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Cong. Ryan's Faulty Understanding of Subsidiarity

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Heresy has been defined as “a truth run amok.” That definition came to mind when I heard Cong. Paul Ryan argue during a Christian Broadcasting Network interview that his budget proposals are consonant with Catholic social teaching. Ryan has happened upon the traditional Catholic notion of subsidiarity to justify his position and, for good measure, he also invokes the Church’s preferential option for the poor, but gives that teaching a peculiarly laissez-faire slant. Here is the full quote:

A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private. So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?

Santorum Drops Out

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I will say this about Rick Santorum: It was sorta fun having him as a candidate if for no other reason than because he gave moderation a good name by staking out extreme positions, and articulating those positions with such unfettered certainty. Bad ideas deserve bad prophets, and in the Santorum candidacy, today's theocratic GOP found its perfect epitomization.

Fundamentalist Inquisition

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And you thought that we RCs were the only ones who had to contend with the neo-Inquisitors at the Cardinal Newman Society. Turns out the nation's largest evangelical university, Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., is debating whether or not to revoke an invitation to megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, whose writings on human sexuality have made some fundamentalists cringe. You can read the story here.

17th Century French Catholicism

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Last month, I finally finished Joseph Bergin’s Church, Society and Religious Change in France, 1580-1730. It is a long book and it is not light reading, and I had to set it aside several times to read other books that I needed to review. But, I can scarcely recommend this book too highly because it shows how many of our preconceived notions about earlier times are astonishingly vapid, and also how some of the issues we face today can be more honestly addressed by considering how those issues manifested themselves in different cultural circumstances. The book is magisterial and I shall use my morning posts today and tomorrow to reflect on some of its major themes.

GOP Down Ticket Problems

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Politico has a good story about how national Republicans are worried that key Senate and House races will be adversely affected either because some super-blue states like California and New York have become "orphans" within the GOP, other state parties, like those in Nevada and Iowa are deeply in debt, and in Ohio, the state party is engaged in an internicene war. Elections are not only about ideas, but about how each party can effectively communicate those ideas, turn out their voters, etc. With control of both houses in play this autumn, especially the Senate, the party that does the best job allocating its resources may come out on top.

MSW Responds to Bowman & Garnett on HHS Mandates

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My previous arguments against the idea that any individual or business should be able to exempt themselves from the HHS contraception mandates by citing religious liberty concerns has come under criticism, some of it thoughtless, some of it not.

The thoughtless criticism comes from Matt Bowman at the blog CatholicVote.org. He writes that a recent text from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace decries the “split between faith and daily business practice” and that the HHS mandate requires precisely such a split. And, he says that I have no regard for the conscience rights of individuals. He also lumps me together with CUA’s Professor Stephen Schneck and the writers at Commonweal, and I am delighted to be lumped together with such thoughtful Catholics.

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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

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