Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A truly great sports hero

The passing of Dean Smith, legendary basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, was noted almost everywhere with lavish obituaries and reverential assessments. It is hard to understand, sometimes, why men of this caliber can't be not only admired and praised, but also emulated and followed. Why aren't there more Dean Smiths? Writers keep reiterating the theme that we will not see his like again. Why not? Why don't all these people who ooh and aah over Dean Smith try to live as he did? Why do fathers not teach their sons to be more like Dean Smith instead of the latest Cristal-toting, foul-mouthed, wife-beating sports figures?

Many of the articles, including those in The New York Times which doesn't ordinarily honor religious commitment, mentioned his regular churchgoing and his beliefs about human dignity which arose out of his Christian faith. Would that we would hear this more often.

Here is a tribute to Dean that you might otherwise miss:

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Evaluating Pope Francis

People are always asking me what I think of Pope Francis, which says little about me and a great deal about the interest that this pontiff has aroused around the world. At the present moment I can highly recommend the essay, "Who Is the Pope?" by Eamon Duffy, Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity at Cambridge University. It appears in the February 19 issue of The New York Review of Books. I have appreciated some of Duffy's essays in the past, notably his evisceration of James Carroll's Constantine's Sword.

You can find the piece about Pope Francis at
although I think you will have to subscribe, pay for the article, or buy the issue (it's a particularly interesting one, with an article about the events shown in the movie Selma, among many other subjects).

I have had serious reservations about Francis, which I posted on this blog when he was first elected. Duffy's article addresses them in ways that, while not satisfying me entirely by any means, seem fair and balanced. And his piece is full of interesting and provocative reflections on the current situation in the Curia, the College of Cardinals, and the Synod of Bishops.

Here is the links to my most pertinent blog on the subject: