Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholicism’

Top 173 Things in World History: #2. Jesus

I know; I thought he would be No. 1, too. But this is the “Top 173 Things in World History” and not the “best.” And while Jesus may have been the best thing in world history—at least according to me—he didn’t do quite enough to get the top spot. You know, his ministry did only last like a year.

But, regardless where you stand on Christianity and religion in general, it’s difficult to deny the transformative significance of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the most influential individual human being of at least the last 2000 years and probably going back even further, into those years we define by how far they were from his birth. You can interpret that influence as good or bad, but you cannot reject it. Continue reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Lent

Note: I know Lent started a week ago. But this is a Beginner’s Guide to Lent, not a Guide to the Beginning of Lent. Timeliness isn’t always a concern at NPI.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic neighborhood, going to Roman Catholic schools, and attending Roman Catholic Mass every Sunday. So the idea of Lent is fairly simple and straightforward to me.

But every once in a while, someone like Josh—who you may have been able to infer did not grow up in a Roman Catholic neighborhood, go to Roman Catholic school, and attend Roman Catholic Mass every Sunday—reminds me that certain things we Catholics do—like “put that cross on our heads” (his words, not mine)—strike others as awfully strange.

Lent, of course, starts on Ash Wednesday, which is not, contrary to popular belief, a holy day of obligation. Still, any good Catholic will attend a short prayer service, which typically entails a reading, a Gospel, a brief sermon, and the distribution of ashes. The ashes are meant to remind us that we were made from dust and to dust we shall return. As a result, my high school’s prayer service always concluded by playing the sacred recording, “Dust in the Wind,” by Kansas.

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Religious Diversity and the Supreme Court

Sonia-SotomayorIn the New York Times, Law Professor Ann Althouse poses an interesting hypothetical question for Sonia Sotomayor:

“If a diverse array of justices is desirable, should we not be concerned that if you are confirmed, six out of the nine justices will be Roman Catholics, or is it somehow wrong to start paying attention to the extreme overrepresentation of Catholicism on the court at the moment when we have our first Hispanic nominee?”

On her blog, she further argues:

“I think religious diversity is particularly important, because it has more to do with the individual’s mind. It’s part of one’s thinking, and legal analysis is thinking. Race and ethnicity might have an effect on your thinking — in that it may involve various personal experiences and feelings of identification — but it is not a characteristic that you have by deciding to have it or by believing you have it. Religion is different.”
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