Betting on the Conclave: Canon Law

Almost the moment Pope Benedict–now Pope Emeritus Benedict–announced his decision to retire, betting sites and prediction markets started to appear on the internet, offering people a chance to place money on the identity of his successor. There’s Paddy Power in Ireland and, for people of a more academic bent, the Intrade prediction market, which has been pretty accurate with respect to American politics.

Some readers may be wondering what Catholic canon law has to say about placing money on the outcome of a papal election. Apparently, nothing. According to this canon law blog, an earlier prohibition was abrogated in 1918, when the Catholic Church adopted the Pio-Benedictine Code. At the moment, therefore, there is no canon law on the question. So, I guess, nihil obstat. Nonetheless, as the author points out, the Catholic catechism does have advice about gambling, which Catholics should consider. Non-Catholics too, probably. And there’s the Second Commandment.

Atiemo, “Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana”

Next Month, Bloomsbury Publishing will publish Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana by Abamfo Ofori Atiemo (University of Ghana, Legon).  The publisher’s description follows.Bloomsbury

It has been maintained that the secular nature of modern human rights makes them incompatible with the religious orientation of African and non-Western societies. However, in view of the resilience of religion in the global and local public sphere, it is important to explore how religion can contribute to the promotion and enjoyment of human rights.

Based on fieldwork conducted in Ghana, Abamfo Ofori Atiemo here establishes a convergence between human rights and local religious and cultural values in African societies. He argues that human rights represent universal ‘dream values’. This allows for a cultural embedding of human rights in Ghana and other non-Western societies. He argues that ‘dream values’ are usually presented in religious language and proclaimed, for example, by prophets and seers or expressed in certain forms of taboo, proverbs or legal norms. He employs the concept of inculturation, adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to non-Christian cultures, as a hermeneutical tool for developing a model to understand the encounter between universal human rights and local cultures.

Offering a new model for explaining the relation between religion and human rights, Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana offers a novel perspective on the links between global trends and local cultures underpinned by strong currents of religious ideas.

Arjomand & Brown (eds.), “The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran”

Next month, SUNY Press will publish The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran by Saïd Amir Arjomand (Stony Brook University, State University of New York) and Nathan J. Brown (George Washington University).  The publisher’s description follows.The Rule of Law

In recent years, Egypt and Iran have been beset with demands for fundamental change. The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran draws together leading regional experts to provide a penetrating comparative analysis of the ways Islam is entangled with the process of democratization in authoritarian regimes. By comparing Islam and the rule of law in these two nations, one Sunni and Arab-speaking, the other Shi’ite and Persian-speaking, this volume enriches the current debate on Islam and democracy, making for a more nuanced understanding and appreciation of differences with the Muslim world, and provides an indispensible background for understanding the Green movement in Iran since 2009 and the Egyptian revolution of 2011.