As we were only just saying in last week’s Best of the Blogosphere, most of the Catholic blogs are written in the US so, understandably, they tend to focus on US issues. Last week it was the race for the Republican nomination. This week, it’s the HHS.
The what? The Department of Health and Human Services. It has announced that all employers – not excluding Catholic organizations – must offer their employees health coverage that covers sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. Naturally, the Church is incandescent about it; it has united the bishops like few other issues. Amid the furious reaction that has ensued, it is ironic indeed that President Obama hosted a “prayer breakfast” with invited faith leaders yesterday. America Magazine had some words of advice for him.
And The American Papist at catholicvote.org has a long and very insightful rumination on the HHS topic if you’d like to read more.
But it must be said that this preoccupation with the HHS rather narrowed our options for bringing you good pieces, especially from the interesting one-man bands. That left the way clear for the big hitters – the faith blogs produced by the major news services – to fill the gap. And they have not disappointed.
The excellent Reuters FaithWorld covered itself in glory with three great items this week, picking up stories and angles that most others seemed to miss. Today they reported that a French court has upheld fraud charges and slapped a 600,000 euro fine on the notorious Church of Scientology. The court also heavily criticized the Scientology habit of charging its followers sizeable sums of money. This is truly a landmark case which could well reverberate worldwide.
FaithWorld also found a story that the cash-strapped Irish government is to stop subsidizing the cost of First Communion dresses. And earlier in the week, it carried an excellent feature on the Libyan Sufis who were glad to see the back of Gaddafi but now face an even more dangerous future, with the constant threat of attacks by extremists.
Another heavyweight, Huffington Post religion, carries a blog by a rabbi on the real meaning and purpose of prayer entitled Prayer: It’s Not What You Think. Well worth a read, we think.
The UK’s Catholic Herald blog examines a statement by the atheist Richard Dawkins and another by the Pope, which may appear to be saying the same thing but are really saying something decidedly different. Even more interestingly, it was sparked by the Jaipur Literary Festival and an article in the Times of India.
At least one of our solo bloggers came up with the goods for us. Patrick Madrid, who has figured in this Best Of selection before, unearthed this clever and quite moving clip about seeing through the eyes of Jesus.