- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Tawdry transcendence
"I recently spent a few hours at the new Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, located near Catholic University and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The result is $65 million worth of postmodern gimmickry.
"Architecturally, the center doesn't remotely resemble a cathedral. Its awkward chevron-shaped roof is perched on struts and sheathed in greenish patinated copper, while a large cylindrical volume that includes the main entrance bulges at one end. The building, a friend suggested, would make a dandy airport terminal. A 75-foot gilded cross affixed at the building's far end like so much else about this curious structure, seems perfectly random and arbitrary.
"There are series of bronze casts of people's hands — taken from Catholics all over the world — starting with the pope's. The casts are accompanied by inspirational quotations and a sign that says, 'Please feel free to touch the hands.' This installation, like others at the JP2, reflects the contemporary Christian penchant for lowering the faith's emotional horizons to the level of the maudlin sentimentality infusing the secular culture. It was almost encouraging to observe the insouciance with which a noisy band of schoolchildren ran their hands along the casts while dashing down the ramps."
—Catesby Leigh in "JP2 Off-Center" in the Aug. 6 National Review

Worshipful workplace
"Three dozen executives, most of them Catholic, belong to a Chicago-area group called Business Leaders for Excellence, Ethics and Justice. For more than a decade, they have wrestled with big questions: How can business protect family life? What is a just wage? When are layoffs justified? They have held dialogues with bishops, published papers and guided one another through crises. They say the struggle to integrate faith with work is never-ending.
"Why would we want to look for God in our work?" asks BEEJ co-founder Gregory F.A. Pearce, a publishing executive and the author of a new book called "Spirituality@Work."
"The simple answer is most of us spend so much time working, it would be a shame if we couldn't find God there. A more complex answer is that there is a creative energy in work that is somehow tied to God's creative energy. If we can understand that connection, perhaps we can use it to transform the workplace into something remarkable."
"These executives are in the vanguard of a diverse, mostly unorganized mass of believers — a counterculture bubbling up all over corporate America — who want to bridge the traditional divide between spirituality and work. Historically, such folk operated below the radar, on their own or in small workplace groups where they prayed or studied the Bible. but now they are getting organized and going public to agitate for change."
—Marc Gunther in "God & Business" in the July 9 issue of Fortune

Puffing John Adams
"This summer, for the first time in memory, the top nonfiction books are often outselling the top fiction titles. Leading the trend is a scholarly tome by David McCullough, with the unsnappy title of "John Adams." Why a biography of our least known Founding Father is beating out John Grisham's latest novel is something of a mystery to many observers. It seems to be part of a new interest on the part of the public in America's founding.
"[John Adams'] integrity, sense of honor and refusal to compromise his principles were legendary which may be especially refreshing for today's Americans to see in a politician."
—Gene Veith in "The Forgotten Founder" in the Aug. 4 issue of World

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