When you tell someone you will be spending Christmas in Connecticut, images of Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan leap to mind. For me, of course, Connecticut is still home in a way that Washington never will be, a place where houses are still identified by the family who lived there years ago – “You know, the old Pearl place on Eleventh Section Road” – and where I am known simply, and in a sense most accurately, not as a Catholic journalist or author but as “Claire and Felix’s son.”
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” We know these words from the Book of Isaiah. We recognize them as the words with which Handel’s Messiah” opens. We know the Advent tune that takes them as the chorus. The promise God articulates through Isaiah is, we Christians believe, redeemed in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Here is a link to the statement by Bishop Christopher Coyne on his appointment to the Diocese of Burlington. +Coyne is a smell of the sheep kind of bishop, as this statement shows. Congrats to all our friends in the Green Mountain State!
Politico reports on new pro-labor doings in the Obama administration. It is about time. Now, if we can only get Obama to scuttle some of his proposed trade deals.
Pope Francis, in his annual Christmas address to the Curia, set forth fifteen – count ‘em, fifteen - spiritual maladies that he believes have invaded the upper echelons of the Vatican’s leadership. The speech illustrates again how differently Pope Francis conceives of his role as pope and how differently he grasps the problems facing the Church from the way his two immediate predecessors viewed these matters.
Over at RNS, Mark Silk examines the issue of media bias in religion reporting with his usual, even expected, eye for clarity.
In this morning's Washington Post, Michael Gerson on the huge decline in childhood mortality rates due to increased vaccination.
And, at Politico, the news tat Vermont is ending its attempt to create the first single payer system in the U.S.
Sony Pictures has chosen to pull its planned debut of the movie “The Interview” in the face of threats of a terrorist attack at theaters showing the movie and after the North Korean regime apparently hacked into Sony’s internal computers, unearthing unseemly emails. The movie depicted a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
Over at Vatican Insider, a story about a documentary filmmaker giving Pope Francis two of his documentaries about the lives of immigrants to the U.S. Let's hope the pope watches them and, even more, let's hope that when he comes to the U.S. Papa Francesco makes a stop at the border and says Mass there for all those who have tried to cross it seeking a better life, only to encounter death or exploitation.
Over at Millennial, Dan DiLeo anticipates the pushback we will likely hear from some conservatives when Pope Francis released his much anticipated encyclical. We need some ecclesiastical climate change.