By Max Hastings (THE GUARDIAN, 25/12/07):
Some of us speculate occasionally, albeit without real cupidity, about what we would do if we suddenly found ourselves in possession of a billion pounds. Even after funding a big house with lots of staff, car with chauffeur, yacht, helicopter and suchlike, there would be enough left to live on the interest, with a few hundred million to spare.I suppose one could entrust the money to Polly Toynbee and George Monbiot to give to deserving causes, but not many billionaires are enlightened enough to do that. Instead, there are today so many doggedly materialistic possessors of surplus wealth that a huge luxury goods industry exists to succour their plight.… Seguir leyendo »
By Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (THE TIMES, 25/12/07):
Year after year, church attendance at Christmas continues to defy the trends. Disconcerted clergy find themselves putting on an extra carol service or Christingle. Cathedral deans start worrying about health and safety regulations as the number of people standing at the back is still growing five minutes before the service starts. And in spite of all the high-profile antiGod books published this last year, I suspect it’s not going to make much difference to these swelling numbers in church over Christmas.
So what’s going on? I don’t think it’s that people’s doubts and uncertainties are all magically taken away for a couple of weeks in December.… Seguir leyendo »
By John Anthony McGuckin, a professor of religious history at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 25/12/07):
St. Nicholas was a super-saint with an immense cult for most of the Christian past. There may be more icons surviving for Nicholas alone than for all the other saints of Christendom put together. So what happened to him? Where’s the fourth-century Anatolian bishop who presided over gift-giving to poor children? And how did we get the new icon of mass consumerism in his place?
Well, it’s a New York story.
In all innocence, the morphing began with the Dutch Christians of New Amsterdam, who remembered St.… Seguir leyendo »
By E. J. Dionne Jr. (THE WASHINGTON POST, 25/12/07):
Hope is an overused word and an underrated virtue.
We «hope» for all kinds of things, from the trivial to the profound. But hope is both a habit and a discipline. It is an orientation toward the future based on the conviction that we live in an ultimately trustworthy universe. Hope is the virtue on which faith and love depend.
Even more than faith and love, I think, hope is closest to the heart of the Christmas story. In an anthropological sense, Christmas celebrates new life and birth, a theme that crosses cultures and traditions.… Seguir leyendo »
By Michael Gerson (THE WASHINGTON POST, 25/12/07):
For some, hope — seeing present challenges in a positive light, living in the expectancy that the future will turn out well — seems to come easily. This trait can be as relentless and annoying as Mary Poppins — and as inspiring as a dying friend who cheerfully hopes for a few days without pain and gratefully accepts the last small pleasures of life.
For others, hope is more fragile. An uncertain medical diagnosis, betrayal by a close friend or a professional setback can loom so large that it blocks out the sun, leaving the rest of life in shadows.… Seguir leyendo »
By Timothy Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics (THE WASHINGTON POST, 25/12/07):
This Christmas, one might be forgiven for praying for the second coming of Jesus rather than for the joy to celebrate his initial appearance 20 centuries ago. Taking the long view of history, you could argue that we have collectively proved how inadequate we are in fulfilling the Bethlehem announcement of peace and justice. While we celebrate the mystery of God’s coming in human form, can’t we also pray for an expedited return?
That type of prayer would give many Christians common ground with our Jewish brothers and sisters during a season when we otherwise seem to part ways.… Seguir leyendo »