Are the Prayers for Syria Starting to Work?

UPDATE: On Sept. 10, Obama tells the nation that he has asked Congress to delay debate on his proposed strike on Syria, a shift announced three days after Pope Francis led a world day of prayer and fasting for peace.

09/09/2013 Comments (6)

On Sept. 7, as the Obama administration lobbied U.S. Senate and House leaders to secure Congressional authorization for a proposed military strike on Syria, Pope Francis led a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria and across the Middle East.  

Two days later, on Sept. 9, President Obama told Fox News, "I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way."

[UPDATE 9/10 9:30 p.m.:  During a televised speech to the American people, Obama said he had asked Congress delay debate on U.S. military intervention in Syria until the administration had time to assess an alternative plan proposed by Russia. The president acknowledged skepticism that the fresh...READ MORE

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"Thank you, God, that I have a job."

On Labor Day, Peggy Noonan echoes Blessed John Paul II's teaching: work is not just about getting a paycheck, it's a "spiritual event."

09/02/2013 Comments (44)

Peggy Noonan marked Labor Day weekend with a column in The Wall Street Journal that celebrated the joy of work. 

A job isn't only a means to a paycheck, it's more. "To work is to pray," the old priests used to say. God made us as many things, including as workers. When you work you serve and take part. To work is to be integrated into the daily life of the nation. There is pride and satisfaction in doing work well, in working with others and learning a discipline or a craft or an art. To work is to grow and to find out who you are.

In return for performing your duties, whatever they are, you receive money that you can use freely and in accordance with your highest desire. A job...READ MORE

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Doubts About the Case for a U.S. Strike on Syria

Even a "limited" strike, say critics, is no substitute for a coherent policy with a specific, defensible goal.

08/30/2013 Comments (3)

The proposed U.S. military strike on Syria has been presented as a "shot across the bow" of the Assad government, accused of using chemical weapons against its own people. Is sending a "message" reason enough to employ military force?

On Aug. 29, the Obama administration released an unclassified intelligence report presenting evidence that the Assad government used chemical weapons to kill an estimated 1,400 people, including 400 children.  According to the New York Times 

A critical piece of the intelligence, officials said, is an intercepted telephone call between Syrian military officials, one of whom seems to suggest that the chemical weapons attack was more devastating than...READ MORE

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The Catholic Church and Same-sex Marriage: Time for Retreat?

Jody Bottum, the former Editor-in-Chief of First Things, argues that the battle against same-sex marriage has been lost, and the bishops are turning off young people by continuing the fight.

08/26/2013 Comments (270)

Is it time for Church leaders to retreat from the public debate on same-sex marriage? 

Jody Bottum, the former editor-in-chief of First Things, believes that the time has indeed arrived for the U.S. bishops to call a truce, at the very least, and re-focus their energies on evangelizing Asia and preparing the faithful for marytrdom.  In a lengthy Aug. 23 post in Commonweal, The Things We Share: A Catholic's Case for Same-sex Marriage, apparently timed to coincide with a New York Times story on  about his change of heart, and the launch of his latest book, Bottum  states the following

We are now at the point where, I believe, American Catholics should accept state recognition of...READ MORE

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Do Opponents of Same-sex Marriage Need "Rehabilitation"?

Oregon's labor commissioner suggests that bakers who refused to supply cake for lesbian wedding need "rehabilitation."

08/20/2013 Comments (310)

"Rehabilitation," a term once associated with charitable programs designed to help social outcasts change course, got a bad rap when Chairman Mao ordered millions of Chinese to leave their homes and jobs in the city and take up hard labor in isolated rural villages.

Now, the term has resurfaced in Oregon, after the Christian owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to supply a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.  The state's Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told the Oregonian that he didn't want to shut down the bakery, whose owners have been accused of violating a state statute banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Acakian sought to present the intention's of the state in a...READ MORE

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Christie Signs New Jersey Bill Banning "Gay Conversion Therapy."

But Christie also raised concerns about "whether the government should legislate the therapy," trumping therapists' right to free speech and parents' right to approve treatment for their children.

08/19/2013 Comments (17)

Update: Christi issued a statement after he signed the bill that sought to present his views on reparative therapy and homosexuality as in opposition to Catholic teaching. But the statement released by the governor's office wrongly suggested that the Church viewed same-sex attraction as a sin. In fact the Church has called on the faithful to respect all persons, irregardless of sexual orientation, and it distinguishes between sexual orientation and sexual acts. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357-2359, outlines this teaching in detail 


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation banning  the practice of providing “gay conversion therapy,” also known as...READ MORE

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Breaking Bad—What Happens When a Man of Science Gets a Death Sentence?

James Bowman on Walter White--the Enlightenment’s “Worse Nightmare”

08/15/2013 Comments (2)

Mayhem and death ensue after a high school science teacher receives a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Film critic, James Bowman, tackles the final season of Breaking Bad, the hit television series,  in a piece for The New Atlantis, the excellent journal published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Bowman writes

All of us are uneasily aware that beneath the good civilizational order in which most readers of these pages and viewers of the show continue to live their lives there is a dark alternative where old rules dominate, the Enlightenment’s recurring bad dream just waiting for the opportunity to reassert itself. Ironically, it is Walt’s Enlightenment credentials as a man of...READ MORE

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Peter Flanigan's Legacy Should Spark a Revolution in School Choice

08/05/2013 Comments (5)

The death of Peter Flanigan, a great visionary in the school-choice movement, was marked by the Wall Street Journal.  The editorial noted the remarkable commitment of Flanigan, who founded the Student-Sponsor Partners, aprivate voucher program that has provided financial assistance and mentoring for over 5,000 children in New York's inner city who were eager to attend great Catholic schools but didn't have the money to cover the tuition.

Here is what the Journal wrote about Flanigan, who was a personal friend. 

An important pioneer and giant of the school-choice movement died earlier this week. Peter Flanigan, an investment banker and influential aide to President Nixon, was 90....READ MORE

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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.