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USCCB Admin Cmte Meeting

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The USCCB Administrative Committee begins a two-day meeting this morning. A lot has happened since the USCCB plenary in November, so the bishops have a full plate but the issue that has captured the attention of the entire nation, the HHS mandates, will undoubtedly garner the lion’s share of discussion.

It is clear that the President’s “accommodation,” announced on February 10, was an effort to assuage the concerns about conscience raised by the bishops and other Catholics, including many of the President’s supporters. And, it is also clear that in one regard, the accommodation works: Catholic institutions will not have to do anything regarding contraception coverage. They do not have to provide it nor refer employees to a different provider where they can get it. Yes, the vehicle the President proposed for delivering universal coverage for women is the institution’s health insurance company, and there is a federal mandate to provide an insurance plan, but there is also a Gospel mandate to provide insurance for workers at our Catholic institutions. In any event, I think the accommodation showed increased sensitivity by the White House to our concerns.

March Madness: Best Time of Year

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If you want to know how competitive college basketball is, and why consequently it is the best sport going today, think of this one fact: Three of thr four top-seeded teams in the upcoming NCAA tournament lost their conference championships. The fourth, Michigan State, was not slated to get a #1 seed until it knocked off Ohio State in the Big Ten championship yesterday. Syracuse and North Carolina did not even make it into the final of their conference championships.

On any given night, any of the top fifty teams in the country can knock off any of the other top fifty teams in the country. Which means there is never a game you don't want to watch. There is no other sport, collegiate or pro, of which this can be said.

\"Game Change\"

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HBO’s controversial movie adaptation of the book “Game Change” aired this weekend. The book focused on the decision by the campaign of John McCain to select Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. The “controversy” was generated, and foolishly fed by Palin and her allies, by complaints about whether or not the movie accurately portrayed Palin’s frequent meltdowns during her two and one-half months in the national spotlight.

I do not know if Palin ever actually stood in a stairwell, arguing with Nicole Wallace on her cell phone before throwing the device against the wall and screaming that she was “ruined.” But, the basic narrative of the script was undoubtedly accurate and the filmmakers interspersed clips of news coverage of Palin from that time to make the point. When Fareed Zakaria looks into the camera and suggests that Palin’s problem was not that she couldn’t provide answers to questions but that she clearly did not understand the questions, that was not acting. That was a contemporaneous clip. And, that was the problem with Palin.

More Good News on Jobs

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This morning, the Dept. of Labor announced that the U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs last month, beating analysts expectations. The Labor Dept. also revised upwards the numbers for December and January. This is very good news for the economy but especially for those people finding work and for their families.

Some may wonder why the unemployment rate stayed steady at 8.3% if the economy added so many jobs. It is because people who had been so discouraged they had stopped looking for work altogether are not counted as unemployed, so as the economy picks up, more people re-enter the labor market and this can actually make the unemployment rate tick up. But, the bottom line is that for the last three months, the economy has added an average of 245,000 jobs per month, those people can now purchase goods and services which leads to more job growth. Of course, more trouble in the Eurozone, or problems in the Mideast, or if the price of gas continues to increase, all can become a drag on the economy. But, so far, so good.

Anti-Catholic Bigotry on Steroids

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A new ad set to run in prominent newspapers from the Freedom From Religion Foundation is so chock full of anti-Catholic bigotry and pure venom, one is tempted to fret that we should expect an anti-Popery riot sometime soon.

Of course, it tells you something about the secular left that they seem more concerned with lifestyle choices than with life itself, which ends for them and for us, in the grave. They do not acknowledge that the Church has something to do with proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ, but that would probably not impress them. If they were to be confronted with deLubac's beautiful sentence - what would I know of Him, but for her - they would not likely see the value of knowing Him.

The Int'l Theo Commission's New Document

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The International Theological Commission issued a new document yesterday entitled “Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria.” I scanned the text yesterday, and I liked what I was reading. As a reality check, I emailed a friend who, unlike me, is a theologian and asked what he thought of the text. “Good stuff!” he replied, and indeed it is. I woke up early this AM to re-read it, and I like it even better on the second reading.

Morning's Minion Takes Down the Tablet

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No, not THAT Tablet. In a post at Vox Nova, Morning's Minion takes on a recent editorial in the Brooklyn Tablet, the diocesan newspaper, not to be confused with the international Catholic weekly based in London.

I had already called attention the editorial - especially the odd fact that it refers readers to the website of the Heritage Foundation but not, say, to Rerum Novarum, Gaudium et Spes or Caritas in Veritate! Minion goes further and does the heavy lifting, pointing out that this was written by someone with little or no knowledge of Catholic social teaching.

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September 12-25, 2014

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