Author: Jana Bennett

Facebook, Privacy, and the Church

“What does the Church have to say about privacy?” I was asked this week, in the aftermath of Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings. That’s a good question – I haven’t seen a lot in church documents, nor much from theologians. (I’d love to hear from readers if they’ve seen some good theological discussion…) Privacy is (obviously) an important question in a digital age, and I think the Church ought to get a lot bolder about speaking to privacy. I can envision developing arguments along the lines of creation and identity as people being made in the image of God. From...

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Important Seamless Garment Pro-life News

The bishop of Little Rock has taken a strong pro-life stand – one that includes not only being anti-abortion, but also anti-death penalty. Many of the people writing for this blog have written about the importance of being broadly pro-life.  I am one such person who finds that being pro-life means having deep concern about our whole culture of death, including abortion and euthanasia, as well as our treatment of death-row inmates, our perception of just war, and our use of the environment in which we live. My source for this from Catholic tradition is from Saint Pope John...

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Preparing Him Room

2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16 PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29 ROM 16:25-27 LK 1:26-38 As I read this week’s lectionary scriptures, I’m reminded of the hymn “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts: Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room And heaven and nature sing! And heaven and nature sing! And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing! “Joy to the World” is a Christmas hymn, and so I imagine some readers wondering why I appear to be truncating Advent! After all, this year’s fourth “week” of Advent turns out to be merely a day – less than a day,...

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The Solemnity of Christ the King: The Habitual Nature of Sheep

EZ 34:11-12, 15-17 PS 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6 1 COR 15:20-26, 28 MT 25:31-46 The image of Jesus as Good Shepherd (John 10) is an image that resonates down through the centuries. Jesus calls us by name, leads us forward, cares for us, just as the Good Shepherd does in the parable. Many of my friends are part of small focused Catholic communities that arose in the twentieth century. These communities – like Communio di Sant’Egidio, as well as Il Catechismo Del Buon Pastore (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) focus specifically on the image of the Good Shepherd. Psalm 23,...

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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Trouble with Generosity and Fairness

IS 55:6-9 PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18 PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A MT 20:1-16A My children and students are fond of telling me how life just isn’t fair.  If I inadvertently seem to give a larger scoop of ice cream to one, the others will wail. If my students perceive that one of their peers won an award or a scholarship that “I should have received (after all, I worked just as hard)” they might be envious or angry that they lost out. The question of fairness is a real sticking point for all of us, especially in a society where we’ve built laws and professional codes of conduct around the concept of fairness.  When we say fair, we often mean “equal.” “Equal pay for equal work” is a fair treatment of our work – especially when considering disparities in pay among genders. In a hospital, a checklist of standards ensures that patients have been treated equally – that is, fairly – by all. And if someone fell short in treatment of others, then the code of conduct enables fair retribution. When disasters happen, when someone treats another person wrongly and unjustly (as they do), fairness enters in as the concept that helps toward a good resolution of the problem, especially by paying careful attention to the rules and codes at hand. For the record, I am in favor of a good...

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