I am not sure why conservative Italian vaticanista Sandro Magister singled out me in his story about Cardinal Raymond Burke's apparently forthcoming demotion. I am not the only Catholic who wept when +Burke got a red hat. I consider +Burke's influence at the Vatican to have been largely unfortunate, especially when he was on the Congregation for Bishops, but so did many people, including the vast majority of people in several dioceses!
Corruption comes in many flavors. Earlier this month, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were found guilty of the kind of petty, gross corruption that we usually think of when we employ the word, trading on their official capacity for private gain. Such corruption is real and offensive and it should be punished, to be sure. But, as is often the case, less obvious varieties of corruption (and other sins) can pose a deeper threat to the political life of the nation. Two otherwise unrelated events this week point to such deeper corruption.
David Bacon, an immigration activist, has published a provocative article on the relationship between the immigration debate and larger debates about trade policy and labor organizing. I am not convinced that his focus on "rights" is the proper avenue: I prefer to see this debate go forward using the language and logic of solidarity. But, Bacon's article points out many of the issues that would remain unaddressed even if comprehensive immigration reform were to pass tomorrow, which it won't.
John Allen, who was a colleague of ours at NCR for many years, and is now a different kind of colleague but still a colleague, helped launch the Boston Globe's new website on Catholicism, Crux, with a panel discussion at Boston College featuring Cardinal Sean O'Malley, BC Theology Professor Hosffman Ospino, Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, and Robert Christian, the editor of Millennial who filled in for me last week here at Distinctly Catholic. I wish John and his team at the Globe much success, but not too much. LOL.
My colleague Brian Roewe had a report last week on Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport and his plans to hold a diocesan synod. +Caggiano met with 500 Bridgeport Catholics, many of them delegates to the upcoming synod, to share his thoughts on the state of the diocese.
While I was traveling, the Holy Father delivered another one of his very profound sermons in which he said that "the privileged place for an encounter with Christ are our sins." This is, I think, critical to understanding his entire pontificate. He does not view sin the way a Pelagian views sin. He does not think that we get rewarded for good behavior with the sacraments.
In this morning's Washington Post, Robert Samuelson looks at the pounding median and middle class wages and net worth took in the wake of the 2007 economic meltdown, returning both to late 1980s levels. This explains a lot about why people remain gloomy about the economy. I wish Samuelson had taken the time to consider the poor as well.
It had been nine years since I crossed the Atlantic to visit Europe and my life has changed a great deal in those intervening years. My last trip was decidedly ecclesiastical as I was attending a consistory. But, as more and more of my life has been happily consumed by thinking about the Catholic Chruch, it was not really a surprise that my trip to Bavaria and Austria last week turned into a bit of a pilgrimage. With limited time in cities I have never before visited, I head straight for the churches.
Editor's note: Michael Sean Winters is on vacation this week. Filling in for him are various writers from Millennial, a journal featuring the writing of millennial Catholics. Winters will be back next week.
Distinctly Catholic: Those who believe in creating a more just world cannot ignore those suffering abroad. There is no location on Earth excluded from solidarity.