Thought-Provoking Reads, vol. 7

Thomas J. Neal, Neal Obstat Theological Pining, “A harsh and dreadful thing”:

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Sometimes, he said, it’s heroic to simply honestly acknowledge to myself how messed up my family of origin is; or to speak to my sibling in a civil tone; or speak the words “I forgive you” to my dead uncle for his past crimes against me; or pray for a parent who did me harm. “I tell them,” he continued, “sometimes just these tiniest of steps, when we can manage them, can be immense signs of grace at work in us. Things to be proud of. Before the face of God, these seeming nothings can surpass in merit all the gushing virtues in another person who seems to be so naturally capable of more ‘quantitative’ goodness than I’ll ever be.”

John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame News, “Letter from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein”:

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Your concern, as you expressed it, is that “dogma lives loudly in [Professor Barrett], and that is a concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.” I am one in whose heart “dogma lives loudly,” as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation. Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology.

Kevin M. Levin, The Atlantic, “Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments”:

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

That summer, I traveled for the first time to Prague, in the former Soviet-bloc country of Czechoslovakia. I noticed almost immediately the concrete foundations and empty pedestals where monuments to communist leaders once stood. Some statues had been relocated to museums, while others were destroyed; skate boarders and sunbathers had since claimed their spot.

The experience forced me to reconsider my position on the markers back home. I imagined stepping back in time to convince the residents of Prague that the monuments helped them face their past, or gave teachers an important tool with which to engage their students. This proved to be a futile exercise. Regardless of their destination, the monuments were exactly where they needed to be as determined by the community members themselves.

Serrin M. Foster, America, “The Feminist Case Against Abortion”:

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton with Susan B. Anthony (PD-US)

Early feminists argued that women who had abortions were responsible for their actions but that they resorted to abortion primarily because, within families and throughout society, they lacked autonomy, financial resources and emotional support….

We stand in solidarity with women who have been betrayed by those they count on the most, with women who have underestimated their own strength, with women who have experienced abortion and are silent no more, with young men and women who mourn their missing siblings. We mourn with men who weren’t given a choice or who contributed to an abortion that they now regret.

In all its forms, abortion has masked—rather than solved—the problems women face. Abortion is a failed experiment on women. Why celebrate failure?

David Sergeant, The Spectator Australia, “What’s changed in Britain since same-sex marriage?”:

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In the United Kingdom, it has become abundantly clear that redefinition has affected many people, across many spheres. At first glance, these spheres appeared distinct from marriage redefinition. However, subsequent changes, have proved that they are entirely intertwined….

Much was made in the UK, about supposed exemptions, designed to ensure that believers would always be allowed to stay true to their convictions.

Four years later, the very same people who made ‘heartfelt promises’, now work tirelessly to undermine them.

The Economist, “Vive la différence!”:

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What this means is open to interpretation, but Dr. Verma’s take is that the wiring differences underlie some of the variations in male and female cognitive skills. The left and right sides of the cerebrum, in particular, are believed to be specialised for logical and intuitive thought respectively. In her view, the cross-talk between them in women, suggested by the wiring diagrams, helps explain their better memories, social adeptness and ability to multitask, all of which benefit from the hemispheres collaborating. In men, by contrast, within-hemisphere links let them focus on things that do not need complex inputs from both hemispheres. Hence the monomania.

Keri Smith, Medium, “On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself”:

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How easy is it for ordinary humans to commit atrocious acts? History teaches us it’s pretty damn easy when you are blinded to your own hypocrisy. When you believe you are morally superior, when you have dehumanized those you disagree with, you can justify almost anything. In a particularly vocal part of the left, justification for dehumanizing and committing violence against those on the right has already begun.

Shari Rudavsky, IndyStar, “When you find out your mother’s fertility doctor is likely your biological father”:

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Photo: Matt White

Eventually, she and the others came into contact on their own with a total of up to 20 people who say they believe Cline likely is their biological father.

 Now, Ballard worries that her half siblings or their descendants might unwittingly meet, date and marry. The knowledge that more siblings could be out there still haunts her and the others….

No laws exist to specifically prohibit doctors from inseminating patients with their own sperm. Ballard and some of her siblings would like to see such a law passed here, but they have had no success so far in persuading lawmakers.

Emma Dickinson, Abundant Life, “This valley of tears”:

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When a newspaper asked, “What’s wrong with the world?” G.K. Chesterton replied, “Dear Sirs, I am.” His is more than a pithy response; it’s a gem of self-awareness and truth. I want to learn that humility of heart. To recognize the gravity of my own shortcomings. If I have sense enough to recoil from the horrors of overt racism, how much more must I call to mind the stubborn lies that have their hold over me? How much more must I work to break free from my own prejudices, partialities, fears?

Kate Bryan, Washington Post, “I’m a 32-year-old virgin, and I’m living the feminist dream”:

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Photo: Kate Bryan

But I believe that I’m living a fuller, better life because of my commitment to sexual integrity. I spend all day, every day doing the things that I want to do, because I’m not wasting my time worrying about waking up next to a stranger, contracting a sexually transmitted infection or missing a period.

The truth is, I am able to live the feminist dream because I’m not stressing over the things that sex outside of marriage often brings. And I’m not alone.

Rosie Hill, A blog for my mom, “Let’s Talk About Racism”:

Here’s my honesty: I grew up with parents who worked really hard to raise us to be color-blind. Racism was thought to be a thing of the past. Once we hit the Civil Rights Movement in our history studies, it was as though everything was fixed, all minds enlightened, all persons equal. I read that Babysitter’s Club book where Jessi’s family moved to Connecticut and encountered racism and thought, “Wait, seriously? That doesn’t happen anymore. This is ridiculous and unrealistic.” In my mind, there was no racism in the world anymore.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that wasn’t actually the case.

Sean Carroll, America, “Why shouldn’t people be deported if they’re ‘illegal’?”:

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CNS photo / Nancy Wiechec

Nations have a right to secure their borders but, as Catholic Social Teaching reminds us, people also have the right to migrate if they cannot have a dignified life in their country of origin.

Our current system keeps our neighbors from seeking a dignified way of life because of restrictions on work and family visas. It is also extremely difficult to seek and obtain asylum in the United States for those escaping criminal, political or state-sponsored violence in their home countries….

Archbishop John Wester, leader of the Diocese of Santa Fe, N.M., has said that it is not a question of whether or not migrants are breaking the law, but if the law is breaking them. Instead of focusing on enforcement methods that punish those who are living and working among us already—and their children—we should be turning our attention to reforming U.S. immigration law so that it respects migrant’s human dignity, a value we cherish both as Catholics and as Americans.

Jason Goroncy, Paternal Life, “In the Beginning: An Interview with Olivera Petrovich”:

I was really interested in children’s ability to offer both scientific causal explanations and metaphysical explanations, which go beyond the scientific. Japanese culture is very different from Western culture with a very different history of science and religious tradition. So I thought I should be able to get some interesting comparisons between Japanese and Western children….

What is it in people’s thought patterns, in their education, in their further development, in their interaction with other people and disciplines that makes them perceive the world in one way rather than the other? I think experimental cognitive psychology is in a unique position to answer most of these questions because we can’t achieve a great deal in inspiring others to see the world as we see it unless we first understand how the human mind works — and that is just what cognitive psychologists aim to do.


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