The Corner


Twenty Things That Caught My Eye Today: Lebanon & More (August 10, 2020)

1. Nigerian singer sentenced to death for blasphemy in Kano state

2. Beirut explosion: video of church altar’s survival brings hope

3.  A federal inmate died from COVID-19 in April, but his family still has no idea where his body is

4. Katherine Baker: A Pandemic Observed

In our fear of death we simply do not want to think about what happens after our loved ones die. But we must. We seem to be willing, in our understandable terror, to trade away many essential things: basic freedoms, our public life and public institutions for the promise of greater safety from sickness and death, but when that sickness and death come anyway (as it must), what will we do when we find we have made the world worse than it otherwise might have been? If we trade the beauty and order of our society for safety, not only will we find we have lost our dear ones anyway, we will sit and mourn them in a desolate land of our own making.

5. Wall Street Journal: China Sanctions 11 Americans Over U.S. Moves Against Hong Kong

China’s Foreign Ministry, which announced the sanctions, didn’t offer details on what they would entail. The move appears to be largely symbolic and restrained, as most of those listed had been targeted by Beijing before.

“In response to the erroneous actions of the U.S., China has decided to impose sanctions today on those individuals who behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during Monday’s daily press briefing.

6. The Wall Street Journal: Hong Kong Publisher Jimmy Lai Arrested Under New National-Security Law

So far, Mr. Lai’s is the most significant arrest made under the new national-security law. He is a towering figure in Hong Kong, and his newspaper was a thorn in the side of the city’s pro-Beijing leadership during the months of massive peaceful protests and violent clashes with police that rocked Hong Kong last year.

7. Michael Rubin: The State Department has a Turkey problem

While the Pentagon, the vast majority of congressmen from both parties, the Treasury Department, and the intelligence community recognize the reality of Turkey’s transformation under Erdogan, a core group of U.S. diplomats and State Department appointees continue to apologize for and rationalize Turkish behavior and dilute measures to hold Turkey to account.

8. Michael J. New: What Pro-Lifers Can Learn From the Notre Dame Abortion Survey

The most important takeaway from the survey is that most people’s attitudes toward abortion are nuanced. Most people are not activists and few invest a significant amount of time thinking about abortion. As such, some respondents who identified as “pro-life” thought that abortion should be a legal option in difficult situations involving rape or severe fetal defects.  Similarly, some who identified as “pro-choice” opposed late-term abortions and strongly disapproved of using abortion as a form of contraception. 

9. John L. Allen Jr.: Pope may be key to preserving Italy’s social compact on abortion

Ultimately, the concern among Italy’s pro-life movements and politicians is that the RU 486 decision could signal an unraveling of the social compact on abortion that’s held more or less since 1981, leading to pressure from the country’s left-leaning forces for expansion of abortion rights on other fronts.

Politically speaking, what’s interesting about all this is that Pope Francis and the Vatican generally are seen as on good terms with the government of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose ruling coalition is composed of the center-left Democratic Party and the populist leftist Five Star movement.

10. Crux: Italy approves outpatient use for abortion pill

11. National Catholic Register: Pittsburgh Bishop: ‘Why I Established a New Black Catholic Parish’

Sometimes, you know, racism takes the form of the kind of violence that we saw in Minnesota. But sometimes it’s very subtle. So subtle that some people don’t recognize it as racism. And I think that was one of the messages that people gave me when I went there on that Sunday. They said, “we want to make sure that people know that we are a part of this Church, we have a lot to contribute to it, and we have perspectives that we can bring to the Church.” And I think that’s my first hope that all Black Catholics in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will know how much I embrace them as an important and integral part of the church at Pittsburgh.

12. Alberto M. Fernandez: Jocelyne Khoueiry: A Life for Lebanon

Upon her death, Jocelyne Khoueiry was honored by many of Lebanon’s Christians. The old Kataeb Party, for which she had fought (and where her brother Sami was a high ranking official), honored her as did the Carmelite Sisters she had thought of joining. Some were less generous and could never forgive her because she never fully condemned her past or that political party; she never repudiated “her side” of that fratricidal conflict. The fact that she had moved on from Christian identitarianism to a broader and more generous faith would never be enough for those critics.

13. Emma Green: How Jerry Falwell Jr. Lost His Liberty Flock

With Falwell’s ouster, one of the most influential evangelical institutions in the country is facing an identity crisis: There’s never been a time when Liberty wasn’t led by a Falwell. The president has also lost one of his most prominent ties to the evangelical community. Donald Trump earned credibility in Christian circles four years ago in part because Falwell promoted him as the evangelical champion, and now it’s not clear who Falwell speaks for. Liberty’s leaders see Falwell’s statements and actions as unbecoming of a Christian leader, especially for someone in such a high-visibility role. But most of all, Christians inside and outside of Liberty fear Falwell has tarnished the mission of the school, and of evangelicalism—to “train champions for Christ.”


15. Crux: Amid pandemic, future of many Catholic schools is in doubt

Already this year, financial and enrollment problems aggravated by the pandemic have forced the permanent closure of more than 140 Catholic schools nationwide, according to officials who oversee Catholic education in the country.

Three of the nation’s highest-ranking Catholic leaders, in a recent joint appeal, said Catholic schools “are presently facing their greatest financial crisis” and warned that hundreds more closures are likely without federal support.

16. Tevi Troy: Waker of Presidents

Brent Scowcroft, a career Air Force officer and two-time White House national security adviser who died last week at 95, set the gold standard for running the National Security Council. He established a disciplined and focused process during eventful times, but his true genius may have been how he handled national security duties in the middle of the night: he was the great waker of presidents.

17. Catholic World Report: Polish bishops recall service of priests, nuns during Warsaw Uprising

One of these chaplains, Fr. Stefan Wyszyński, risked his life to make the sacraments available during the insurgency, including by offering Confession to wounded Germans. He later opposed the Communist authorities and helped catechize the country, before being appointed a bishop and later cardinal. Wyszyński was scheduled to be beatified in Warsaw this summer, but the ceremony was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


19. Pope baptizes conjoined twins who were separated at Vatican hospital



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