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+O'Malley On Immigration Reform

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Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, released the following statement today associating himself with Archbishop Jose Gomez's statement in support of President Obama's decision regarding undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children:

“I am very pleased by the statement of Archbishop Jose Gomez, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, welcoming the actions of President Obama last Friday providing for legal protection and work authorization to thousands of undocumented youth. This action by the President makes it possible for these young men and women, who have spent most of their lives in this country, to pursue education and employment opportunities and to make a contribution to American society. The United States has historically welcomed immigrants from throughout the world, to improve their own lives and to contribute to the common good of our nation. As Archbishop Gomez said, this executive action by the President is not a substitute for passage of the DREAM Act. It is my hope that the U.S. Congress will see the wisdom of providing the full range of rights and protections which this Act contains.”

Supreme Court Preview

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Over at The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn looks at different possible scenarios when the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Affordable Care Act, and what those legal scenarios mean in terms of the underlying policies.

Follow an unalterable law of human nature, the more complicated the ruling the stringer the spin will be, so Cohn's look at the scenarios will help us all navigate the fog of commentary that will emerge the second after the ruling hits.

Globalization & Its Discontents

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The elections in Greece on Sunday brought a sense of relief to the world’s financial markets. The New Democracy Party, which is pledged to supporting the already negotiated bailouts and attendant austerity measures, won a plurality of the votes cast, although the painful process of forming a coalition government is still in progress. Nonetheless, the prospect of a new Greek government intent on spurning the agreements and possibly withdrawing from, or being forced out of, the Eurozone, was avoided. World markets breathed a sigh of relief. For about three hours. By noon, fears about the Spanish economy overwhelmed the morning’s gains.

Bad news always travels faster than good, and fear tends to exercise more effective control over human emotions than hope. But, I thought the market’s “invisible hand” was supposed to be rational and not prey to emotions? Globalization has now shown its uglier side.

Gibson Nails Keller

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At Commonweal, David Gibson, who is one of the best religion journalists practicing the craft today, notes the distress, not the irony, in Bill Keller's realization that he and Bill Donohue agree that a smaller, leaner Church is the way to go. Gibson rightly points disconcerted Catholics towards the Common Ground initiative which he exquisitely describes as "deeper, broader, more satisfying — if crowded and complex and maddening."

What most struck me about Keller's article was the complete absence of any sense of the divine at play in his conception of belonging to the Church or in its complicated, frustrating, even bewildering attempts to express its own faith. Like Cardinal Dolan, I am always haunted, happily so, by Henri de Lubac's observation: "What would I know of Him but for her."

Jewish Support on Immigration

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The Jewish Council for Public Affairs issued a press release announcing its support for President Obama's immigration decision on Friday.

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said: “Finally, reason and decency have come to the table in the immigration debate. The JCPA has advocated for passage of the DREAM Act to reward children who, despite their circumstances, have worked hard and remained in school. But in the face of legislative stagnation, we applaud President Obama and Secretary Napolitano for issuing this policy directive on behalf of young and committed immigrants to permit them to stay and be a part of our nation. This step will assuage their fears that they could be deported at a moment’s notice.” said Gutow.

Rabbi Gutow continued “The biblical mandate to treat the stranger as our own holds particularly true to American Jews. Just as we were strangers in Egypt, many Jews began as strangers in America. In light of many of our own experiences, we have an obligation to see that today’s immigrants, looking for a share in the freedom and prosperity of America, are met with the same opportunities we have had.”

HHS, Immigration & the Estuary

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The estuary where politics and religion meet experienced something like an earthquake, actually two of them, on Friday. First came the news that President Obama was instituting a new policy regarding undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Then came the news that the Catholic Health Association had been unable to work out the details regarding the conscience exemptions from the HHS mandate, and its comment on the HHS rule which called upon the administration to scrap the unworkable four-part definition of what is or is not a religious organization, employ exemption language from elsewhere in the federal code, and devise a different vehicle, such as Title X or the exchanges the Affordable Care Act sets up, for delivering the preventive services they seek. In case you missed it, I wrote a rare Saturday post on the HHS issue here.

Sr. Carol Keehan & The HHS Mandate

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I can think of no one who brings greater moral authority to the debate over the HHS mandate than Sr. Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association. In the first place, Sr. Carol represents major stakeholders in the debate, the many Catholic hospitals nationwide that care for one sixth of all Americans: If anyone can speak authoritatively about what it means to carry on the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus in America today, it is she and the people she represents.

BREAKING: CHA Calls on HHS To Scrap Narrow Exemption Clause

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The Catholic Health Association today released the text of its "comment" to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the HHS mandate and the need for improved consceince exemptions. I will be writing more on this tomorrow. In the meantime, make sure you check out the text of the letter -- signed by Sr. Carol Keehan, CEO of CHA, and Robert Stanek, Board Chair of CHA -- at NCR Today.

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