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Showing posts from February, 2023

Different Approaches in the Catholic Church

 Different Approaches in the Catholic Church        Gerry OShea Salvation provides a central theme of Christian apologetics: who will be saved and who will be heading in the other direction presents a major talking point for believers.  Indeed, even acknowledging the legitimacy of a discussion on the topic requires religious faith because nobody has come back to settle the question about how one’s eternal destination is determined. Christians must also be open to realizing that we may well be asking the wrong question. After all, non-Christian religions like the Hindus and Moslems and Jews have very different perspectives on the afterlife. Back to Catholic beliefs. Pre-Vatican Two thinking – up to the 1960’s - offered a clear set of answers for Catholics who were taught that they were members of “the one true church.” Sunday sermons stressed the 3rd century church belief asserting that “outside the church there is no salvation.” Older readers will remember this clear teaching laid down


 Happiness                      Gerry OShea The Harvard Study of Adult Development, better known as the Happiness Project, was started in 1938 and the latest update was completed recently. It tracks the lives of 724 men from their teenage years – about 50 of that original cohort are still alive in their 90’s and they remain part of the research, but they are joined now by about 1200 children and grandchildren, all directly descended from the original members. The group includes people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, from Harvard undergrads to teenagers from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. All male initially, but the project was joined by female family members when it moved to include the second generation and beyond. Investigators survey the group every two years about their physical and mental health, their professional lives, their marriages, their friendships – and also subject them to periodic in-person interviews, medical exams, brain scans and blood tests. The Happiness

Socialism in America

  Socialism in America                 Gerry OShea The two most popular senators in their home states, both with approval ratings close to 65%, are Jon Tester in Montana and Bernie Sanders in Vermont. These are surprising approval numbers because Montana is seen as having a strong conservative population, and, unlike his West Virginia colleague, Joe Manchin, also elected in a red state, Tester’s voting on controversial issues follows the progressive line of most senate Democrats. Sanders’ popularity is even harder to explain because Vermont is considered a rural state, where Republicans usually get clear majorities, and Senator Sanders runs for election as an independent socialist. He is the only member of the upper house openly using the “s” word to define his policies. The Vermont senator has sought the Democratic nomination for the presidency on two occasions. In 2016 he was defeated by Hilary Clinton and in 2020 he lost to Joe Biden, but he performed credibly on both occasion

The Leadership of Jean Vanier

  The Leadership of Jean Vanier         Gerry OShea I read recently about the enthralling and poignant story of Jean Vanier, who started L’Arche, a French name memorializing the biblical ark, where people with intellectual disabilities find a warm welcome and the promise of a vibrant and supportive life. Jean was the son of the governor-general of Canada, and as his biographer, Anne-Sophie Constant, wrote, “he was a child of privilege who had danced with princesses, dined with politicians and philosophers and circled the world twice.” In 1964, his spiritual adviser, Fr. Philippe, a Dominican priest, took him on a tour of the psychiatric facility where he was acting as chaplain. There he discovered what he called “an immense world of pain.” Asylums in those days were notorious for overcrowding and abuse, functioning more as prisons than treatment centers. They were cauldrons of misery instead of places of compassion and hope. Vanier explained that he heard a heartfelt call fro