February 2013

From Jean Jullien’s series “Modern Life”

Donald Knuth needs no introduction to computer geeks. He is a world-renowned computer scientist, Stanford’s legendary laureate of algorithm analysis, and author of the seminal, multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming . His books are dedicated not to the usual suspects—the wife, the soul mate, the amanuensis beyond price—but to a computer: the Type 650 “in remembrance of many pleasant evenings.” From Jean Jullien’s series “Modern Life” On January 1, 1990, Knuth became a happy man. He gave up email. Having used it already for about 15 years, he decided that was enough for one lifetime. Continue Reading
#askpontifex

Saints . . . reformed the Church in depth, not by working up plans for new structures, but by reforming themselves. What the Church needs in order to respond to the needs of man in every age is holiness, not management.
–Joseph Ratzinger Our president has a hashtag; now our pope has one, too. Benedict acquired it just in time to bequeath it to his successor. The next pope will inherit #askpontifex together with an audience already bundled and delivered. Is that not cool? Continue Reading
Pope Benedict and Twitter

Pope Benedict’s abrupt resignation casts a disquieting light on an earlier bulletin. On December 3, 2012, the Vatican announced that the pope would begin posting on Twitter. Beginning December 13, he could be followed with the handle @pontifex. The New York Times accompanied announcement of Twitter’s new convert with a photo that caught a fleeting, impromptu moment in an otherwise staged event. Credited to L’ Osservatore Romano and taken some time during the previous year, it shows Benedict at his desk leaning over an iPad, a device he is clearly unfamiliar with. Continue Reading
Humilitas Est Veritas

The reign of Pope Benedict VI comes to a close at the end of this month. It is not sufficient to say that this morning’s news of the pope’s resignation came as shock. For an instant, the world seemed to have spun off its axis. Perhaps the most stunning thing about it is the humility implicit in Benedict’s renunciation of his Petrine ministry. He resigns in recognition of his decreasing ability to fulfill the demands of office. So doing, he upholds the truth of his own condition. Continue Reading