My colleague Robert McClory’s report yesterday caught my eye. It was about an ad in the Chicago papers calling on Cardinal Francis George to “retract his threat to withdraw funds from Catholic organizations that are members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.” I was vaguely familiar with the situation, but the charges in the ad did not ring true.
Cong. Chris Van Hollen has an op-ed today at Politico that excoriates the GOP House budget on account of its cuts to anti-poverty programs. As well, today Sr. Simone Campbell will be testifying before Congress on the budget. We have heard lots of words from Cong. Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee, about the poor. Now it is time for him to translate those words into actions.
First, Sen. Rand Paul picked a fight with Congressman Peter King. Now, he has picked one with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Christie is making mincemeat out of him.
Check out this morning's Bollettino. Two archbishops sacked on the same day, in the same country, for financial shenanigans. They were not given cushy jobs in Rome. They were just sacked. The broom is out.
Pope Francis' address to the leaders of CELAM, the bishops' conference of Latin America and the Caribbean, will prove to be the most studied of the Holy Father's talks in Rio de Janeiro. It brought together many themes he has been discussing in his morning sermons at daily Mass into a coherent whole and painted a picture of his own vision for the church.
Politico has an update on the tortured process by which the House of Representatives is grappling with immigration reform. Despite the challenges, if something, anything passes the House, the chance for a conference committee to essentially ratify the Senate bill and bring it to a vote will increase the chances of getting something on the president's desk this year.
Okay, sometimes those who bemoan secular humanism have a point. FEMA has evidently been denying aid to religious groups affected by Hurricane Sandy. The logic of those who think FEMA is constitutionally barred from aiding religious groups is deeply flawed and I can prove it with an exact, and easy, analogy. If a church or synagogue or mosque is on fire, is it unconstitutional for the Fire Department to go try and put out the fire?
At least Brad Miner, writing at the "Catholic Thing," does not beat around the bush: The bishops are wrong, he asserts, on the issue of immigration reform. His arguments are exceedingly weak but, most importantly, he never engages what the bishops have actually taught on this subject, namely, that there is a moral obligation to care for migrants, an obligation that is absolute, even while it admits a variety of policy approaches.
It is one of the more bothersome effects of old age that I can't remember to get what I need at the grocery store unless I make a list. Some days, I can't remember what I had for dinner the night before. But, I can remember exactly where I was ten years ago this morning. I was sitting in a pew in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross as then-Archbishop Sean O'Malley was installed as the Archbishop of Boston. It was a painful day for all concerned, given the circumstances. But, it was made less painful when O'Malley took to the pulpit and introduced himself to his new flock.
In all the hullabaloo over Pope Francis’ press conference on the plane yesterday, it is easy to forget that the enduring message of Pope Francis’ first foreign trip had to do not with the Church’s stance towards gays, nor how to reform the Vatican bank. The enduring message had two parts, closely intertwined: The Church must allow herself to be renewed, and the principal path for that renewal is cultivating a culture of encounter, especially with the poor and the marginalized.