Last week I had the good fortune to attend the fifth meeting of the Catholic Conversation Project (CCP). Begun in the wake of the kerfuffle over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame’s graduation in 2009, and designed to defuse the culture war mentality that so easily consumes all in its wake, the CCP has been gathering young theologians together each summer for a few days of panels, discussions, camaraderie, and prayer. They invite some experts at each session to serve on panel discussions.
From yesterday's New York Times, Nick Kristof on the challenges facing America's working class, and how no one is paying enough attention to them. Indeed, the phrase "working class" needs to be brought back into common usage, as distinguished from the middle class. With Robert Putnam's forthcoming book on this topic, we can only hope that this pressing national concern will get the attention it deserves.
In this weekend's Washington Post Magazine, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is my archbishop here in Washington, channels Pope Francis. The quote above is great, but read also +Wuerl's comments on not wanting to draw conclusions for others. As I have noted before, +Wuerl has the heart of a pastor and it is nice to see that heart on display in this interview.
C-Span is not my usual TV viewing fare, but this weekend – when my schedule was trying to return to normal after a week of travel – they aired replays of President Nixon’s two resignation speeches, one to the nation the night before his resignation and one, the next day, to the White House staff. I could not tear myself away and ended up watching them twice. Forty years ago, our nation faced a real constitutional crisis, not a faux crisis contrived by Fox and Friends.
This article by John Zmirak at American Catholic is stunning in every way. I do not share Mr. Zmirak's belief that "strict justice" requires deportation of all undocumented immigrants. His selective reading of Church teaching is remarkable. And this, in a journal that proclaims it examines politics and culture "from a Catholic perspective." Zmirak should try out his arguments with his local bishop or, better yet, with the Holy Father.
This story from earlier in the week at the Atlanta Journal Consitution merits widespread attention. Standard & Poors, not exactly a lefty think tank, has lowered its projections for U.S. economic growth on account of income inequality: The uber-rich save their money, removing it from the economy, and the rest of us have less and less to spend.
Over at Millennial, Robert Christian on the threat of genocide in Iraq. He rightly places the lion's share of the blame for the turmoil on the terrorists themselves, but notes that they got their opportunity because the Bush administration completely misunderstood the consequences of their decision to go to war and the Obama administration completely failed to aid the moderate opposition to Assad in Syria. Good stuff.
The crises in the Mideast just seem to get worse and worse. President Obama has decided to use air strikes against Islamic terrorists in Iraq who have taken over large swaths of that country and continue to threaten minority populations with genocide. The truce in Gaza was broken by Hamas, which launched new rocket attacks into Israel, prompting further retaliation from Israel. Syria remains in a state of civil war.
Governor Martin O'Malley is pushing back hard against the White House insinuations regarding his statements and actions about the unaccompanied minors coming to the border. Good for him. Someone in the Democratic Party has to acknowledge that the damn of political solidarity has broken, the White House is adrift and/or inept, and the future of the party should not be tied to the Obama administration's increasingly insular focus and the failures the flow therefrom. HuffPost has the story.
Mark Silk rightly asks - where is the outrage from religious leaders at the GOP for their hostility to the unaccompanied children coming to the border? Obama signs an LGBT non-discrimination rule and you would think the heavens were falling. But, the GOP personifies the throwaway culture, treats these children as a nuisance, and wants to send them back into the burning buildings which their home countries have become, and there is no outrage coming from the USCCB.