Harry rushes to see Dumbledore, who tells him to find “the one who created everything”, as he’s the only power that can stop Voldemort. . . .
Harry is then teleported to an orthodox church where he learns his parents baptised him into Orthodoxy just before they died.
He heads to Jerusalem to see the descent of the Holy Flame with his new friends – Anastas and Agniya, two Orthodox siblings he met along the way.
The final encounter with Voldemort happens in the Holy Land and with the help of Saint Cyprianus, his patron saint, Harry defeats his enemy.
The treatment of magic in the original Harry Potter series was greeted with skepticism by many Christians, both inside and outside Orthodoxy. The Greek Orthodox Church in Thrace said the books “acquaint people with evil, wizardry, the occult and demonology” and Orthodox writer Galina Voznesenskaya charged the books with “pure Satanism.”
More positive Orthodox assessments of Rowling’s creation came from Andrei Kuraev in his 2003 book Harry Potter in the Church and John Granger in Looking for God in Harry Potter. With this new play, Harry Potter is well on his way from satanist to saint.
Google’s decision to display the visage of Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday has provoked immediate fury from many corners. The decision indeed is difficult to justify. Yet Google’s odd choice should remind us that whatever one thinks of Chavez’s politics, they are impossible to understand apart from his belief in the resurrected Christ.
As Ronald A. Wells recounts in the Journal of Presbyterian History, in 1966 the United Farm Workers organized a march from Delano, California, to the state capitol of California in order to demand recognition of the rights of farm workers. While the outside world saw Chavez’s protest as a political march, he and the farm workers also saw it as a pilgrimage. The slogan they chose was “Peregrinacion, Penitencia, Revolucion,” or “Pilgrimage, Penitence, Revolution.”
As seen in archival footage from KQED television, the Christian nature of the event was unmistakable. The 300-mile march, led by an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was scheduled to end on Good Friday. A large rally, beginning with Mass, was to take place on Easter Sunday.
In an open letter, Chavez explained his hope that the march would function as a pilgrimage, that it would not only raise awareness of injustice, but also remind strikers of their own sins:
Throughout the Spanish-speaking world there is another tradition that touches the present march, that of Lenten penitential processions. . . . [It is] in the blood of the Mexican American and the Delano March will therefore be one of penance—public penance for the sins of the strikers, their own personal sins as well as their yielding perhaps to feelings of hatred and revenge in the strike itself. They hope by the march to set themselves at peace with the Lord, so that the justice of their cause will be purified of lesser motivations.
As a Christian, Chavez believed that the first revolution had to be a revolution of the soul, which meant that personal sacrifices were demanded—not just of the oppressor, but of the oppressed. Journalist Frank Bardacke observed, “What many of the liberals and radicals on the staff of the union could never understand was that all the fasts, the long marches and the insistence on personal sacrifice were not publicity gimmicks, they were the essential Chavez.”
Chavez understood at least in part Nicolás Gómez Dávila’s warning that too often politics consists of “schemes for putting the Beatitudes into effect,” for “reducing to a collective structure external to the individual an ethical behavior that, unless it is individual and internal, is nothing.”
For Chavez, social reform was never merely external. Without peace of spirit and purity of heart, there was little point in pursuing justice. Collective bargaining, just wages, shorter workdays: for Chavez none of these made sense outside the fact of his risen Lord.
Ayn Rand was no fan of C.S. Lewis. She called the famous apologist an “abysmal bastard,” a “monstrosity,” a “cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-metaphysical mediocrity,” a “pickpocket of concepts,” and a “God-damn, beaten mystic.” (I suspect Lewis would have particularly relished the last of these.)
These insults and more can be found in her marginal notes on a copy of Lewis’ Abolition of Man, as printed in Ayn Rand’s Marginalia: Her critical comments on the writings of over 20 authors, edited by Robert Mayhew. Excerpts appear below, with Lewis’ writing (complete with Rand’s highlighting and underlining) on the left and Rand’s notes on the right.
Congratulations to our friend Russell Moore on being named head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). His predecessor Richard Land issued the following statement:
I am delighted that the Holy Spirit has led the ERLC’s trustees to Dr. Russell Moore as the commission’s next president. Dr. Moore is a godly Christian minister, a devoted husband and father and a convictional, committed Baptist. His excellent academic preparation, combined with his keen mind and his tender heart for God and His people, make him a person uniquely suited to serve our Savior and Southern Baptists in this crucial role at such a critical moment in our nation’s history.
I join the trustees and ERLC staff in committing to pray for Russell and his dear family as he prepares to assume the tremendous responsibilities of the ERLC presidency.
The ERLC has a writeup of his appointment here and a biographical booklet here. For many of us, though, he’s a man who needs no introduction.
Magdi Cristiano Allam, an Egyptian-born Muslim whom Pope Benedict publicly baptised at Easter five years ago in St Peter’s Basilica has announced that he is leaving the Church because it has taken too soft a stand against Islam.
“My conversion to Catholicism, which came at the hands of Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil on 22 March 2008, I now consider finished in combination with the end of his pontificate,” Mr Allam wrote on Monday in the right-wing Milan daily, Il Giornale. . . .
“The thing that drove me away from the Church more than any other factor was religious relativism, in particular the legitimisation of Islam as a true religion,” he said. Mr Allam said Islam was “an intrinsically violent ideology” that had to be courageously opposed as “incompatible with our civilisation and fundamental human rights.”
The secular mind has been complacent, even blithe, in the face of Christianity’s decline in Europe and the simultaneous rise of an assertive Islam. Elites hesitate to acknowledge the ethical debt liberalism owes to Christianity, ropelining any attempt to mention God in the European Constitution and denying the Marian inspiration for the circle of stars in the European flag. The reason for this comical dissembling is that liberalism understands itself as an ideal without a genealogy, a species nowhere native and nowhere exotic. Such historical blindness has led to the increasingly unsupportable belief that integrating Turkish Muslims into the European project is no more fraught or difficult than integrating Dutch Protestants.
Yet critics like Allam who view Islam as a mere “ideology” centered on violence fall into their own, no less grievous, error. Like liberalism, Islam owes no small debt to Christianity. Slander of one can verge into slander of the other. As Robert Louis Wilken warned in Christianity Face to Face with Islam, “Given the experience of centuries, it is tempting for Christians to see Islam as the enemy. Often it has been the enemy. But if that remains our dominant paradigm for looking at the religion, we deny something of ourselves.”
In retrospect, Allam’s disappointment seems inevitable. If we mistake Islam for a mere ideology of violence, we risk mistaking Christianity as merely an ideology that allows us to oppose that violence. Yet Christ did not come to this earth or found his church to oppose Islam but to propose the gospel. Not to eclipse the moon, but to reveal the Son.
Benedict’s pontificate has come to an end; in time Islam will, too. Neither event should affect whether or not one affirms Christian truth or chooses to be in communion with the bishop of Rome (Magdi has left his church but remains a Christian). That Allam so grievously fails to understand this aspect of Christian truth ought to warn us against the judgment of Islam he shares with many other anti-Islam advocates.
A worker has admitted to snipping the spines of ten babies at Kermit Gosnell’s clinic, reports the AP:
A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox abortions at a West Philadelphia clinic. And she said Dr. Kermit Gosnell and another employee did the same to terminate pregnancies. . . .
She once had to kill a baby delivered in a toilet, cutting its neck with scissors, she said. Asked if she knew that was wrong, she said, “At first I didn’t.”
“Unorthodox abortions”: Is this really the strongest language we can muster for what happened in that clinic?
Jay Michaelson, contributing editor to the Jewish Daily Forward, is rolling out a report titled “Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights.” In it he makes the conspiracy-minded claim that groups like the Becket Fund are part of a “Roman Catholic campaign that is at least 150 years old to create . . . a separate religious magisterium beyond the rule of law.”
But facts have gotten in the way of Michaelson’s publicity push. In a piece at the Jewish Daily Forward, Michaelson refers to the Becket Fund as “an arch right-wing advocacy organization funded by the Catholic Church.”
Michaelson’s claim, if true, would be big news. Imagine: the Roman Catholic Church, squeezed by declining tithes and mounting sexual abuse payouts, nonetheless chooses to fund an outside legal defense fund.
So I asked Jeffrey Gasser of the Becket Fund’s communications office if Michaelson was right.
“The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has never received any funding from the Catholic Church,” Gasser said.
Nor could they easily have done so; the Catholic Church is not a monolithic body capable of doling out funding but rather a large network of financially distinct entities.
The Forward has yet to issue a correction, but a companion piece Michaelson wrote for the Daily Beast already has a significant correction of what was apparently a fabricated quotation:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article contained a quote from the Orthodox Union’s executive director of public policy, Nathan Diament, regarding same-sex marriage. The authenticity of the quote could not be verified. We have removed the quote and apologize for the error.
The main error has been fixed, but the piece still wrongly refers to the Ethics and Public Policy Center as the “Ethics and Public Policy Institute.”
Errors large and small extend into Michaelson’s 30,000-word report, which contains misspellings of names of significant actors in his drama (a “Nathan Diamant” makes an appearance) as well as more serious exaggerations typical of the conspiratorial mind.
The Becket Fund’s “entire leadership and funder base is made up of conservative Roman Catholics” writes Michaelson, a mere paragraph before writing that “the Becket Fund’s lead donors are the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the John M. Templeton Foundation.”
The Templeton Foundation, officially non-confessional, was founded and is led by Presbyterians. Of course, noting that fact would get in the way of Michaelson’s attempt to dismiss broadly shared religious liberty concerns as a Roman Catholic conspiracy.
“The Vatican has an annual operating budget of under $300 million, while Harvard University, arguably the Vatican of elite secular opinion, has a budget of $3.7 billion, meaning it’s ten times greater. The Vatican’s ‘patrimony,’ what other institutions would call an endowment, is around $1 billion. In this case, Harvard’s ahead by a robust factor of thirty, with an endowment of $30.7 billion.”
Once a symbol of the evil spirits that St. Patrick drove from Ireland, in recent years snakes have come to represent Ireland’s boom—and now its bust:
BALLIVOR, Ireland — Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. The economic crisis has brought some of them back.
During the Celtic Tiger boom, snakes became a popular pet among the Irish nouveaux riches, status symbols in a country famous for its lack of indigenous serpents. But after the bubble burst, many snake owners could no longer afford the cost of food, heating and shelter, or they left the country for work elsewhere. Some left their snakes behind or turned them loose in the countryside, leading to some startling encounters.
A California king snake was found late last year in a vacant store in Dublin, a 15-foot python turned up in a garden in Mullingar, a corn snake was found in a trash bin in Clondalkin in South Dublin, and an aggressive rat snake was kept in a shed in County Meath, northwest of Dublin, an area dotted with sprawling houses built during the boom. . . .
“It was about status,” Mr. Cunningham said as he waved to a four-foot red iguana that was found under a sink in an abandoned house in Dublin. “During the boom, people treated these animals as conversation starters.” . . .
“In the Tiger economy,” said P. J. Doyle, a reptile expert, “young people could pay 600 quid for a snake” and the necessary equipment — about $700 to $1,000 during much of the boom. But these days, he said, some owners “just drive up and throw them somewhere.” . . .
Most of the recent snake sightings have occurred in the counties around Dublin, where the newly prosperous congregated in the country’s boom years.
Ireland has no native snake species, a fact attributed by scientists to its separation from the European landmass and unfavorable climate (Iceland and Greenland also lack native snake species) and by pious tradition to the spiritual power of St. Patrick, who is said to have chased them into the sea after they attacked him during a forty-day fast.
“Known as an incisive thinker and intensely holy man living a devout life, it is held against him that he is a Jesuit, although he has suffered the slings and arrows of Jesuits of a more ‘progressive’ bent.”
My concern with people like Cardinal Dolan and other people in the church, they’ve hung their hat exclusively on vouchers. The political reality is that vouchers are not coming to blue states anytime soon. And more importantly, vouchers are not going to save them if they don’t save themselves first.
Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput has pioneered a more promising model, explains Kennedy:
Let me stop and praise what’s going on in Philadelphia. . . . Chaput came in after huge cuts – 20 percent of all Philadelphia Catholic schools closed in one single year, which is just unprecedented. When the next round of closings came out with four high schools on the chopping block for the 2012-2013 school year, Chaput said no. And in February of last year, 2012, he said, “I’m going to find an alternative.”
Ryan T. Anderson describes the impressive number of briefs that have been filed urging the Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8 and DOMA and elsewhere writes, with William Beach, that repealing the death tax is a better way to fix inheritance law than redefining marriage.
One day I said to him, ‘You seem to love the Bible a lot,’ and he said, ‘You know, my financial manager [for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires] … is an evangelical Christian.’ I said, ‘Why would that be?’ And he said, ‘Well, I can trust him, and we spend hours reading the Bible and praying and drinking maté [an Argentine green tea].’ People do that with their friends, share and pass the mate, and every day when he was in town, which was often, after lunch he and his financial manager would sit together, read the Bible, pray, and drink maté. To me, he was making a point [about his relationship with evangelicals] by telling me that: trust and friendship.
Palau predicts that Pope Francis’ facility with Evangelical-style spontaneous prayer will shape his papacy:
You know he knew God the father personally. The way he prayed, the way he talked to the Lord, was of a man who knows Jesus Christ and was very spiritually intimate with the Lord. It’s not an effort [for him] to pray. He didn’t do reading prayers; he just prayed to the Lord spontaneously. It is a sign that good things will happen worldwide in the years of his papal work.
Francis’ spontaneity—already on display in the first days of his papacy—resonates with Evangelical Protestants but is in its way deeply Catholic. As R.R. Reno observed on Francis’ election, Jesuits “break the rules,” which helps explain why Francis “took the name of the most severe critic of the papacy before Martin Luther [and] bowed to receive the crowd’s blessing.” Protestants see one of their own in the new pope, which might prompt a Catholic to say that much of what we see as Protestant can be found more fully realized and rightly oriented in the heart of the Church.
Cardinal Bergoglio was used in 2005; he knows precisely who used him and why; and while he is a man of the Gospel who is not looking to settle scores, he is also a man of prudence who knows who his friends, and who his enemies, are. Here’s the story:
In April 2005, the progressive party (which was a real party then) came to Rome after the death of John Paul II thinking it had the wind at its back and clear sailing ahead — only to find that the Ratzinger-for-pope party was well-organized; that Ratzinger had made a very positive impression by the way he had run the General Congregations of cardinals after John Paul II’s death; that he had deep support from throughout the Third World because of the courtesy with which he had treated visiting Third World bishops on their quinquennial visits to Rome over the past 20 years; and that, after his brilliant homily at John Paul’s funeral Mass, he was indisputably the frontrunner for the papacy.
Confronted with this reality, the progressives panicked. Their first blocking move against Ratzinger was to try and run the aged Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J., emeritus archbishop of Milan, who was already ill with Parkinson’s disease and had retired to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. The idea was not to elect Martini pope; it was to stop the Ratzinger surge. Then, when Ratzinger blew past Martini with almost 50 percent of the vote on what was assumed to be the “courtesy” first ballot (where some votes are cast as gestures of friendship, esteem, etc.), and subsequently went over 50 percent the following morning, the panic intensified. Martini was summarily abandoned (or may have told his supporters to forget it).
The progressives then tried to advance Cardinal Bergoglio — who was very much part of the pro-Ratzinger coalition; who embodied “dynamic orthodoxy,” just like John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger; who had been persecuted by his more theologically and politically left-leaning Jesuit brethren after his term as Jesuit provincial in Argentina (they exiled him to northern Argentina where he taught high-school chemistry until rescued by John Paul II and eventually made archbishop of Buenos Aires); and who was doubtless appalled by the whole exercise on his putative behalf.
It was a last-ditch blocking move, perhaps constructed around the idea that a Third World candidate like Bergoglio would peel off Ratzinger votes. In any event, it was a complete misreading of the 2005 conclave’s dynamics and a cynical use of Bergoglio, who would almost certainly have been abandoned had the stratagem worked — and it failed miserably.
Thus it may be safely assumed that the coalition that quickly solidified and swiftly elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope in 2013 had little or nothing to do with the eminent cabal that tried to use him in 2005. Pope Francis was elected for who he is, not for taking the silver medal eight years ago.
“To those who are now promising to fix all your problems, I say, ‘Go and fix yourself.’ . . . Have a change of heart. Get to confession, before you need it even more! The current crisis will not be improved by magicians from outside the country and nor will [improvement] come from the golden mouth of our politicians, so accustomed to making incredible promises.”
About an hour after the world saw white smoke, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, stepped out to offer the crowd his blessing. But before that, he asked for its prayers. This is a humble man, a prince of the church born into a working-class family who’s noted for riding public transportation and cooking his own meals.
George Weigel on NBC News says that Pope Francis is “very much a man of the new evangelization.” But the new pope is also a veteran of old battles. When many of his brother Jesuits sought to move away from parishes and embrace liberation theology, he insisted on traditional forms of work, and his order’s beloved Ignatian spirituality.
The choice of a familiar face like Bergoglio (he was the runner-up in the last conclave) may signal the college’s desire for a transitional, placeholding pope. But transitional popes have been known to effect transitions for the whole church.
Jennifer Rubin applauds Rand Paul’s remarks on gay marriage and tells social conservatives to pay attention:
As much as I disagree with Rand Paul on his larger vision on foreign policy, he is worth heeding on marriage. Americans have not bought into the “traditional marriage” advocates (presumably high divorce rates in heterosexual marriages are none of their business?), most especially the claim that same-sex marriage “harms” other marriages. (I confess to never having understood that argument.) Paul is dead right: It is time for conservatives to move on and start focusing on issues that are properly the concern of elected leaders and on which the public actually wants government to act.
This in response to an interview with National Review in which Paul called for civil unions that would give same-sex partners benefits without redefining marriage:
I’m not going to change who I am or what I believe in. I am an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historical definition of marriage. That being said, I think contracts between adults — I’m not for limiting contracts between adults. In fact, if there are ways to make the tax code more neutral where it doesn’t mention the word marriage, then we don’t have to redefine what marriage is. We just don’t have marriage in the tax code. If health benefits are a problem, why don’t we not define them by marriage? Why don’t we say, you have another adult who lives in the house, and a kid who lives in the house can be part of family coverage? Then you don’t have to redefine, and have people like myself, and people who live in the Southeastern part of the country, we don’t have to change our definition of what we think marriage is, but we allow contracts to occur so there is more ability to [make] the law neutral.
If Paul’s remarks seem novel to Rubin, it’s only because she hasn’t been paying attention. As early as 2009, Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis—hardly squishes in the gay marriage debate—had all expressed openness to a form of civil union that could fit with what Paul describes.
These unions would be “available to any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities, whether or not their relationship is sexual. Available only to people otherwise ineligible to marry each other (say, because of consanguinity), these unions would neither introduce a rival ‘marriage-lite’ option nor treat same-sex unions as marriages. Their purpose would be to protect adult domestic partners who have pledged themselves to a mutually binding relationship of care. What (if anything) goes on in the bedroom would have nothing to do with these unions’ goals or, thus, eligibility requirements.”
Rubin wants social conservatives to listen to Rand Paul; she first should try listening to social conservatives. It certainly seems that Rand Paul has been.
On Tuesday, the Vatican press office revealed the composition of the colored smoke used during the conclave to signal the results of the voting. Earlier, a Vatican spokesman had said only that the smoke was made “from several different elements.”
Both recipes are fairly standard pyrotechnical formulas. The white smoke, used to announce the election of a new pope, combines potassium chlorate, milk sugar (which serves as an easily ignitable fuel) and pine rosin, Vatican officials said in a statement. The black smoke, which was used Tuesday evening to signal that no one in the first round of balloting received the necessary two-thirds vote of the 115 cardinals, uses potassium perchlorate and anthracene (a component of coal tar), with sulfur as the fuel. Potassium chlorate and perchlorate are related compounds, but perchlorate is preferred in some formulations because it is more stable and safer.
Milk sugar and pine versus coal and sulfur: There’s a simple beauty to the Vatican’s chemistry.
That is the question asked by Austin Ruse in a column at the Catholic Thing. Ruse calls Burke a “true pastor and a man who has all the gifts – ecclesial, spiritual, and temporal – to be Bishop of Rome.”
Ruse is hardly the only one to tout Burke’s name. A Catholic editor friend of mine last night spun the unlikely theory that Dolan and O’Malley are being touted as stalking horses for a Burke candidacy. Once the cardinals reconcile themselves to the idea of an American pope, he said, they’ll be more likely to see the particular virtues of one American.
Burke possesses two virtues many view as necessary for the next pope. First, Burke shares Benedict’s desire to deepen the reform of the reform of the liturgy. He frequently celebrates the Latin Mass that Benedict commended to the Church, as well as a reverent version of the often chaotically celebrated Novus Ordo. Nothing could be a more fitting tribute to the pope emeritus than to extend this project so close to his heart.
Burke also shows a willingness to discipline dissent, realizing that the shepherd bears his rod for a reason, and that sparing it can be a failure in charity. As canonist Ed Peters has noted, perhaps no one wields that rod more sensitively than Burke:
I would like to say that Abp. Raymond Burke’s excommunication of three women who recently participated in a pseudo-ordination in Saint Louis is a “text-book illustration” of how (non-judicial) excommunication is supposed to be applied in the Church today, but I can’t say that: Why not? Because Abp. Burke’s attention to juridic details and his provisions for the pastoral care of the people entrusted to his care soexceed what the textbooks teach, that it is the textbooks that must copy from him, not him from the textbooks.
Update: Peter Lawler prints a note sent him by “a leading Catholic intellectual”
Since you brought it up, my papal endorsement goes to Burke. I would consider myself a fellow traveler with the “narrow and intense” fan base, but there are also practical reasons why I think of all the Americans he has a real shot. One — languages. He’s got ‘em. Dolan doesn’t. Two — life inside the Vatican. He’s done it. Dolan hasn’t. Seems to me that if the Italians or the Rome-based cardinalate are going to violate the unofficial “no American” rule, it would be psychologically easiest to start with a guy who has been one among them. In addition to which, I’m sure they’re all aware that this is a man that Benedict singled out for promotion.