The Great Debate UK
Pope Benedict's surprising view that condoms can sometimes be used to fight AIDS has kindled a lively debate among Roman Catholic theologians and commentators about whether this amounts to a change in Church thinking.
His comments and a Vatican clarification that expanded on them seem to leave no doubt that Benedict has spoken with unprecedented frankness for a pontiff and shifted the focus a bit from the Church's rejection of condoms to avoid disease. (Photo: Pope Benedict at his weekly audience 24 November 2010/Alessia Pierdomenico)
But the format of his remarks -- in a book of interviews with a German journalist rather than an official Vatican document -- and some confusion over translations have opened a gap allowing divergent interpretations.
As political leaders wrangle over how best to deal with warring factions in hot spots around the world, enclaves of humanitarian aid workers grapple with how best to help innocent victims of violence.
Author and journalist Linda Polman proposes in “War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times” that since the end of the Cold War, there is much more at stake than the simple distribution of billions of dollars in aid money each year to fix crisis situations. Aid agencies relegated in the past to the peripheries of war zones and refugee camps now play a very different role.
Europe’s collective sense of guilt weakens its position in international relations, French author and philosopher Pascal Bruckner argues in a new book.
Hampered by a persistent fixation on historical low points — including its role in fascism, communism, racism and imperialism — rather than its positive attributes, Europe by default relinquishes the protection of its sovereignty to the U.S., Bruckner proposes in “The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism“.
A thought-provoking new book on Christianity's "lost history" holds that one of the central causes of 14th century religious persecution may well have been climate change. You can read my interview with author Philip Jenkins about "The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa and Asia -- and How It Died" on the Reuters website here.
"The Chronology of Christian sufferings under Islam closely mirrors that of Jews in Christian states," he writes, noting that "Around 1300, the world was changing, and definitely for the worse."