I did the surfing, so you don’t have to. Here are the fruits of today’s writer’s block: The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the weird from around the Web this week.
1. Have you been paying attention to how young Catholics in France are rallying against gay marriage? Because you should.
This week, the French magazine, Nouvel Observateur, goes all National Geographic, exploring the strange ways of young French Catholics who actually believe what the Church teaches.
Everyone thought they had disappeared, and they had indeed become invisible to most of us. But for the past six months, they have been resurfacing and taking to the streets relentlessly to protest against gay marriage. They use their networks to organize events and rallies, as well as candlelit sit-ins and vigils. As defenders of the so-called traditional family, they represent a large proportion of those who march against same-sex marriage.
“It is a real groundswell,” says Christine Pedotti, editor-in-chief at Témoignage chrétien (“Christian Testimony”), the only Catholic magazine to favor gay marriage. “These young conservative activists obey the Church hierarchy and are addicted to family values and genuflecting. This is the new face of the Church.”
Family values and genuflecting. How quaint.
2. In Baltimore, a “sex fetish” convention slated to be held in a local community center was cancelled, after a court agreed with local protests.
Strangely enough, parents didn’t like the idea of classes on “erotic whipping, polyamory and rope bondage” being offered in the same place where their kids play soccer.
Don’t get too excited about the triumph of common sense though. Here’s what the attorney who sought the injunction against the convention had to say about the event:
“We do not pass judgment on what it is they are electing to do; they just can’t do it in close proximity to children,” said attorney Susan Green.
My question: Why? Why can’t they pass judgment? Has it really become beyond the pale to think that whips and polyamory are not subjects in which nice people should be interested?
3. It’s not a myth: Liberal men are girly men.
The Daily Mail reports on a new study out of Denmark which concludes that “Physically strong men are more likely to have right-wing political views.”
The figures revealed that men with higher upper-body strength were less likely to support left-wing policies on the redistribution of wealth. But men with low upper-body strength were more likely to put their own self-interest aside and support a welfare state.
So much to say. So much that shouldn’t be said.
4. Worried you’re posting too many stories about the Faith on your Facebook page? Worry no more.
In yesterday’s homily, Pope Francis called upon Catholics to become holy pains in the you-know-what and implore the Holy Spirit for…wait for it…”the grace to be annoying.”
“There are backseat Christians, right? Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal. Today we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this Apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the Church, the grace to go out to the outskirts of life. The Church has so much need of this!…So let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace of Apostolic zeal, let’s be Christians with apostolic zeal. And if we annoy people, blessed be the Lord. Onwards, as the Lord says to Paul, ‘take courage!’ ”
Easiest papal advice I’ve heard in a long time.
Packed between its lovely, glossy covers, you’ll find relevant, intelligent writing; clothing which proves my often-made point that stylish and modest are not mutually exclusive realities; and beautiful women who don’t look like they need to be given a sandwhich (or 10) poste haste. I’ve ordered my subscription. Have you ordered yours?
6. A book recommendation:
Mary Eberstadt’s “How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization.”
My review of the book ran in OSV last week. Unfortunately, it’s for subscribers’ eyes only, so I can’t link to it. But here’s a snippet:
According to Eberstadt, the trends that signal a decline in the traditional family—rising rates of out-of-wedlock births, cohabitation, and divorce, paired with falling rates of marriage and an ever-shrinking family size—aren’t simply the consequence of secularization. They also are part of the cause.
To prove her point, Eberstadt weaves together a vast array of sociological and demographic data, demonstrating that in ages both past and present, wedding rings and babies tend to pull women and men towards religious practice. So, where there are more marriages and more babies, there’s also “more God.” And where there are fewer marriages and fewer babies? Then, there’s “less God.”
In sum, the book is good—really good. And if you want a deeper , more data-rich understanding of why the practice of organized religion in the West is now in a free fall, you should read it.
7. Video of the week: “Art and Liturgy in Two Minutes”
The whole thing is quotable, but in sum: “A faithful celebration of the liturgy makes for a faithful and holy people of God?”—Abbot Michael Zielinski, OSB, bureau chief of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Celebration of the Sacraments.
Watch it. Share it.