Around the Web

Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

On Bach’s B minor Mass

Here’s a fun article on J.S. Bach’s magnificent Mass in B minor, one of the magisterial and final pinnacles of his oeuvre, and yet in some ways puzzling. What, after all, was a faithful Lutheran doing setting an entire Roman Catholic Mass–a Missa Tota?

And for performances, stay away from the trendy and the faux HIP (Historically Informed Performances). Someday I will write a rancorous essay entitled, “Historically Informed Performances: The Living (and oh so HIP) Originalism of Classical Music.”

Instead savor the magnificently moody and measured performances of Furtwängler and Scherchen. Or, if you can’t get ahold of those, this version conducted by Herbert von Karajan will do.

True Power as Service


At the special Mass celebrated for the beginning of his new pontificate, Pope Francis focused his homily on the protection of the weak, the poor, and the environment.  Some passages from the homily make it possible to understand what Pope Francis has in mind when he speaks of a renovated way of understanding the nature of power and its use.

In the homily, Pope Francis stated, “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men  and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” And he added: “Let us never forget that authentic power is service … . Only those who serve with love  are able to protect.”

The election of Pope Francis comes at a time of profound changes in the Church and also in the wider society. The invitation I have quoted from his homily probably should be read as an appeal to both realities. The changes in the governance of the Church will be an important issue on the new Pope’s agenda and Francis probably wanted to signal the necessity of understanding and making use of power in a reinvigorated way. In this regard, it is noteworthy that he will hold Mass on Holy Thursday at Casal del Marmo Detention Center in  Rome and will wash the feet of the young inmates detained there.

The coherence between words and actions seems to be what Pope Francis is asking of the Church and society’s leaders, political and non-political.

The full text of the homily is available here.


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