Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war!
— Pope Francis. See here about his call for September 7.
Please feel free to check out the slideshow tour from a visit there on Pentecost of 2013. Add links to the comments section if you know of a similar page for a location near you! (Nothing like a little e-pilgrimage every once in a while).
Free thought has exhausted its own freedom. It is weary of its own success. If any eager freethinker now hails philosophic freedom as the dawn, he is only like the man in Mark Twain who came out wrapped in blankets to see the sun rise and was just in time to see it set. . . . We have no more questions left to ask. We have looked for questions in the darkest corners and on the wildest peaks. We have found all the questions that can be found. It is time we gave up looking for questions and began looking for answers.
The Conversion on the Road To Damascus was created in 1601 by Caravaggio. It depicts the conversion of Saul (later St. Paul) on his trip to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. See Acts Chapter 9.
It’s an amazing work, capturing the emotion of the event as told, but certainly containing many of Caravaggio’s own impressions. The horse, unsurprised, looks on casually. Meanwhile Paul looks stunned, blinded and as if the world just came out from under him. And it did. All of the action of the picture is on the ground with Paul, with most of the emotion and power of it lying behind his eyelids.
Father Robert Barron and his Word On Fire website, found here, have been meeting the popular culture where it lives, on podcoasts, youtube and the internet in general, for quite some time. He does so in an engaging way, weaving the contemporary with the timeless. Those who haven’t heard of him owe it to themselves to take a look. Here Traditium links to its Top 5 Father Barron videos for those who are open to a different perspective on popular culture and life in general.
Socialism is defined by Dictionary.com as “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.” Put into more practical terms, it means that the government owns or runs industry and services that it need not own or run because of a belief that it can best provide for the welfare of the people.
Everyone can certainly agree that the federal government must be in charge of some matters. Indeed in the United States that is exactly the purpose of the Constitution—it expressly specifies the powers and responsibilities of government, then in its Tenth Amendment the Constitution vests all remaining powers in the people and the States. See here.
The question is how much the federal government should do when it has a power. For example, it is the federal government’s right and responsibility to regulate “commerce between the States” and “provide for the common Defense.” See Article I, here. Thus, while there were no airplanes flying over the founder’s heads as they ratified the Constitution, clearly Congress has a responsibility to pass necessary safety and commerce-related laws regarding air travel. Many countries, however, have national airlines where the passenger airlines in the United States are private. Does the federal government have the power to take over this section of the economy? Possibly. Should it? No. To do so would clearly be a move from free enterprise and capitalism toward socialism, by any definition. And despite the roller-coaster nature of the airline industry as a business, this can be run by private enterprise. And so it should.
Traditionally, of course, Europe is more socialist. Not only in fact but in name. In America to call something socialist has distinctly negative implications, while in Europe political parties take on the name socialist prominently and without shame. Quite apart from the connotation (how a word is thought of in a culture), it is sometimes important to take the denotation (the dictionary definition) and apply it. And thus the question: Is America slowly but steadily moving from capitalism toward socialism? A Newsweek cover piece suggested we have been, and implied that it is not such a bad thing. See here. Looking back, the article was right in its first point, but remains profoundly wrong in its second.