Tuesday, April 1, 2008

U.S. News and World Report's Articles by Jay Tolson

Part of this story is three months old.

I was in the dentist’s office – alone! – while my houseguest watched the baby so I could get my teeth cleaned. My last visit was seventeen months ago, so I was only eleven months late for my regular checkup. The previous checkup had been seven years prior.

It was quite a challenge to get in for any kind of doctor appointment during my homeschooling years. During a dental exam, if you need any kinds of x-rays, no children can be in the room. Neither can you leave them in the waiting room unattended. So a babysitter is needed. Not wanting to impose on my other homeschooling friends during school hours, I would just have to wait until an out-of-town relative came for a visit, and schedule all my appointments accordingly.

While waiting, I was able to catch up on back issues of U.S. News and World Report. My eye was immediately caught by two front cover stories, both devoted to the Catholic Church! When I noted the author, Jay Tolson, I wondered if he was Catholic, and decided to do an internet search on him when I got home.

In the December 24, 2007 issue, Jay Tolson wrote “A Return to Tradition: A New Interest in Old Ways Takes Root in Catholicism and Many Other Faiths”. Highlighting Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam, he noted the most remarkable traditions that are currently being embraced within each religion.

Most notable within the Catholic Church is the return to the Tridentine Latin Mass, the pre-Vatican II rite which has been brough back by Pope Benedict XVI. There also has been a renewed interest in personal confession, the recitation of the Rosary, and the wearing of habits. The latter has been brought to the public eye by the traditionalist and habit wearing Nashville’s Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.

Mary Bendyna, Executive Director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, was quoted as planning to launch a large study on sacramental life in January. Mary Bendyna’s vitae can be found at the Georgetown University website. She has been widely published and I would watch out for the publication of the pending study.

In the April 7-14, 2008 issue, Jay Tolson writes “Catholics at a Crossroads: The Pope Reaches Out to a Troubled American Flock”. The article revisits the return to Latin Mass, explains principles of Vatican II and Pope Benedict XVI’s mission of renewal of the core of Catholic values – again mentioning the Sisters of St. Cecilia. He delves a bit into the problem of today’s relativistic culture, and wonders if America is ready for the Pope’s fundamentalist values. He poses the thought that a return to fundamental values may be the solution to the Church’s present problems.

On the website for Templton-Cambridge Journalism: Fellowships in Science & Religion I found the following biography:
“Jay Tolson is a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report, covering culture, ideas, and religion. Previously the editor of the Wilson Quarterly, he has written for the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, Civilization, Slate, The Sciences, DoubleTake, and other publications. A graduate of Princeton University, he is the author of Pilgrim in the Ruins: A Life of Walker Percy (1992), which won the Southern Book Award, selected by critics of the Southern Book Association, and the Hugh Holman Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in Southern Literary Studies, and he edited The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy (1996). “

I could not find what his religious background is, but it is good to know there is an excellent journalist out there who is portraying the Catholic Church in an intelligent and positive light.

Allelujah! He is risen!

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