"Morning Briefing" here at NCR linked today to an important article by Manya Braecher in the Chicago Tribune about that city's Catholic school system, its successes and challenges. I am not the product of Catholic schools and my mother was a lifelong member of the National Education Association. But, I have come to appreciate the Catholic school as essential in creating Catholic culture and generating vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
This weekend, the text of a letter from Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Vice President of Ecclesia Dei charged with trying to achieve a reconciliation between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See, was released. You can read the full text by clicking here, and you should do so.
Inaugural speeches are among the toughest speeches to write. The nature of the event itself requires that the President seek to transcend partisanship, a nature that was reinforced by the first great inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson’s famous “We are all federalists. We are all Republicans.” Our politics today are as divided as those that faced Jefferson, and so there is always something a little off-key about appeals to non-partisanship, and, unlike Jefferson, such appeals now lack the appearance of novelty.
Cathleen Kaveny is writing some of the smartest posts on the HHS mandate to be published so far. Here is her second response to my posting which was, in turn, a response to her first article on the topic at Commonweal. I shall respond to Kaveny's postings when she has completed them but must say that the White House would be in a far different position if they had hired her to explain the mandate a year ago, which is not to say that i am entirely persuaded. But, as I say, I shall wait until she is finished to reply.
I think Mark Silk gets it exactly write in this short essay in which he suggests that the pastors chosen to give prayers at the Inauguration should be chosen because the President wants them, not to please any constituency.
President Obama is expected to announce that Denis McDonough will be his new chief of staff. This is one of the top jobs in Washington, and McDonough has been a friend to the Church during his tenure at the national Security Council. His brother is a priest who was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. Paul. This profile of McDonough ran in this morning's Washington Post.
The speculation over who will serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the Holy See has gone from whispering to campaigning.
Over at Commonweal, Cathleen Kaveny has replied to my post the other day, which was a reply to her earlier post on religious liberty. She promises more soon, so I shall wait until then to reply. I will say that Kaveny is making the best case for the exemptions the administration presented, better than anything I have heard from the administration.
If you did not see this HBO documentary when it came out, it is now posted at Gloria.tv here. The documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis," features Mother Dolores Hart of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, a very special place of grace that is well worth a visit if you are ever up that way. The video is only 36 minutes long. Bring Kleenex.
Three cheers for Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for his comments rebuking Bishop Fellay, the leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, who said in a recent talk that Jews were "enemies of the Church." As Madden noted, such comments do not only hurt the Jewish community, they hurt us Catholics too.