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To Laugh or To Cry?

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I am not sure what to make of the group Fatima1, which is hosting a conference at which the keynote speaker will be former Congressman Ron Paul. To incompatibility of Paul's brand of libertarianism with the most basic understanding of the Catholic Church's social teachings, and indeed with the Church's moral anthropology, it is hard to take this kind of thing seriously. But, there it is. We are trending into Fr. Coughlin territory here.

The Lessons of History & Syria, Part I

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History yields many lessons, but the formation of foreign policy in a democracy seems cursed to learn the wrong lessons as easily as the correct ones, and to forget that the lessons of history are plural. When we learn, or mis-learn, only one lesson, our views become distorted. The debate over what to do in Syria has demonstrated this phenomenon in spades.

 

Sen. Cruz: Syria Distracting From Benghazi

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Here is the money quote from an interview Sen. Ted Cruz had this weekend on ABC: “One of the problems with all of this focus on Syria is its missing the ball from what we should be focused on, which is the grave threat from radical Islamic terrorism. This is the one-year anniversary of the attack on Benghazi.  In Benghazi, four Americans were killed - including the first ambassador since 1979.”

+Gomez at AFL-CIO

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Yesterday, at the opening of the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez gave the invocation. He preceded the prayer with comments about Syria, immigration reform and the commitment of the Church to the working men and women of the nation and of every nation. Here is the full text:

Good afternoon to you all and welcome to Los Angeles!

We gather this afternoon at a serious moment in the life of our country.

The Ultra-Orthodox in Israel

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And the USCCB thinks we have religious liberty problems here? This article at RealClearPolitics by Peter Berkowitz looks at the situation of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel. This article should especially be read by those religious right folk who, in one breath, extol Israel, and in the second breath, warn darkly of the threats of European-style socialism. It is a reminder that Israel was founded as a secular state by, well, European socialists.

Why Am I a Zionist? Part III

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Since its founding, Israel has been beset by war and violence, from the War of Independence in 1948 to the bombings of restaurants and buses in Tel Aviv. That violence has yielded certain lessons. The Yom Kippur War taught it that a small country, surrounded by hostile powers, can never again cede the great military asset of surprise to its enemies. The belated inaction of the West in response to the genocide in Bosnia taught the Israelis that while Western leaders would continue to mouth the words “Never again!” they did not really mean it.

WA State Bishops on Immigration Reform

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The Washington State Catholic Conference, which represents the archdiocese of Seattle and the dioceses of Spokane and Yakima, has issued a pastoral statement on immigration reform to be included in all church bulletins. It is short, concise and powerful. Most importantly, in what we might call the mode of Papa Francesco, it starts with stories of real human beings. Let's hope other bishops throughout the country are issuing similar statements to their flocks.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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