Thirty Things That Caught My Eye Today: Syria, NYC Catholic Schools, Christmas Cards Are a Must & More



2.  Michael Deegan: Is NYC’s Department of Education trying to sabotage Catholic schools?

The mayor has been on the news lately, saying (rightly) that the key to reopening schools is testing and more testing. That’s great to hear. Why, then, are he and Carranza so dead-set against following state law, now backed by a court order, requiring public and nonpublic kids to receive the same testing resources?


4. Woman who spent years scrubbing explicit video from internet urges tech firms to make it easier to remove


6. Archbishop of Mosul warns of radical Islamists in Europe

“We lost everything in Iraq and the Middle East. And I don’t want France and Europe to lose everything in turn,” Archbishop Najeeb Michaeel (also known as Najib Mikhael Moussa) of Mosul, Iraq, said in an interview with the National Catholic Register’s Solène Tadié

He said that on recent trips to refugee camps in Turkey he has found “several thousand jihadists infiltrated into the hearts of families seeking to reach Europe.” Turkey is “keeping all these people knowing that it will open the doors when it wants to,” he charged. “The problem of migrants is not only humanitarian but also political. It is used for political purposes.”

7. European Parliament says Polish government influenced abortion ruling

The motion from members of European Parliament described the abortion ruling as “yet another example of the political takeover of the judiciary and the systemic collapse of the rule of law in Poland”.

“The aforementioned ruling was pronounced by judges elected by and totally dependent on politicians from the PiS (Law and Justice)-led coalition,” it added.

8. Bret Stephens: Thank You, Justice Gorsuch

The Supreme Court’s decision only temporarily prevents Cuomo from enforcing his executive order, pending a decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals. But it marks an important departure from similar cases earlier this year, when the court deferred to the judgment of governors for how best to handle the pandemic. It also rejects the view (argued by New York State) that Cuomo treats houses of worship in red zones more favorably than he does, say, movie theaters. The right to the free exercise of religion, even if subject to regulation, deserves greater deference than the right to attend your local cineplex.


10. The Jerusalem Post: Mizrahi, Sephardi traditions open Middle East peace

Ashley Perry has been campaigning for years for more recognition and commemoration of the heritage of Jews from the region. He is now CEO of the Heritage Center for Middle East and North Africa Jewry. “The idea is a center chronicling the history of Mizrahi Jewry,” he explained.

One thing he pointed to is that in wake of the Abraham Accords, it is important to note that the “majority of Israelis come from the Middle East, and their grandparents spoke Arabic and knew the mentality and culture, and they should be a natural bridge for peace and reconciliation.” 

11. O. Carter Snead: The Anthropology of Expressive Individualism

What, then, is problematic about the anthropology of expressive individualism and why might it be an ill-suited vision of human identity and flourishing for American public bioethics? To put it most succinctly, expressive individualism fails because it is, to borrow a phrase from Alasdair MacIntyre, “forgetful of the body.” Its vision of the human person does not reflect and thus cannot make sense of the full lived reality of human embodiment, with all that it entails. After all, human beings experience themselves and one another as living bodies, not disembodied wills.

Because human beings live and negotiate the world as bodies, they are necessarily subject to vulnerability, dependence, and finitude common to all living embodied beings, with all of the attendant challenges and gifts that follow. Thus, the anthropology of the atomized, unencumbered, inward-directed self of expressive individualism falls short because it cannot render intelligible either the core human realities of embodiment or recognize the unchosen debts that accrue to all human beings throughout their life spans.

12. Institute for Family Studies: Religion, Childbearing Costs, and Poland’s Baby Bump

High perceived costs do not greatly sway more religious people in their fertility decisions the same way they do less religious people. Among people with low religious salience, about 11% intend to have a child soon in the face of high costs, compared to 32% who perceive lower costs. This almost three-fold difference among less religious people is comparatively tiny among more religious people: 23% of more religious people facing high perceived costs versus 28% of those facing low perceived costs intend to have a child soon. Below is a graphic to illustrate the study’s findings.

13. Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: Windows of inspiration for Catholic men

Frassati House, a men’s residence near Queen’s University, includes stained glass panels of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, the house patron who died in 1925 in Turin, Italy; St. Maximillian Kolbe, the Franciscan publisher and missionary who was martyred at Auschwitz in 1941; St. Oscar Romero, the martyred bishop of San Salvador who was shot while celebrating Mass in 1980; and, as of a few weeks ago, Bl. Karl of Austria, the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire who died in 1922….

The lives of those four men, each in their own way, depicted in glass — a young mountaineer, an archbishop, a Franciscan martyr and an emperor — inspire us when masculine witness is much needed.

14. Daniel Darling: Nobodies Were the First to Know

…there is something significant and powerful about the inclusion of the shepherds in the Jesus story. Luke is reminding us, by mentioning the shepherds, that the kingdom of God isn’t just for the insiders, but for outsiders, like shepherds, like the poor classes where Mary and Joseph came from. It reminds us that the kingdom of God is often made up not of the noble and wise, but of the underclass, those people that have no business being near royalty. Immanuel, God with us, means God is truly among all classes of people, not simply the connected or well-resourced.


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