We are halfway through the Synod on the Family. After a week of interventions, prepared speeches delivered to the full body, now the synod fathers break into small discussion groups to burrow into the themes discussed. Very little has leaked out of the synod, and the new method of the Vatican press office leaves much to be desired.
Next Thursday, October 16, Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought in Public Life will be hosting a discussion: "Seeking the Common Good in an Age of Polarization." The event begins at 7 p.m. in Gaston Hall and features, among others, NCR's own Caitlin Hendel. The Initiative is the brainchild of John Carr who has sponsored many wonderful conversations since the Initiative began last year. Don't miss this one!
Last year, at the conclusion of the annual USCCB plenary in November, the statement from the bishops regarding the HHS contraception mandate dropped the language about the accommodation for religious institutions requiring those institutions to "fund and/or facilitate" the objectionable coverage. This "fund and/or facilitate" language is the language of illicit material cooperation, which is why it was dropped. Most bishops, at least the sane ones, have no intention of closing down ministries if they are required to comply with the accommodation.
Anyone with ears to hear knows that the "intrinsically disordered" language regarding homosexual relations has failed to achieve anything except make the Church look foolish and mean-spirited. The synod fathers apparently have discussed the need to find better language with which to convey the Church's teachings in this area. But Cardinal Burke still thinks he is being pastoral when he deploys this language.
On Monday mornings, the staff and faculty associated with Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) gather in a small chapel on the ground floor of Visitation Hall for Mass. This past Monday, Father Timothy Scully, CSC, who started ACE in 1993, was the celebrant when I joined the group for the Mass. The service is simple: guests, including myself, are welcomed, an introductory hymn (2 verses, very RC), a short homily, a song at communion. The passing of the peace takes awhile as these colleagues embrace each other at the beginning of their work week.
In this morning's Washington Post, Harold Meyerson on the deeper reasons you probably have not seen a wage increase lately.
At Patheos, Artur Rosman on the need for the Church to become/replace the increasingly extinct extended family.
A splendid way of framing the debates at the Synod on the Family from Mark Silk at Religion News Service: Ponder the Prophet Jonah.
By reputation, I had long been aware that the University of Notre Dame is a great Catholic university. This past weekend, for the very first time, I made the trek to South Bend and was able to assess that reputation first hand and, in the event, to confirm it. I have many impressions of my whirlwind three days on campus. Here are some of them.
On Yom Kippur, a synagogue in Spokane, Washington was defaced by a swastika. Bishop Blase Cupich issued a statement expressing his solidarity with the Jewish community and his sadness at this act of hate in the strongest terms. You can read his statement here.