The first pope to take the name of Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting and within days, Syria promised to turn over its chemical weapons. Now, the Franciscan Action Network is calling for Congress to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. Don't mess with Franciscans!
Jennifer Rubin, the conservative columnist at the Washington Post, has posted a hilarious test so you can determine if you have drunk too much of the conservative, Tea Party Kool-Aid. Item # 1: You think Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has it nailed when he tells the Value Voters Summit that the Dems are “feeling the heat” in the shutdown fight.
One of the corporal works of mercy is: Bury the Dead. My colleague John Allen has a report on a discussion in Rome about whether or not a Nazi war criminal, who never repented his actions - and, indeed, continued to deny the Holocaust even in a statement issued after his death! - should be given a Catholic funeral. The answer is not an easy one, but it is inescapable: Yes, this man should receive a Catholic funeral if that is what his family wants.
Governor Jerry Brown of California vetoed a bill that would have lifted the statute of limitations on charges related to the sexual abuse of children. This is a good thing, certainly, but more needs to be done.
At a ceremony marking the grim anniversary of the deportation of Rome's Jews during World War II, Pope Francis said, "A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! Let Anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and life of every man and every woman!" You can read an account of the commemoration at Vatican radio by clicking here.
LOVE THIS POPE!
The Public Religion Research Institute has a wonderful graph that indicates the problem the Republicans have with Hispanic voters. When asked how they would describe the Republican Party, only 11 percent used positive adjectives. 42 percent, chose neutral terms. The remainder, 47 percent, chose negative terms such as "rich, corporate" (15 percent), "racist, intolerant, anti-immigrant," (11 percent) "old-fashioned, out of touch," (5 percent) and "obstructionist," (3 percent).
We all remember the scene in Casablanca when Captain Louis Renault, played by Claude Rains, pronounces him "shocked, shocked" to find that gambling has been going on at Rick's cafe, just before he collects his winnings. I thought of that scene when reading Janet Smith's article at First Things in which she asks who Pope Francis could be speaking about when he suggested that some Catholics are obsessed with certain moral issues to the exclusion of the fundamental proclamation of the Gospel.
My friend Charles Camosy, theology professor at Fordham, has a new book out that examines the moral implications of the way our culture processes its food, especially those processes which inflict cruelty on animals. Camosy has penned an op-ed that just appeared in the Seattle Times that captures some of the arguments he makes in the book.
Sometime today, maybe tomorrow, the fate of the Republican Party will be decided. GOP House leaders met with President Obama yesterday for negotiations to extend the debt ceiling and, hopefully, end the government shutdown. The President’s protestations that he would not negotiate notwithstanding, the meeting was a negotiation. It was not a White House tour. The tours are cancelled because of the shutdown.