Elizabeth Scalia ("anchoress")
The Internet is a place without genuine boundaries. Unlike a magazine, its ideas are not contained between two covers with defined limits; unlike a television or radio broadcast, it is not subject to the constraints of time, or, for that matter, reliant upon sponsorship and underwriters.
Such expansive freedom is both a gift and a terrible temptation to our egos, a force for disorientation and therefore a true battleground for souls.
Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Pope Benedict XVI
is a person who does not Tweet or have a personal blog, he is very attentive and knows well what is happening in the world.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications:
We are here, therefore, for a dialogue: a dialogue that shows on our part a belief in the concrete, particular and important consistency of your presence in the world of communications, and also wants to communicate to you our desire to encourage and foster an already established relationship -- and is it too much to hope for? -- a certain familiarity.
This is not just a meeting of Catholic bloggers, even if many of you are inspired by Gospel values, but should be a particularly animated moment -- Pope Benedict repeatedly invites us to this - to a respectful dialogue: a respect for the truths of others while being aware of what we carry in our hearts in the committed and passionate adherence to Christ the Lord.
Organizer Richard Rouse
It went really well. I’m really glad we had this meeting. It was completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable so I’m glad that it’s taken place. I thought the best thing was the meeting face to face of different bloggers. That was great.
After a series of trash talking tweets posted throughout the meeting on the virtues of blogging platforms, a Vatican official strode to the microphone and said "My brothers and sisters in Christ. We must stop this squabbling and address this right now." He then ordered mystified bloggers using the Blogger platform to move to his right, and the WordPress users to his the left. As everyone stood around, feeling somewhat naked without their laptops and IPads, he came back with a long piece of rope and announced solemnly, "Tug of War."
"The set was simple: the facade of the house of Combernon in France: a couple of doors for entrances and exits, and some shovels and picks lined up in front — ready for manual labor. Not only drama, but also talks, discussions, and music unfolded against this silent presence, this house, which served as a visual theme uniting many diverse expressions of humanity."
Read the rest at ilsussidiario.net: A French House in New York City
Yesterday, at the New York Encounter, the Mass was accompanied by the Gospel Choir of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem. Perhaps I was expecting something more rowdy than the reverent, moving music we were treated to. The songs were all about trust in God and asking his help in conducting our life. The words were simple, the music easy to pick up, the singing heartfelt, and some of the church members were scattered throughout the auditorium to worship with and encourage the rest of us. The clapping was restrained and purposeful. It was about praise.
Yesterday's post from Msgr. Charles Pope describes the African American contribution to liturgy in a very comprehensive way. I so appreciated this article after the liturgical experience of yesterday and am grateful to the choir for so generously sharing their faith with us. In his second point, he described the particular character of this music:
One of the glories of musical repertoire of the African American Parishes is that it is almost exclusively focused on God and what He is doing. We have remarked here before how much modern Catholic music is far too focused on us, who we are, and what we are doing. Not so in the gospel music tradition where God is invariably the theme. In an anthropocentric time, this is a refreshing stream from which to draw. You may have whatever feelings you have about the style of Gospel music, but the bottom line is that it is about God. One song says, God is a good God, he is great God, he can do anything but fail. Another says, God and God alone! Another songs says, God never fails! And on and on. Even when we mention ourselves it is only to remember God: We’ve come this far by faith, Leaning on the Lord, trusting in his holy word, He’s never failed me yet!
Following is a video of one of the songs from yesterday's Mass, "I Can Go to God in Prayer":
The new president of Catholic University of America, John Garvey, gave the keynote speech at the New York Encounter cultural festival, which opened last night at the Manhattan Center in New York. After a thirty-five year career as a lawyer, last year he took up reins at the Catholic university founded in 1887 by all the bishops of the U.S. to offer graduate degrees in the pontifical faculties of theology, philosophy and canon law.
One year after President Obama was offered an honorary degree at Notre Dame, Garvey dissected the issue which created a firestorm in the Church and the university community. To the accusation of the hierarchy limiting academic freedom in this case, Garvey drew the distinction between allowing debate and dialogue on one hand, and on the other conferring an honor or award as happened at Notre Dame. The U.S. bishops had offered clear guidelines that politicians who did not support the moral principle of life could not be offered a platform or an award. Because of the magnitude and seriousness of abortion, it could not be put on a par with other favorable stands such as on universal health care or ending the war in Iraq. The problem arises from the symbolic meaning of conferring the honorary degree which creates scandal. In any case, Garvey suggested that both sides still needed to "tone it down a bit".
Garvey also discussed lawsuits involving student groups in both public and private universities. In Gay Rights Coalition vs. Georgetown, the D.C. Court of Appeals decided that while not required to offer official recognition, the school did need to give the student group a variety of services. In Christian Legal Society vs. Hastings, the students lost official status due to a required statement of faith and morals for its officers. While claiming to be neutral, these decisions favor a particular dominant opinion, restricting the freedom of both colleges and student groups to offer a distinct intellectual and moral view.
As opposed to the modernist theory that the best way to find truth is through many voices, Garvey emphasized that academic freedom must offer the possibility of carving out a distinct culture. For examples, he gave institutions like the New York Times or Fox News, or movements like the Chicago School of Economics or the Oxford Movement. Universities can foster such intellectual ferment only through the freedom to selectively hire faculty, admit students and offer lectures and courses. For Garvey, this is the "essence of intellectual construction." Although it is little appreciated, in fact, universities are "first amendment actors creating public culture".