The horrific massacre of schoolchildren in Pakistan by the Taliban continues to dominate news coverage that is not taken up by the crisis with the Russian ruble. That Peshawar attack followed on the killing of two hostages in an Australian cafe by a man claiming Islamist sympathies.
Australians seem to be reacting with solidarity rather than recrimination, reports Aljazeera. And we have the latest on the social media campaign, #illridewithyou, in which Australians offer to ride on public transportation with Muslims wearing traditional religious garb so that they don’t fear targeting.
Buzzfeed was on it first. Urban legend? Either way, it’s gone viral:
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.
— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
At Pacific-Standard, Max Ufburg says these social media campaigns after a tragedy can promote solidarity, but there’s still nothing like the personal touch.
BREAKING: Big news for Jews, and U.S.
American Alan Gross released in prisoner swap with Cuba; Obama to overhaul Cuba policy in landmark deal. pic.twitter.com/XidoOyQtAa
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 17, 2014
Mass Tango for Pope’s birthday
In honor of Francis’ 78th birthday today, thousands danced the tango, a traditional dance of the pontiff’s native Argentine, in St. Peter’s Square.
Or, think of it this way:
— Greg Burke (@GregBurkeRome) December 17, 2014
This, by the way, follows a performance of the wonderful Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez in St. Peter’s the other day.
Francis didn’t mention his birthday, but apparently the Vatican is marking the occasion:
— Religion NewsService (@RNS) December 17, 2014
Pope prays for conversion of terrorists
At the end of the General Audience in the square today, Francis asked those present to join him in his prayers to the Lord to receive the deceased in peace, to bring comfort to their families and “to convert the hearts of the violent who do not hold back even before children. ”
Also: Francis has said that he will ride in open vehicles during his trip to the Philippines next month. “The Holy Father wants to be accessible to the people. (So) the people can see him and he can hear and be one with the people,” said a priest helping to organize the visit.
BTW: The Vatican and the Nuns are good, pretty much, for now at least. Here are my 3 takeaways from yesterday’s Roman Kumbaya.
And in an unrelated development …
The Church of England has its first female bishop
She is the Rev. Libby Lane, a priest for 20 years in the north of England, and she was named today to be the new Bishop of Stockport, according to the NYT:
“On this historic day, as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment,” she said. “But most of all I am thankful to God.”
Will this cement the divisions in the Anglican Communion, as ABC Justin Welby has suggested may be inevitable?
The last Dalai Lama?
The current Dalai Lama says the day is coming:
“The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease,” the Dalai Lama told the BBC.
Read it all.
You MUST: 10 Anti-Christmas Christmas Cards
My colleague Kimberly Winston rounds up the best, and it’s all I can do not to buy and send. Like this one at right.
Then again if you want actual anti-Christmas sentiment, the American Atheists have launched their annual billboard campaign. Oh joy.
Related? Read Roger Scruton (H/T First Things) on “the enduring power of kitsch.”
Speaking of which …
A holiday of eight days and as many spellings (well, to us goyim) started last night. Latkes > Fruitcake. Just for the record. Our Own Lauren Markoe tells you everything you need to know.
And these guys have the rest:
Also a rare opportunity for a little Catholic scriptural triumphalism:
Hanukkah is such a great story. Let me grab my Bible and read about it, which I can do because I'm a Catholic.
— PEG (@pegobry) December 16, 2014
I mean, c’mon, Protestants have the Bible down. Give us something…
Gay vets to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade
First it was New York, now the next domino …
BOSTON (AP) — For the first time in its history, the sponsors of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will allow a group representing the gay community to participate, drawing cheers from Mayor Martin Walsh, who boycotted the event last year over the exclusion.
German bishops to allow gay and lesbian church employees?
That’s the word from the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin, who has been following the story of how the German hierarchy may be set to change its own rules to synch with civil law that bars discrimination.
Could we see such a shift in the U.S. church? (Going out on a limb here: don’t hold your breath)
But she says there were no Wiccans
— Religion NewsService (@RNS) December 17, 2014
Best of the Rest from RNS:
- Great read from Adelle Banks on George Whitefield at 300, and ageless
- Kimberly Winston on the cool new PBS show “Sacred Journeys”