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Weigel & the Cristeros

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So, George Weigel went to the movies to see "For Greater Glory" and it gave him the warm fuzzies. Still, the title of his latest example of agitprop "The Cristeros & us" is a little too precious in the use of that pronoun. I am reminded of a book of poems about the Holocaust: a publicity blurb written by Maya Angelou stated (I do not recal the exact quote), "This book reminds everyone that none of us survived the Holocaust without scars" to which Leon Wielseltier replied "Us?"

Remembering D-Day

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Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day. I had a flurry of meetings and then was unable to find the citation I wanted to recall that dread and fateful day. I could not find the story in any of the three biographies of Churchill I have in my library, nor in his war memoirs. But, this morning I was rewarded when I consulted Jon Meacham’s “Franklin and Winston.”

Churchill plunged himself into the planning of “Overlord,” the code name for the Normandy invasion. Meacham relates the story of an after-midnight meeting held at Downing Street to discuss the precise timing of the invasion. Generals Eisenhower and Ismay were present among others. According to Admiral Alan Kirk, “They were arguing back and forth, back and forth, what should be done. Finally Mr. Churchill lost patience, and he smote the table and said, ‘Well, what I would like to know is, when did William cross?’ The accused stood mute. No one could remember. He was obviously talking about William the Conqueror. Finally Pug Ismay, standing behind Mr. Churchill, coughed into his hand and said, ‘Sir, I think it was 1066.’”

The Boston Celtics

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There were two things about last night's victory by the Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat that struck a nerve. One was in the last minute when Paul Pearce had the ball and he was being guarded by Lebron James. James is arguably the most incredibly athletic phenom in the league, perhaps in any league. Pearce, like the rest of the Celtics, is considerably older than James and he lacks James' natural athletic prowess. But, he stared James down, took a step back and launched a three-point shot that caught nothing but net. The ball came off of his fingers but the shot originated in his heart.

The second thing that stood out was what transpired at every time out. As a team, the Celtics went to their bench. On the other side of the court, five individuals walked to their bench. The Celtics are a team, they play as a team, they have some extraordinary talent but their greatest talent is that they play as a team. The Heat, on the other hand, seem like five separate sub-contractors, brought together to work on a common project but never quite functioning as a team.

Grim, Grim, Grim in Wisconsin

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To say that last night’s results in the Wisconsin recall election were disheartening is a bit like saying oyster sorbet is a bad idea. (Yes, in a fit of inventiveness, the chefs at New York’s River Café once created such a concoction and it was as bad as you would imagine.) It is not only that Gov. Scott Walker will be emboldened to pursue his divisive brand of politics in the Badger State, it is that voters in all fifty states must wake to the realization that GOP fundraisers across the country have new evidence to bring to fat cat donors: Give us enough money and we can win.

Dear CDF: Please Condemn My Book

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Yesterday morning, I went to Amazon to see how Sr. Margaret Farley's book was performing in sales. It was #96 in the "sub-category" of "gender and sexuality" within the broader category of religion and spirituality. This morning, it is #1. It also is now the #1 book in the sub-category "theology."

So, I have a request of the CDF. Could you please find something to condemn in my recent biography of Jerry Falwell? I could use the extra sales.

On Wisconsin

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Voters in Wisconsin today are deciding whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker. I am not a fan of recall elections although they were designed precisely for this kind of situation: a candidate runs on one message, gets into office, and governs in ways that the voters clearly did not endorse. Walker did not put much if any emphasis on the need to deny the collective bargaining rights of state employees when he ran two years ago, but that was the centerpiece of his efforts to bring the state's finances under control, and effort made more difficult by Walker's insistence on cutting taxes first.

Changing the Guard at America

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America magazine today announced that Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. is stepping down as editor of the storied Jesuit weekly and will be replaced in October by Fr. Matt Malone, S.J.

As many of you know, I began my blogging career at America and was greatly blessed to work with Fr. Christiansen, who, among other gifts, knows more about Catholic social teaching, and its nexus with the whole of Catholic theology, than almost anyone I know. I also have had delightful exchanges by email with Fr. Malone over the years and have, through his writings, become acquainted with a mind that can best be described as penetrating. He is an excellent choice to lead the journal.

Father Christiansen will be taking a sabbatical and then teach. Somewhere out there are some very lucky students at a Jesuit college who will soon have the benefit of his learning. I extend all good wishes to him in the future and offer Fr. Malone a hearty welcome back.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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