La Stampa

So journalists, are 'conservative' Muslims practicing a 'conservative' form of Islam or not?

So journalists, are 'conservative' Muslims practicing a 'conservative' form of Islam or not?

One of the advantages of being, well, a journalist who is a bit on the old side is that you remember debates and discussions in the past that resemble arguments taking place in the present.

So flash back several decades with me to the era known as the Cold War. One of the topics debated in the first newsrooms in which I worked was how to use the terms "liberal" and "conservative" when talking about Communists, especially in the Soviet Union.

Editors decided that the more socialist, the more Communist, the more Soviet people were, the more "conservative" they were. They were "conservative" Communists, even though "socialist" and "Communists" are normally words that describe a form of political liberalism. They were "conservative" liberals because they were resisting change to the Soviet system.

People who wanted change in the old system, thus, were "liberals," even if these changes would take their nation away from socialism/Communism.

The key, of course, was that "conservative" was bad and "liberal" was good.

With that in mind, let's move to the current debates about the violence in San Bernardino and, in particular, the following passage from a piece in The Washington Post, which included remarks from the father of Syed Rizwan Farook:

On Sunday, Italian publication La Stampa published an interview with Farook’s father, also named Syed, in which he said his son had harbored anti-Semitic animosity. Reached at his son Raheel’s home on Sunday morning, the elder Farook said his views differed from those of his son.

“He was going towards [conservatism],” he told reporters through the gate of the home. “His views were conservative, my views were liberal.”

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Divine Liturgy alongside the pope of Rome or in presence of pope? (updated)

Divine Liturgy alongside the pope of Rome or in presence of pope? (updated)

Any list of the defining moments of Christian history -- if not the history of religion on Planet Earth, period -- would have to include the Great Schism of 1054.

That's the split, of course, between the Orthodox East and the Catholic West and there is hardly anything that you can say about the who, what, when, where, why and how of that schism that will not lead to a millennium or two of debate. It's complicated. 

However, it's pretty easy to understand that the Church of Rome and the churches of Eastern Orthodoxy are not in full Communion -- with a big "C" -- with one another. The primary symbol, and reality, that demonstrates this is that their clergy cannot celebrate the Eucharist together.

Now, with that prologue, let's flash back to the recent meetings in Istanbul between Pope Francis and the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Since I am Orthodox, lots of people have asked me what I thought about their latest statements on their desire for full unity, meaning Communion. My question, in response, was: Yes, the pope asked Bartholomew to bless him, but did either man kiss the other man's hand? There was also quite a bit of confusion about the rite they took part in at the Phanar.

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Put not your trust in Huffington Post headlines

I know a maiden fair to see,Take care! She can both false and friendly be, Beware! Beware! Trust her not, She is fooling thee!

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Catholic yes to yoga?

I have been waiting for the American press to pick up an article found in Saturday’s edition of La Stampa, the Turin-based Italian daily, on the Catholic Church and yoga. But as five days have passed with no mention of Bishop Raffaello Martinelli I expect we will not be seeing anything for the moment.

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