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Religious Liberty: The Culture & the Church

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Our culture is drowning in rights. Everyone thinks they have a right to everything and some take rights they do enjoy to excuse truly abhorrent behavior. Women have a right to free contraception. Bar customers claim a right to drink one too many. Wall Street sharks, take the right to private property that is justly theirs, and turn it into an excuse to rig the game and rip off the economy and the taxpayer. A customer spills his coffee on himself and thinks he has a right to sue McDonald's for producing too-hot coffee. And, of course, once the Supreme Court went mucking around in the penumbra of the Constitution, they found constitutional rights that, for some reason, had never occurred to the authors of that document.

Kudos to OSV

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Greg Erlandson, editor of Our Sunday Visitor, as a very clarifying post up about conservative reactions to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace's "Note" on the financial crisis. "Snarky" is the word he uses to describe them.

What is good for the liberal goose is good for the conservative gander, Erlandson suggests, and conservatives have shown the limits of their loyalty to Rome by their dismissive and often rude comments about the Pontifical Council and the document it issued.

+Dolan: Gimme That Ole Time Religion

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In his latest blog posting, Archbishop Timothy Dolan invites us to consider what we used to call "the last things," you recall, death, judgment, heaven and hell. And, quite rightly, Dolan points out that there is nothing morbid or even depressing about thinking about death and dying for the Christian.

I think we need more of this ole time religion in our pulpits. Yes, we have work to do on this earth, but we remain destined for a better world than this one, and that vision of that better world helps to keep both perspective on our travails and encouragement towards the goal. Keep it coming Archbishop Dolan!

Religious Liberty: The Politics

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Yesterday, I noted that I am not much of a fan of the cast of mind which warns darkly about “cultural elites” out to attack the Catholic Church, but that there were two exceptions. Yesterday, I looked at the world of legal scholarship which I believe really has adopted an attitude towards freedom and justice that is antithetical to the Catholic Church, even though I think most of the legal scholars who adopt this attitude do not think of themselves as hostile to the Church. It is more the case that they view the Church as some weird historical leftover, the Easter Bunny with real estate, certainly not an institution possessed of a coherent worldview.

Re-Habilitating Pelagius? Just Say No

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David Gibson tells the tale of efforts by the Episcopal Church in Atlanta to overturn the condemnation of Pelagius rendered by the Council of Carthage. Pelagius denied the doctrine of Original Sin which has long been considered the one doctrine of the Church that required no faith, only observation, for its confirmation.

Original Sin is the most obvious part of the human inheritance. It is our birthright you might say. Felix culpa. Shame on these folks in Atlanta who wish to rob us of it.

RC Leaders Call for Religious Tolerance in Elections

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Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas Melady, released a statement signed by a host of prominent Catholics “of different political persuasions,” today calling for a renewed commitment to religious tolerance in American politics at a press conference held at the National Press Club.

‘Two hundred and twenty three years ago our Founding Fathers established through our Constitution, a high ideal for religious tolerance and understanding,” the statement begins before going on to note that “Catholics are particularly sensitive to the history of anti-Catholic bias that surfaced in the election of 1928 and in 1960.” The statement was prompted by recent comments by Pastor Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, at the Values Voter Summit, in which Jeffress suggested voters should prefer Christian candidates for office and called Mormonism “a cult.”

“The word ‘cult’ in its technical sense is unobjectionable,” Melady said at the press conference. “But in common usage it usually is filled with ridicule and sarcasm.” Melady added that “As Catholics, we have felt the sting of anti-religious bias in past elections.”

Religious Liberty: The Legal Culture

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I do not share the exorbitant fears that some of my more conservative friends entertain regarding the existence and influence of cultural elites determined to destroy the Catholic Church. I am not sure it is true – America’s elites have many motives – and I think this populist concern about elites invites a defensive posture that is thoroughly unhelpful to evangelization. The shadow of elites persecuting the Church seems to me to be, like most shadows, something with little substance but nonetheless capable of producing fear.

Is God a White Guy?

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That is the provocative way David Gibson looks at recent polling data regarding the relative "God gap" between the Democrats and Republicans and how that gap takes on a different complexion when looked at through the lens of skin complexion. To wit, Latinos, who are the future of the Catholic Church in this country, are far less likely to lean to the Republicans than their white co-religionists. And, if you listen in to one of the GOP presidential debates, is it any wonder?

At a time when some Catholics paint the Democrats as the "party of death" it is wise to ask: Should all bridges to the Democrats be burned? And, what impact will pro-life Latinos have on the future of the Democratic Party?

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August 15-28, 2014

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