How E.J. Dionne understands Pope Francis, who yesterday was selected Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. I think we can all agree that is a well deserved honor.
As the leader of a church that has so long been viewed as dogmatic, hierarchical, and traditional, Francis bids to turn himself into a model of a kind of mystical humility that combines a spirit of moderation with intellectual openness and a radical understanding of what the primacy of the spiritual over the material means. Benedict issued a stern warning against a “dictatorship of relativism.” Francis seems worried about something else entirely.
“If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing,” he has said. “Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists — they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies. I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life.”
Thus is his one “dogmatic certainty” — a thoroughly undogmatic universalism more interested in shattering barriers than erecting them. It’s a very new approach to religion in the modern world, rooted in the oldest of doctrines.
Jon Stewart on .. The Handshake.
First Read: “But here’s probably the best way to view it: Would you greet (or shake hands with) an estranged family member at a memorial service for a loved one? Or do you go out of your way to snub that person? In other words, is that day about you and your conflict? Or about that loved one who’s being memorialized lying in a casket?
We know the answer from the GOP, who are all narcissistic mental cases deserving of institutionalization.
James Antle on Conservative reaction to Mandela:
The right tends to have one of two responses to figures like Mandela abroad or Martin Luther King, Jr. at home: suggest their radicalism is more important than the struggles of the people they championed or to try to claim them as conservatives. Neither approach will do.
The lack of empathy many white conservatives feel toward communities of color may not be the only barrier between the right and minorities. But it is an important barrier.
Many conservatives who have been supportive of civil-rights struggles overseas err in another direction: expressing their concern through bombing and sanctions, as if the people and their leaders live in separate hermetically sealed containers. Condoleezza Rice once compared the war in Iraq and the fight against Jim Crow, an analogy that may strike many Iraqi refugees as inapt.