11 Reasons to ride underground…and one reason not to

Virgin Vacations has named the 11 Top Underground Transit Systems Throughout the World. The T, of course, is # 12. Meanwhile, On The Road With Cindy & Jeff shows evidence that driving through Boston’s new Central Artery tunnels has changed a lot but not all for the better.

In my life, I’ve had the pleasure of riding four of these systems: London, Paris, New York, and Montreal. Some other rapid transit systems I like include Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco, Munich, and Dublin.

In other transit news, Charlie on the MBTA reports that Mayor Menino wants to combine my loves of public transit and libraries by renaming the Copley Square stop after the Boston Public Library.

Faith in February

I’m much delinquent in publishing this post. Here is my now monthly collection of news, articles, and opinions about faith, religion, and spirituality for the month of February.

First and foremost, In Today’s News weighs in with an impressive post about the most important moral issue of the day.

I once stated that women’s ordination was the most important issue in the Church today.

It is an important theological issue – but I’m beginning to think it’s not the most important issue, afterall.

Married priests and gay marriage are not the most important issues.

Abortion is a critically important issue that goes right to the fundamental right to life.

But by itself, it’s not the most important moral issue.

The most important moral issue in the world in the world today, IMHO, is that someone is starving to death as I write.

John Allen’s column on religious opposition to homosexuality has this great quote from Pope Benedcit XVI

Christianity, Catholicism, isn’t a collection of prohibitions. It’s a positive option. It’s very important that we look at it again, because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. We’ve heard so much about what is not allowed that now it’s time to say, ‘We have a positive idea to offer.'”

Catholicism, holiness and spirituality writes about “Things I Like About the Catholic Church”:

I could make a list of things I don’t like about Catholicism, but not about ‘being’ Catholic. I hope that makes sense. You can look at your family – siblings, parents, aunts, uncles – and point out things you don’t like about them, but that doesn’t mean you’d forsake your family or that you aren’t proud being a part of that family. The same holds true, I think, for my sense of being Catholic.

Three pieces offer important wisdom regarding the seperation of church and state:

1) Sr. Joan Chittister:

The fact is that religion in the modern world is to be a challenge to the conscience of the country, not a tool of the state. The democratic political process, on the other hand, is to seek the common good, not to impose one religious institution’s morality on another. To keep the balance between the two positions, it must, at the same time, protect the right of every religious community to call the government to consider in its legislative process what is morally right for the country rather than simply what is expedient for it.

To question the morality, the justice, of any social position, to advocate for social reform of any issue is a religious imperative. To trap politicians into committing themselves to one church agenda rather than another, however, will, in the end, be damaging to the faith itself.

Religion is neither a servant nor an enemy of the state. The separation of church and state is not about the suppression of religious interests. It is about the protection of religious differences.

2) Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

It is subterfuge to even claim that a given phrase is not in the Constitution. No history teacher should be engaged in such deception.

Separation of church and state is a philosophy and policy of government outlined throughout the Constitution. The phrase itself is not there; the principle is part of the warp and woof of the Constitution, from the Preamble to the 27th Amendment

3) Brittanica Blog:

There is much public evidence that the top Founders saw religion as considerably more than a “private” matter, even though all agreed that religion, at least the religion in which they were formed, requires that each conscience consult only the evidence available to each. Their practice was often public–we mean, in the official acts and discourse of the state–and at the same time respectful of the diversity of consciences.

Both Whispers in the Loggia and The Lesser of Two Weevils discuss Pope Benedict XVI’s opinions on women (with differing conclusions).

That’s it for all I collected in February. I’ll post more at the end of March, hopefully in a more coherent and timely manner.