Saturday, 20 October 2007

opinion columns on Saturday

The Times has Peter Mullen writing that Wealth creation can atone for the sins of Mammon.

The Guardian has Paul Oestreicher writing about Franz Jägerstätter.

The Daily Telegraph has Christopher Howse reviewing books: In and out of Hitler’s Reich.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times wrote about a film: This move hands the atheists a PR coup.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 8:08am BST | TrackBack
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re: Giles Fraser's article--

What the film-makers are really afraid of, in the US at any rate, is bad publicity. It is almost a foregone conclusion that, if a film with an anti-Catholic bias (or a perceived one) opens, then William Donoghue of the "Catholic League" will all over TV denouncing it, calling it part of the overwhelming anti-Catholic attitudes of the media.

That the claimed membership of Donoghue's organization seems to be Donoghue, his staff, and anybody who ever sent it even a dollar, is beside the point. Donoghue will send out a press release, the morning talk shows will invite him on to talk about it, and never challenge him on the claims.

Of course, if there really were an anti-Catholic bias in the media, Donoghue would never get on the air.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 12:45pm BST

One Giles made (possibly inadvertently) is that what is portrayed is often sanitised to make it more pleasing.

One of the wake up calls after the 2004 SE Asian Tsunami was not that people hated Americans because they were holy, but because they were selfish, arrogant and cruel. It was a wakeup call.

Mullens' article made me laugh. It made me think that some see the world as too black and white. You know, Original Sin or Divine Purity, Capitalism or Socialism, Good or Bad.

I couldn't help but think about Australia's previous NSW Premier, Bob Carr, who when he retired said that his government had been charting "the third way". That is, they had tried to take the best from capitalist traditions and marry those with the best from social traditions, to chart a course that had the most benefits and the least liabilities.

On "Original Sin", I don't think that should be the bedrock from which Christianity is based as it is a refutation of Jesus' success. Rather, the bedrock should be "the Great Forgiveness".

The world is no longer black and white, God no longer kills or blesses you in one fell swoop. We are all a little bit holy and a little bit fallen, the exact mix at anytime varies, but none is without sin and yet we are all loved.

Focussing on sin then leads to obsessions which leads to pride and complacency which then leads to accussations and repression which then leads to tyranny.

Focussing on forgiveness leads to pragmatism which leads to humility and concern which then leads to compassion and nurturing which then leads to peace.

Franz Jägerstätter understood this at a deep level when he made a fundamental decision to be against tyranny.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 10:29pm BST

Why - and I mean w h y - didn't more people do as Franz Jägerstätter?

Why was he a dirty secret for decades after?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 7:58am BST

"Why was he a dirty secret for decades after?"

Because he did what they lacked the insight or the courage to do. You always hate those most who do what you know you ought to be doing but aren't.

But, honestly, would you have had the courage to do likewise? Married with children? I know I would not.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 10:50am BST

Don't underestimate yourself Erika.

There are some souls who did some incredibly brave things during that terrible time in European history. Not all were "out there" in the public way, but there were souls who managed to create underground highways to get Jews and soldiers outside safely outside of enemy lines.

We often think of bravery as going into battle or grandstanding in a debate. Sometimes bravery is simply doing the right thing when no one else is, and inspiring others by your actions and fruits, rather than words and posturing.

God knows the quiet souls as well as the loud ones, God relies on the meek souls to keep the oil of civilisations flowing.

You might find this article from Algemeiner inspirational http://www.algemeiner.com/generic.asp?ID=4114 It opens with "More than three millennia ago, Judaism understood that the battle for society began at the home. The family – not the synagogue, not the university, not the market place, not the battlefield -- was the nucleus of civilization.

"Tell it to your child," Moses keeps on telling the Israelites in the Bible. The Torah understood that it is in the home – in the loving, nonjudgmental, and warm embrace of the home, “the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule" (as a wise man once remarked) – where the future of humanity is created."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 9:50pm BST

Where are today's Jagerstatters? I'm sure that if they are here, they and their stories are being silenced and hidden. We're not to know about them, any more that we knew about Jagerstatter until now. I'm one of those fools who wants pacifists and conscientious objectors, and even those U.S. Americans who moved to Canada during the Vietnam war to avoid the draft, to be honored as heroes who also protect and protected our freedoms.
Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 10:02pm BST

Lois

I agree. The world is obsessed with flamboyance and extravagence, posturing and power.

The quiet gentle achievers are there, they just don't hit the mainstream press.

Unfortunately some churches have become so absorbed with playing the marketing game that they also overlook those gentle souls.

Civilisations are not built on waves of war and conquest. They are interruptions to the process that keeps history woven together.

There are no great leaders without food or conception.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 22 October 2007 at 9:26am BST
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