Over at Crisis magazine, Wolfgang Grassl hits on a truly provocative idea - reviving the Catholic cultural ghetto we associate with the urban, ethnic parishes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century - but, as is common with some Catholic conservatives, Grassl proceeds to mis the mark almost entirely. He thinks that, in hte light of the HHS mandates, our Catholic charities, hospitals, and schools should return to serving only our own. The problem here is obvious: The Parable of the Good Samaritan does not suggest that we should only seek to help our own poor but all the poor.
Mitt Romney knows what he wants – the nomination – and he is pretty sure that last night he took another big step towards achieving his goal. Which is not to say he sealed the deal last night: a 46% to 35% win is a big win, to be sure, but while he was outspending the cash-strapped campaign of Rick Santorum by 7-1, you might have thought Romney could break 50%. Nonetheless, barring a banana peel on his path to the convention, it is difficult to see how any of the other candidates can keep him from the magic number of 1,144 delegated needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot.
The key disappointment for the Romney campaign must be their inability to generate anything like enthusiasm from the GOP base. He has yet to win a primary in which white evangelicals constitute more than fifty percent of the voters. Perhaps they think that the GOP base’s hatred for Obama is so great, it doesn’t matter whether they like Romney, their hatred of Obama will drive them to the polls in droves. It is possible. But, some people like to be voting for, as well as against, and even a slight drop-off in white evangelical turnout could cost the GOP key states like Ohio, Michigan and Virginia.
Kathryn Lopez, at CatholicVote.org, recommends sending letters to those who have stood up for religious liberty this year. She includes the name and address for Speaker John Boehner on the list. Funny, I thought he had pulled the Fortenberry bill?
I think some of us on the left tend to under-estimate the degree of nastiness bishops have to put up with from their right wing flanks. Maybe that is because we dismiss the far right extremists as kooks. But, they are noisy kooks. Think of the attacks on CCHD, and the way the bishops have resisted efforts to dismantle that signature anti-poverty program. Or of Father Guarnizo, the communion-denying priest who basically called Cardinal Wuerl a liar last week.
Last week, I was invited to give the 20th annual ethics lecture by the Institute for Ethics at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. I chose to address Catholic Social Teaching and politics. Here is the text:
Time for Caesar to Render: How Catholic Social Teaching Can Heal What’s Wrong With American Politics
When I was asked to deliver this lecture last autumn, little did I know that the issue of rendering unto Caesar, that is, the relationship between Church & State, would become the stuff of nightly news and newspaper op-eds and polling data, and all the accoutrement of a modern democracy. The recent battle over if and how government mandates should extend to religious institutions reminded us all of something, actually many things, that we would rather forget:
The Constitution did not resolve the issue of the relationship of Church and State;
The Church never fits neatly into any political framework, many of the issues in contemporary political life have many answers and people of good will and good conscience can disagree, and disagree profoundly, as to which answer is best and, more importantly, which answers are even tolerable.
Today marks the first anniversary of the splendid blog, CatholicMoralTheology.com. The editors of that blog asked me and some others to write up posts commemorating their anniversary, which I was delighted to do. You can find my post here and come back to the site each day this week to find more posts marking a milestone on the emergence of a truly valuable online resource for Catholic Moral Theology.
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of my mother's death. She died on the vigil of the Feast of St. Joseph, patron of a happy death and, indeed, her death copuld not have been more peaceful when it came. What preceded it was far from peaceful: She had been battling Parkinson's for years and then, in August of 2006, she and my dad were in a horrific accident in which she broke both arms, her neck and one leg. She never really recovered, and never spoke again, although after the first few days, she re-gained consciousness. She was certainly aware that I was at her bedside each and every day and that my dad, once he recovered from his injuries, was there each and every day for the entire day.
Obviously, the readers of this blog did not know my mother. But, you have come to know me, and mindful of e.e. cummings words - I am first the son of my parents and whatever is happening to him - I share the eulogy I delivered at my mother's funeral with you:
Eulogy for Claire McDermott Winters
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
25 March 2007, Feast of the Annunciation
The White House took another stab at reaching some sort of agreement on the contentious issue of the HHS mandates regarding women’s preventive services, releasing new analysis of the prior accommodation, as well as new proposed rules for self-insured religious entities.
Over at his still sorta new blog at RNS, Mark Silk brings commentary on the upcoming Puerto Rico primary from Juhem Navarro, whom I met at a book signing event at the UConn Co-op in February. Navarro's comments are the smartest thing you are likely to hear about PR politics this weekend because the news anchors always make a hash of the subject.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced today that he will be stepping down as the Primate of England by the end of the year. Williams is, by all accounts an extraordinary man with an extraordinary intellect and a deep faith. When he received the Campion Award from America magazine, Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. called Williams "a prophet to a post-Christian age." Williams and the Holy Father have developed an especially close friendship. He will be greatly missed.