• Monday evening the CESJ core group had an introductory meeting with a publisher that promises to be one of the most significant in recent years. Originally scheduled for two hours, the meeting lasted until 12:30 the next morning. The topics centered on the necessity of getting word about the Just Third Way to prime movers not only in the United States, but throughout the world. As long as the meeting went, it was all too short, and many of the discussions were postponed to a time when they could be taken up in greater depth. The importance of the meeting was to establish a relationship with an influential journal that has an international readership and reputation. Subscribers include people who are interested in what is going on in the power centers of the religious world, and how it relates to critical events taking place around the world.Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.
• One of the premier worker-owned companies in the United States, Mid South Building Supply, Inc. of Springfield, Virginia, with locations in Virginia and Pennsylvania, received the ESOP Association's AACE Award in the "Printed Materials, 250 or Fewer Employees" category, and was runner-up in the "Special Events, Promotions, Series, 250 or Fewer Employees" category. Due to the long-standing professional and philosophical relationship that exists between Mid South, and CESJ and EEI, Andrew Tavss, company president, invited Norman Kurland, Dawn Brohawn, and Michael Greaney to be present at the banquet and ceremony, held at the Marriot Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. Special mention should be made of Mid South's entry into the 2009 ESOP Employee Ownership Month Poster, designed by Linda J. Lowe. While the poster did not win the contest, many people familiar with Mid South's design, incorporating children's alphabet blocks and a construction crane, felt that Ms. Lowe's composition was more innovative and original than the winner. Unfortunately, we were not able to figure out how to insert the image of the poster on this blog.
• On Friday, the CESJ "core group" (Dr. Norman Kurland, Dawn K. Brohawn, Rowland L. Brohawn, and Michael D. Greaney) and Dr. Ahmed Mansour, president of the International Qu'ranic Center of Northern Virginia, attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, delivered the opening remarks, while the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis, Missouri, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican (analogous to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) gave the Keynote Address. The Keynote Address was followed by a spiritual reflection and prayer by the Most Reverend Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin Rite Archbishop of Baghdad, while the closing prayer was delivered by the Reverend Monsignor Eugene Morris, Director of the Office of the Diaconate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
• Justice Scalia's erudite talk, which was somewhat more in-depth than the usual opening remarks one hears, contrasted the difference between worldly wisdom based on a purely materialist view of life, and the apparent absurdity of Christianity — or any other religion, for that matter — using reason illuminated by faith to understand reality. His Honor related the experiences of St. Paul of Tarsus in Athens, where the Athenians listened to him out of curiosity and their love of novelty, walking away when Paul started talking about miracles, and St. Thomas More, who gave up every worldly advantage for reasons that people of his time and even ours find incomprehensible.
• Archbishop Burke's address explained how true patriotism and love of country must be based firmly on the precepts of the natural law written in the hearts of all humanity. Organized religion has the task of guiding the State to help civil authorities act in accordance with the moral precepts discerned by reason. This does not, however, mean that the Church, Mosque, Synagogue, or Temple dictates or forces civil government to act in specific ways, but interprets the principles of the natural law and helps authorities and ordinary citizens discern and understand how far the civil order is in conformity with the essential precepts of the Law. His Excellency urged prayer and fasting to help open the minds of civil authorities to the principles of natural reason. To this we would add that acts of social charity (loving our institutions as we love ourselves) followed by acts of social justice directed at reforming the institutions of the common good to enable those institutions better to assist each individual in acquiring and developing virtue are a necessary follow-up to such spiritual exercises.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 33 different countries and 45 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, with Brazil, Canada, and Romania rounding out the "top five." People in Egypt and Venezuela spent the most time on the blog. The most popular postings are the series on "Easter Economics," with the "State is God" natural law postings coming up rapidly.
Friday, May 8, 2009
News from the Network, Vol. 2, No. 19
A superficial review of this past week brings to mind noted comedian John Cleese's instructional business video on meetings, bloody meetings. Fortunately, we did not fall into the trap of having meetings just to have meetings, or to attend an event just to rack up points for "busy work." Every meeting and event this week resulted in major progress for the Just Third Way.