This week the various religious periodicals and internet outlets issue their "Top Ten" religion news stories of 2002. Rather than add to the listings, Sightings will end the year commenting on the great increase in the number of stories to rank. The end of the year is also a time when for a minute we seniors are allowed to reminisce in efforts to provide some perspective on our own time.
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December 30, 2002
December 23, 2002
The University of Chicago’s rarely heard alma mater has a redundant line that includes the words “blessings” and “benisons.” I use the latter word increasingly, so: “Christ-mass” benisons to the Christ-massers among you. And all the other benisons to all the other observers of other blessed occasions this season.
December 19, 2002
Christmas this year cannot be like any Christmas in previous years. In the year that has passed, the Church of the Nativity was turned -- for a while -- into a beleaguered fortress. Arab Palestinians forced their way into the Church, and Israeli troops and armour forced them out. War makes horrible things happen.
December 16, 2002
Sighting evidences of religion in American public life is easy, there are so many. Choosing which to highlight is more difficult. Friday last, the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and an executive order giving a jump-start to federal funding of "faith-based initiatives" vied with two or three other front-page items for notice.
December 12, 2002
Over a year has passed since the disaster of September 11, 2001. During this time, America has been in a state of "heightened alert." Code Orange, even when not officially declared by the government, has become the order of the day. The panic that ensued in the wake of the attacks has thus endured; indeed, it has become "the key psychological mood" of our time (as Arthur Kroker puts it).
December 9, 2002
Sightings attends to public expressions of religion. Not too long ago, that would have left topics such as marriage, residential life, leisure life, and worship safely in the private sphere. The rest of the world then took care of public life: economic, political, social, and the like. That division of labor is no more.
December 5, 2002
There's a majesty about the huge church in the little Welsh village in the Wye Valley. The complex of buildings adjoining the church once housed an order of contemplative monks who spent much of each day in silence.
December 2, 2002
The good news is that Israel Singer, chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation (IJCIC) at a recent conference sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, combined firmness with civility in dealing with Jewish-Catholic conversations and negotiations. He met a good response from high-level Catholics who "welcomed Singer's bid to
November 25, 2002
Sighting interfaith groups and movements nationally serves one kind of purpose. But just as "all politics is local" (and the local is the national/global), interfaith endeavors witnessed up close, in particular locales, are especially revealing.
November 21, 2002
Martin Marty's report of PBS's "America in the World" and the conversations at the Wye Plantation (November 11) raised some significant issues. I was particularly struck by the report of Nathan Baxter's assertion that religious communities are among the more alert communities in respect to world affairs and the apparent concurrence with this view on the part of the participants.
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