Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

Notre Dame ReSources
April 6-12, 1997

Notre Dame faculty are available for additional comment on these people and events in the news this week: Archbishop George : Archbishop Francis E. George, appointed this week by Pope John Paul II as the new archbishop of Chicago, is “theologically right in line with the papacy,” says R. Scott Appleby , associate professor history and director of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. “This is the kind of appointment that could have been predicted but wasn’t,” Appleby said. “He seems to be in the mold of Pope John Paul II in that he is doctrinally conservative but socially progressive. The question of whether he is conservative, liberal or moderate, however, may be secondary to his pastoral gifts and intelligence.” *(219) 631-5441; appleby.3@nd.edu * . Campaign fund-raising : The current controversies concerning campaign fund-raising are symbolic of the “sorry state of the American party system today,” Robert Schmuhl , professor and chair of American studies at Notre Dame, writes in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “What we see occurring is a consequence of party decline that began about three decades ago,” he says. “As American politics moved from the wheeling-dealing in smoke-filled rooms to a candidate-centered process heavily reliant on the media, the parties lost much of their organizational clout. Until a radically different process for financing campaigns comes into being, our party system will continue to wither. Without muscular reforms that strengthen electoral structures, ambitious politicians – spurred by savvy yet self-interested consultants – will keep winning the White House primarily on their own.” (219) 631-7316 Helmut Kohl : There are positive and negative aspects to the surprising decision by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to stand for reelection for an unprecedented fifth term in 1998, according to A. James McAdams , associate professor of government and international studies at Notre Dame. “On the one hand, this is a striking testimony to Kohl’s longevity and to the wisdom of his tactic to allow everyone to underestimate him,” says McAdams, author of four books on German politics. “On the other hand, for the Christian Democrats there is some concern that they are not able to find an alternative to Kohl. For the last year he has been hinting that he would step down. I wonder now about the ability of the CDU to develop a successor generation. This problem is actually reflected throughout German politics. It’s similar to the United States in that the brightest go into the business sector rather than into politics or government.” (219) 631-7119 Middle East tensions : While of concern, current conflicts in the Middle East must be kept in perspective, says Alan Dowty , professor of government and international relations at Notre Dame. “Memories are short and hyperbole is ever with us,” he notes. “At the time of the tunnel affair last fall, and at several other points in the recent past – after terror incidents or breakdowns in negotiation – there have been proclamations of a low point in the peace process. This is not to minimize the current situation, but merely to put it in perspective. In order to reach the Hebron agreement (Israeli prime minister Benjamin) Netanyahu had to desert many of his own right-wing supporters, and it was predictable that afterward he would move in their direction. On the other side, now that the final status issues are next on the table, the Palestinians will react very vociferously to any move that tends to predetermine the outcome, such as a new Jewish neighborhood across the former line in Jerusalem. In a sense we have entered the end-game, and there are going to be very bumpy ups and downs as both sides posture and foment to shape the final outcome. This may occasionally derail the process for a time, but not permanently. We have come a long way since 1993, when no Israeli government would speak openly with the PLO; now even a right-wing government consults daily with (PLO chairman Yasir) Arafat and hints that a Palestinian state is inevitable.” *(219) 631-5098; dowty.1@nd.edu * . Religious freedom : Among the many questions John Garvey , professor of law at Notre Dame, considers in his new book, “What Are Freedoms For?” is the matter of religious freedom. “Why do we protect freedom of religion?” he asks. “The common sense answer, which I think hits close to the truth, is that we protect it because religion is important. That simple answer creates serious problems for liberal theory, however, so it is seldom discussed or defended by legal writers.” (219) 631-9258 Secrets : Psychologists have maintained that it is healthy to share traumatic personal secrets. But a new study by Anita Kelly , assistant professor of psychology at Notre Dame, runs counter to that long-held assumption. “Although there are physical and psychological symptoms associated with carrying the traumatic burden alone, revealing secrets involves risks, such as the possibility of being rejected by and alienated from the listener,” Kelly and her colleague, Kevin McKillop, write in their study. “Revealing a secret may cause increased discomfort for both the secret-keeper and the confidant.” Kelly suggests “judicious revelation.” (219) 631-7048 Dead Sea Scrolls : The discovery 50 years ago of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been justifiably “hailed as the greatest archeological discovery of the 20th century,” says James VanderKam , professor of theology at Notre Dame and an editor on the scrolls translation team. Notre Dame and Hebrew University in Jerusalem are the two primary sites for the editing of the scrolls. “These 800-plus Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts, which date from the last centuries BC and the first century AD, give us our earliest copies of biblical books and more than 600 other works, many of them unknown before,” VanderKam adds. “They provide a window on Judaism of the time and invaluable background information for the beginnings of Christianity. Now, 50 years after the discovery, publication is moving more rapidly than ever and we’re pleased to be playing a part in that process.” *(219) 631-5162; vanderkam.1@nd.edu * . President’s Summit : The President’s Summit for America’s Future, April 27-29 in Philadelphia, promises to be an “exciting event in which those of us in higher education can work together with business, government, religious groups, service agencies and other sectors of society to coordinate community service opportunities nationwide,” says Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. , president of Notre Dame. “I know personally the value of community service; that it can, in fact, be a life-changing experience,” says Father Malloy, whose participation as a student at Notre Dame in a summer service program led to his decision to become a priest. “The President’s Summit is an ideal opportunity for all of us who share concern for the less fortunate in this country to bring our collective energy together for the common good.” (219) 631-6755 Note : Six organizations at Notre Dame – the Alumni Association Community Service Program, Community Relations, the Alliance for Catholic Education, Holy Cross Associates, the Center for Social Concerns and the athletic department’s Life Skills Program – have made specific service and programming commitments to the summit. For more information, call (219) 631-7367 .

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