Social Justice: May 2008 Archives

Friday Links

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Some articles to drink your coffee over this weekend :

  • Sandro Magister, Vaticanista extraordinaire, reruns a decade-old account of a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos.
    Saints, centuries, empires, earthly and heavenly cities – everything seems to oscillate and flow, no longer distant. The monastery's treasures – golden and silver boxes with sapphires and rubies that are set in the Virgin's belt, the skull of Saint Basil the Great, Saint John Chrysostom's right hand – are offered to visitors for veneration. The light of the sunset sets them aglow, makes them pulsate. And the frescoes of Theophanes – master of the Cretan school in the first part of the 16th century – are also lit up, as are the blue majolica tiles on the walls, the mother-of-pearl on the iconostasis, on the lectern, on the episcopal throne.

    After vespers one leaves the catholikon in procession and, facing the square, enters the refectory, which is also built like a church and frescoed by the great Theophanes. The same liturgy continues. The igoumenos takes his place at the center of the apse. A monk reads stories of saints from the pulpit, almost singing. One eats blessed food: soups and vegetables from old iron dishes – and on feast days even amber-colored wine – on thick, roughly hewn marble tables, themselves resting on marble supports. They are a thousand years old, yet evoke prehistoric dolmens. The exit is also made in procession. A monk gives everyone a piece of blessed bread. Another incenses it so artfully that the perfume remains a long time in your mouth.

  • Two recent articles about human trafficking and prostitution caught my eye. The first is this lengthy but excellent New Yorker profile of a Moldovan woman who works for a non-profit that helps women who have been trafficked into prostitution get home. The second is this First Things daily article from last week that discusses a new book about the modern day slave trade by a reporter who has investigated trafficking all around the world.

  • Lastly, Zenit has a brief article quoting Fr. Joseph Fessio talking about Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to America. This quote stood out to me:

    "Most people already knew [Benedict XVI] is extremely intelligent and articulate. Many weren't aware of the personal warmth, what in Bavaria they call 'Gemütlichkeit,'" Father Fessio said.

    I don't know about you, but to me, nothing says "personal warmth" like Gemütlichkeit

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Social Justice category from May 2008.

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