✣ Highlights from the week online
Mother Teresa myths
“Our era is addicted to shock and outrage,” wrote Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble at aleteia.org, so as Mother Teresa’s canonisation draws near “headlines excoriating her will be irresistible”. But many accusations against her are absurd. It is claimed that she “mismanaged money”, but no theory is advanced as to how she spent donations unethically. “Vatican officials confirm that she donated her congregation’s surplus money to be dispersed through the many avenues through which the Church helps the poor.”
Again, critics point to the poor conditions of her houses – not realising that “the Sisters join the poverty of the people they serve. Their mission is not to build state-of-the-art hospitals, or work for political or social change, which many Catholics do.” They care for “people who would otherwise be living and dying on the streets”, and the Sisters themselves live in “complete and utter poverty, sleeping on the floor and washing their one habit in buckets and drying them overnight”.
Of course Mother Teresa was imperfect – but canonised saints are supposed to be holy, not “cookie-cutter perfect”.
Hope for A-students
The story of the rich young man in the Gospels is usually given a straightforward reading, said Melinda Selmys at Patheos – but it misses something. The young man desperately wants to be told he is good. “This guy is someone that I recognise immediately because he’s basically exactly the same personality type as me. He’s the A-student, the one who sucks up to teachers and who likes to be patted on the head. He’s also the type who really struggles with the idea of being less than perfect.”
So Jesus “calls the young man out of his comfort zone” – so that he can understand his need for God’s mercy.
And maybe the story doesn’t end so badly after all. “We often see this boy as one of Christ’s failures, a lost sheep who turns away from the Gospel, but let’s remember that Christ is omniscient. He sees the future. He looks at this young man with eyes of love and this is what he chooses to say to him. The young man goes away sad but also humbled, and we have every reason to hope that this humbling bears good fruit in the years to come.”
Evelyn Waugh “made no secret of his disdain for modern politics”, said Adam DeVille at his Eastern Christian Books blog in a piece to mark the 50th anniversary of Waugh’s death. Before the 1959 election, Waugh wrote a piece explaining that he never voted. He regarded the vote as “a very hazardous process’’ for the sovereign to choose ministers. “Calling popular election a source of ‘many great evils’, [Waugh] ended thus: ‘I do not aspire to advise my sovereign in her choice of servants.’ ”
A Dominican friar has caused panic at Indiana University after he was mistaken for a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The friar was photographed on campus and alarm quickly spread on social media. Onlookers claimed he was armed with a “whip”. The apparent weapon was later identified as rosary beads. One tweet criticised Indiana University, saying: “There’s a man carrying a whip and there’s nothing you can do to make students feel safe?” A poster on a university message board explained: “The man is a very kind priest from St Paul’s. He walks around the campus praying the rosary for students. No hate from him. Only love.”
✣ A Kentucky priest is making a film about a seminarian who is blind. Fr Josh McCarty’s documentary, Unseen, follows the life of Deacon Jamie Dennis, who is 99 per cent blind. Deacon Dennis says his vision is “like looking through less than a three-milli-metre pinhole.”
✣ The Bible is on the latest list of books most objected to at US schools and libraries. It comes sixth in the annual Top 10 of “challenged” books, issued by the American Library Association. The Association’s director James LaRue said people complained that the Bible violated the separation of Church and state.
✣ The week in quotations
Married couples should be encouraged to develop a routine … [This] could include a morning kiss
Pope Francis is calling many of us home, while sending no one away
If only we had the footnotes to the Gospels
Twitter (On Amoris Laetitia)
I can only be funny when I am complaining about something
Daily Telegraph article on the anniversary of Waugh’s death
✣ Statistic of the week
The number of pages in the Pope’s apostolic exhortation
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