Re-Educate for America

As we gathered for another meeting to tell stories, share feelings, and take guidance, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the griping began. I had made the trek from my apartment in Northeast Washington, D.C., to Teach For America’s office on K Street. Bright posters beamed positive messages, . . . . Continue Reading »

Popes in These United States

The history of popes in these United States is full of surprises. And one of them, to begin at the beginning, includes the little-known fact that Blessed Paul VI was not the first pontiff to set foot on American territory, when he landed at newly-renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on . . . . Continue Reading »

John Paul II and “America”

In the years preceding the Great Jubilee of 2000, John Paul II held a series of continental synods to help the Church in different locales reflect on its distinctive situation at the end of the second millennium, and to plan for a future of evangelical vigor in the third. These Special Assemblies were easily named in the case of the Synods for Africa, Asia, and Europe. But when it came to the Synod for the western hemisphere, John Paul threw a linguistic curveball that made an important point. Continue Reading »

When We Cared

Today, we mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On April 24th, 1915, the nationalist Young Turks attempted to wipe out the Armenians, the oldest Christian nation, which adopted Christianity twelve years before the Edict of Milan. On this solemn anniversary, it is worth recalling the great aid European and American Christians and Jews gave the Armenians. This legacy should lead us to not remain silent in the face of today’s extermination of Middle Eastern Christians and fight the politically convenient yet disturbing tendency to deny that what happened in the Ottoman Empire a century ago was genocide.For centuries, the Armenians lived in relative peace in the Ottoman Empire. The Koran’s stance towards non-Christians is inconsistent. At some points, it advocates the persecution of all non-Muslims (kaffirs), but in others it advocates tolerance for Christians and Jews, as they are “peoples of the Book.” The Ottomans applied the latter passages with regards to the followers of Abrahamic religions in its millet system, which gave religious minorities self-rule. Continue Reading »

The Great Charter at 800

Henry Ford is often quoted as saying, “History is bunk.” That’s not quite accurate. What he actually told the Chicago Tribune in 1916 is this: “I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that’s worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.” Continue Reading »