Yesterday's New York Times contained an op-ed by Katherine Stewart in which she bemoaned the fact that a local church uses a neighborhood public school for religious services. She thinks this is wrong, that it threatens the separation of Church and State, that such services are divisive not inclusive, etc. Stewart's impoverished imagination fails to see that a scholl can and should be a vibrant part of a community and that opening its doors to groups like churches or community groups that need a place to gather will enhance the community not divide it. She notes that partisan groups are not permitted to use the school, to which I say, well let them in. She complains that some churches do not share her Greenwich Village values, to which I mutter to myself "Thank God" but also think that the First Amendment protects those religious groups to believe what they want and not to be discriminated because of it.
"Baptism unites the church, not ordination," said Anthony Padovano in a keynote address to the American Catholic Council held this past weekend in Detroit. Huh?
There is something decidedly un-Catholic about dividing the Sacraments and placing them in opposition to each other. But, more importantly, baptism unites because it brings one into the Body of Christ, the Church and the "source and summit" of our Catholic life is the Eucharist. No ordination means no priest and no priest means no Eucharist. This is Sacramental Theology 101.
At the recent meeting of the Catholic Health Association, a series of videos highlighted some of the benefits that accrue from the passage of the Affordable Care Act. One features the story of a family, the Malings, whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer at an early age in which the mother recalls worrying about the fact that this would be a pre-existing condition for the rest of the young girl's life. When the health care reform law passed, the mother said she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her.
So, Father Robert Sirico has come to the defense of Ayn Rand. I confess that I did not think that anything Fr. Sirico might write could shock me, but his little epistle shocked. Not only does he try and disentangle Rand’s foolishness from what he esteems in her thought, but he holds up her hero, John Galt, as a Christ-figure. Like a moth to a flame, like a ship to the Lodestone Rock, like Anthony Weiner with his blackberry, Sirico just cannot help himself.
The war of insults has begun among the GOP contenders. TNR has a rundown of the mud-wrestling so far.
I like Michael Gerson. Lord knows, he is one of the most thoughtful commentators from the right and, as a non-Catholic, has a deep appreciation for the value of Catholic Social Thought.
But, in an op-ed this morning about Grover Norquist's tax orthodoxies, Gerson begins with a reference to the theological battle with the Arians at the Council of Nicaea. It is unclear whether he thinks Norquist stands in the place of Arius or in the place of Athansius, but what is abundantly clear is that both Arius and Athanasius had reputable stances, although the former's position was heretical. Norquist may be an economic heretic. Who cares? The problem is that he is an economic idiot. Actually, that is one of the problems. The other is that Norquist is a political genuis and he has forced the GOP to adopt his insane position on taxes as if it really was as important as the debate at Nicaea over the divinity of Christ. It isn't.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney has had the temerity to suggest that climate change is a real issue. Conservative radio windbag Rush Limbaugh jumped all over him. So did former Sen. Rick Santorum who called it "junk science."
This is the GOP's problem. They should be focusing like a laser beam on the economy, but they will continually be drawn into debates over climate change, or Paul Revere, or immigration, or the Paul Ryan plan to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid, or Obama's birth certificate, and in such debates, there is always an incentive to go further to the right to catch the media wave and appeal to the truest of true believers.
Ronald reagan used to joke, whenever there was some confusion about what his administration intended, that "the right hand often doesn't know what the far-right hand is doing." But that was a joke. The bad news for the GOP today is that it is no longer a joke.
Yesterday, in a presentation at the Brookings Institute, Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute presented the results of new survey data about the moral views of Millenials, those aged 18-29, regarding abortion and same sex marriage. The results confirmed two essential facts: first, Millenials’ views on abortion track largely with older age cohorts, while they are decidedly more tolerant of same sex marriage and, second, Americans remain largely ambivalent about the legality of abortion.
The survey entailed 3,000 phone interviews. Critically, 750 of the interviews were conducted by cell phone, an important – and more expensive – method of polling but one that is essential for obtaining sound data on younger Americans, many of whom no longer have land lines. The poll went into the field in late April through early May of this year, so the data is current.
A friend sent a link to the website "Whosoever Desires" where they have a cute post about the 10 small pleasures of being Catholic. Check it out.
Joe Carter, writing at First Things, has finally - no, FINALLY - led the way for conservative Catholics to denounce Ayn Rand's writings. His adjective of choice: "satanic."
I am not a conservative Catholic, but I know it is healthy for the country's politics, and for the Church too, to have well-informed, literate, thoughtful conservative voices. That is why the silence regarding the manner in which Rand is held in esteem by some of the GOP's darlings has been so horrifying. Kudos to Carter for raising the banner of sanity. Welcome to the anti-Randians Mr. Carter. You may not agree with me and mine on anything else, but in the nation's debates about the social contract, this may be the most important to about which we should agree.