaudium, on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.

An apostolic exhortation is one form of the ordinary teaching authority of the Pope. Through an exhortation, the Pope conveys a message to faithful about a particular area relevant to living out the Catholic faith.

An apostolic exhortation is often written as a follow-up document to a Synod of Bishops, as was the case for Amoris laetitia.