Today is the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, founders of the Church of Rome to which we RCs throughout the world all get to belong. The ties that bind us to Rome, like all familial ties, are not without there moments of challenge and misunderstanding. But, at Mass this morning, the Holy Father presided at an altar constructed over the tomb of the man who was Jesus' best friend when He walked the face of the earth. That is one tie that binds and binds happily.
Over at Religion & Politics, the new website from the Danforth Center, Michael Waggoner has a review of a new book by Steven Green that looks at the battle in the U.S. courts over Bible reading and prayer in the public schools.
As bad as the HHS mandate is, the breathless claims that all this is unprecedented is not historically convincing.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling will long be parsed for its constitutional significance. Certainly, the nation is better served by a Chief Justice who understands he must mind the Court’s place in our political and constitutional system, and not let the Court become yet another institution overwhelmed by partisanship, than it would be by a Chief Justice who was willing to run roughshod over the other branches. Certainly, yesterday was not a good day for the Commerce Clause: The decision was not, as most observers have it, really a 5-4 decision so much as it was a 4-1-4 decision, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the conservatives on the principle and with the liberals on the application. Roberts played the role of Casuist-in-Chief, and in a polarized political and legal climate, three cheers for the casuistic temperament.
The USCCB has issued a statement with which, mimicking court language, I concur in part and dissent in part. The bishops reiterate their call to fix those things in the ACA they find objectionable, but they also reiterate their unwillingness to join calls for the law's repeal. I obviously concur with the need they identify for more robust conscience protection language. I also concur with the bishops that one of the principal failings of the law is its failure to extend coverage to undocumented immigrants and their families.
UPDATED - The following statement was issued by Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, regarding the Supreme Court's decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act:
I've said it before but will say it again - The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn is the best reporter on health care issues in the land.
In this post, he looks at what the SCOTUS ruling will, and will not, settle regarding our nation's health care.
Chris Cillizza at the WaPo has some useful charts for figuring out atttitudes towards health care reform. Of course, today there is only one poll that counts and it has been conducted amongst only 9 people. But, whatever the decision, this polling data shows what the fallout will look like.
Last night, I was in New York City to speak at an event sponsored by the Crossroads Cultural Center at New York University. The topic was the Holy Father’s address to the Bundestag, a text well worth considering. But, for me, as for the audience, the highlight of the evening was my fellow panelist, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete.
State Rep. Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania told a Republican group this past weekend that the purpose of the state's new Voter ID law was all about handing the election to Gov. Romney. I have written about this before. Pennsylvania and most other states have no, repeat no, problem of voter fraud. But, the GOP has enacted these laws that will make it more difficult for poor people to vote, especially those in urban areas who have never had a car, in many states. It is an outrage. Again, I call on my conservative friends to speak out against this. Here is the video from Hardball:
I know Father Robert Barron leaves some people cold. I prefer his writing to his TV documentary. But, this essay he posted yesterday is, I think, very important, especially the end where he talks about the reasons for founding the journal Communio. It ties in, I think, with my post below about Abp DiNoia's appointment to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and it is well worth the read.